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Thomas Jefferson and Deism (Read 2074 times)
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Thomas Jefferson and Deism
Sep 27th, 2013 at 5:55pm
Jefferson and deism

In 1760, at age 16, Jefferson entered The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, and for two years he studied mathematics, metaphysics, and philosophy under Professor William Small. He introduced the enthusiastic Jefferson to the writings of the British Empiricists, including John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton.[16] Jefferson biographers say that he was influenced by deist philosophy while at William & Mary, particularly by Bolingbroke.[17][18]

Terminology such as "Nature's God" - which Jefferson used in the Declaration of Independence - are typical of Deism, although they were also used at the time by non-Deist thinkers, such as Francis Hutcheson. In addition, it was part of Roman thinking about natural law, and Jefferson was influenced by reading Cicero on this topic.[19][20]

Most deists denied the Christian concepts of miracles and the Trinity. Though he had a lifelong esteem for Jesus' moral teachings, Jefferson did not believe in miracles, nor in the divinity of Jesus. In a letter to deRieux in 1788, he declined a request to act as a godfather, saying he had been unable to accept the doctrine of the Trinity "from a very early part of my life".[14][21]

Jefferson was directly linked to deism in the writings of some of his contemporaries. Patrick Henry's widow wrote in 1799, "I wish the Grate Jefferson & all the Heroes of the Deistical party could have seen my... Husband pay his last debt to nature."[22][23]

While many biographers, as well as some of his contemporaries, have characterized Jefferson as a Deist, historians and scholars have not found any such self-identification in Jefferson's surviving writings. In an 1803 letter to Priestley, Jefferson praises Jesus for a form of deism.[24] He expressed similar ideas in an 1817 letter to John Adams.[25]

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evelyn guerrero
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Re: Thomas Jefferson and Deism
Reply #1 - Sep 8th, 2016 at 7:10am
Hello,I am new in this forum.I got different and helpful information from this forum.Now i am planning to complete my academic work with the help of different resources.
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