After Secularization (special double issue)   /   Spring/Summer 2006   /    Reviews

Susan Jacoby’s


Christopher McKnight Nichols

“I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in a private letter in 1822, “who will not die an Unitarian.” Only four years before his death, the author of Virginia’s landmark Statute for Religious Freedoms clearly envisioned the nation’s path as one toward a Christianity based on reason rather than pure faith and denominational dogmatism.11xThomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waterhouse, June 26, 1822, Thomas Jefferson: Writings, ed. Merrill D. Peterson (New york: Library of America, 1984) 1458–9; Edwin S. Gaustad, Sworn on the Altar of God: A Religious Biography of Thomas Jefferson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996) 145–6. On Thomas Jefferson and civil religion, see also Thomas E. Buckley, S. J., “The Religious Rhetoric of Thomas Jefferson,” The Founders on God and Government, ed. Daniel L. Dreisbach, Mark D. Hall, and Jeffrey H. Morrison (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004) 53–82. See also the forthcoming work of Johann Neem on Jefferson’s conception of religion and his philosophy of history.

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