Did the Founding Fathers Believe in the Christian Doctrine of Providence?
Everybody believes in providence. For some, the belief is in the unseen forces of economics or social evolution. For others, the state is god and either controls everything, or ought to. Many believe that an arbitrary chaos determines? what happens. The Christian belief in God’s predetermining and guiding hand stands in contrast to all other suppositions. What did the founders of the United States believe? George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, John Adams, John Witherspoon, and others all spoke of providence in various contexts. The belief itself was well-defined in the various church confessions and had been a concept that was common currency in normal conversation in America. What did they actually mean by it? We need to examine the founders’ intent, especially the Enlightenment skepticism so prevalent in Europe. Such doctrine has practical implications for the founding of the Republic and for us in our own lives and times.