Adams and Hamilton

John Adams:

Politics: A member of the Federalist Party and strong proponent for Centralized Government. Extremely opposed to slavery (never owned a slave).

Occupation: Lawyer/Farmer

Religion: Congregationalist and Christian Unitarian with Deist leanings.

Other facts: Successfully defended British soldiers regarding the Boston Massacre event.

Thomas Jefferson:

Politics: A member of the Democratic-Republican Party and an advocate of State’s rights.

Occupation: Lawyer/Farmer/Architect/Inventor among many talents.

Religion: Jefferson’s religious and spiritual beliefs were a combination of various religious and theological precepts. Around 1764, Jefferson had lost faith in conventional religion after he had tested the Bible for its historical accuracy. Rather he adopted a stern code of personal moral conduct and drew inspiration from classical literature.  While he embraced various Christian principles he rejected most of the orthodox Christianity of his day and was especially hostile to the Catholic Church as he saw it operate in France. Jefferson advanced the idea of Separation of Church and State, believing that the government should not have an official religion while at the same time it should not prohibit any particular religious expression. He first expressed these thoughts in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists in Connecticut.

Throughout his life Jefferson was intensely interested in theology, biblical study, and morality. As a landowner he played a role in governing his local Episcopal Church; in terms of belief he was inclined toward Deism and the moral philosophy of Christianity.

Other facts: Wrote the original draft of the Declaration of Independence. Sally’s Hemmings (reputed very close friend and slave of Jefferson) father was John Wayles, who held her as a slave, and he was also the father of Jefferson’s wife Martha. Sally was at least three-quarters white and strikingly similar in looks and voice to Jefferson’s late wife. He was opposed to the institution of slavery, yet owned in excess of 300 slaves near the end of his life! He only ever freed five of his slaves and then only through his will after his death. He passed within hours of his longtime opponent, yet friend, John Adams! He founded the University of Virginia and oversaw the Louisiana Purchase and the unsuccessful acquisition of Florida. He initiated the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Served as 2 term President, Vice President, Governor of Virginia, member of congress, Secretary of State & Minister to France.

Alexander Hamilton

Politics: He was a Federalist, opposed slavery and one of the foremost proponents of a strong centralized government.

Occupation: Import/Export Clerk, Carpenter & militiaman/officer & self-educated lawyer.

Religion: He was nominally an Episcopalian but, he was not clearly affiliated with the denomination and did not seem to attend church regularly or take communion. Like Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson, Hamilton had probably fallen under the sway of deism, which sought to substitute reason for revelation and dropped the notion of an active God that will intervene in human affairs. At the same time, he never doubted God’s existence, embracing Christianity as a system of morality and cosmic justice

Other facts: Author of the Federalist Papers, was born out of wedlock and raised in the West Indies, served in the Congress, as Secretary of the Treasury, established the US mint and was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr. He was never elected President, but much influenced early constitutional policy

stay tuned next week for more on this subject from additional Founding Fathers