To stop there, though, is to miss an important part of Jefferson’s learning. In both of his inaugural addresses, Jefferson invoked divine guidance. Some, ignoring his emphatic declaration to the contrary, insist that Jefferson supported official prayer. Others accuse Jefferson of inconsistency, saying that prayer proclamations which he insisted were unconstitutional and his inaugural prayers were “indistinguishable.” Jefferson did not see it that way. An official proclamation of a day of prayer is a government act – subject to the constraints of the First Amendment; a private prayer, even when made by a public official in a public setting, is not. Madison made a similar point when he concluded that an official congressional chaplain was unconstitutional, but Members of Congress, acting in their private capacity, could certainly gather to pray: “If Religion consist in voluntary acts of individuals . . . and it be proper that public functionaries, as well as their Constituents should discharge their religious duties, let them like their Constituents, do so at their own expense.” What they should not seek is government endorsement or funding for their prayers.Thus, Christian ministers rightly object that government should not tell them to omit Jesus’ name from their prayers, but that is the result of being officially-sponsored. Eighteenth century evangelicals rejected government assistance for this reason, recognizing that it would be “the first link which Draws after it a chain of horrid consequences, and that by Degrees it will terminate in who shall preach, when they shall preach, where they shall preach, and what they shall preach.”
Jefferson was a prayerful man, but he rejected as both inappropriate and dangerous government intrusion into the sacred realm. So, what would Jefferson do? Paul advised to “pray ceaselessly,” but he certainly did not ask the government to sponsor his prayer meetings. Jefferson would agree.]]> http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/05/03/what-would-jefferson-do/feed/ 0 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/26/adams-papers-three-new-volumes-in-rotunda/ http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/26/adams-papers-three-new-volumes-in-rotunda/#comments Fri, 26 Apr 2013 15:00:54 +0000 David Sewell http://www.upress.virginia.edu/?p=2024
Adams Family Correspondence, volume 8, drawing from nearly 250 letters, follows the Adams family from March 1787 to the close of 1789. The correspondence covered in this volume evokes a period of transition both for both the nation and the Adams family. John Adams made the transition from the first Minister to the Court of St. James to first Vice President of the United States under the new Constitution, after only a brief respite at their newly acquired farm in Quincy, which John Adams named Peacefield. Meanwhile, their daughter Nabby, married in 1786, gave birth to John and Abigail’s first grandchildren, and their sons, John Quincy, Charles, and Thomas Boylston, furthered their studies at Harvard and embarked on their own legal careers.
Volume 9 of the Adams Family Correspondence chronicles the early years of the American republic under the new Constitution with Vice President John Adams faithfully presiding over the Senate. Internationally, the United States faced diplomatic challenges as the outbreak of the French Revolution raised questions about the position and response the nation should take in regard to both France and Europe in general. On the domestic front, all of the Adams children completed their transition to adulthood, with the youngest son, Thomas Boylston, graduating from Harvard. The correspondence of the children, both among themselves and to their parents, takes center stage in this volume of nearly 300 letters spanning from January 1790 to December 1793 and reveals not only their sentiments on national and world events, but also the intimate details of family and farm.
The 350 letters of The Papers of John Adams, volume 14, explore the slow and difficult diplomatic conclusion to the American Revolutionary War from October 1782 to May 1783. Wary of France’s motives and desirous of establishing a fully independent way, John Adams and the American Peace Commissioners determined to strike a peace with Great Britain separate from France, but issues ranging from loyalists to fishing rights slowed progress. Meanwhile, Adams continued his role as minister to the Netherlands overseeing the distribution of funds of the Dutch-American loan, followed fifteen-year-old John Quincy’s long journey from St. Petersburg to The Hague, and took a keen interest in how best to write an accurate history of the American Revolution. As always, Adams’s letters reveal a wealth of insight into not only the history of the period but his own thought processes.
(UVA Press wishes to thank Sara Sikes of the Adams Papers, and her staff, for assistance with proofreading of the digital volumes.)]]> http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/26/adams-papers-three-new-volumes-in-rotunda/feed/ 0 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/24/dolley-madison-digital-edition-300-new-documents/ http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/24/dolley-madison-digital-edition-300-new-documents/#comments Wed, 24 Apr 2013 16:13:27 +0000 David Sewell http://www.upress.virginia.edu/?p=2005 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/24/dolley-madison-digital-edition-300-new-documents/feed/ 0 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/18/a-stunning-salome/ http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/18/a-stunning-salome/#comments Thu, 18 Apr 2013 21:52:23 +0000 Jason Coleman http://www.upress.virginia.edu/?p=2003 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/18/a-stunning-salome/feed/ 0 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/12/number-42/ http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/12/number-42/#comments Fri, 12 Apr 2013 02:54:42 +0000 Jason Coleman http://www.upress.virginia.edu/?p=1994 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/12/number-42/feed/ 0 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/11/the-story-of-a-false-story/ http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/11/the-story-of-a-false-story/#comments Thu, 11 Apr 2013 13:35:08 +0000 Jason Coleman http://www.upress.virginia.edu/?p=1986 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/11/the-story-of-a-false-story/feed/ 0 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/08/a-modernists-masterworks-loved-and-lost/ http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/08/a-modernists-masterworks-loved-and-lost/#comments Mon, 08 Apr 2013 20:18:01 +0000 Jason Coleman http://www.upress.virginia.edu/?p=1975 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/08/a-modernists-masterworks-loved-and-lost/feed/ 0 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/05/flight-to-salerno-a-teachers-notes/ http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/05/flight-to-salerno-a-teachers-notes/#comments Fri, 05 Apr 2013 21:34:00 +0000 Jason Coleman http://www.upress.virginia.edu/?p=1966 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/04/05/flight-to-salerno-a-teachers-notes/feed/ 0 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/03/28/lackey-on-haverford/ http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/03/28/lackey-on-haverford/#comments Thu, 28 Mar 2013 19:20:59 +0000 Jason Coleman http://www.upress.virginia.edu/?p=1964 http://www.upress.virginia.edu/2013/03/28/lackey-on-haverford/feed/ 0
Open the original version of this page.