Profiles in Faith Gouverneur Morris

Profiles in Faith Gouverneur Morris

Known as the man who wrote the final draft of the Constitution, Morris was also the man who spoke the most often during the Convention (173 times).

But what is known of his faith?

Actually we don’t know that much in spite of his much speaking. Nonetheless, we can surmise a few facts.

First of all we know that he was a member of the Episcopal Church. While little is known of his activities within the church it is hard to believe that this gifted man simply faded into the background. It is likely that he served within the church and, since he came from wealth, gave substantially to it. This is speculation, but this author feels it is a logical conclusion.

Second we know he was familiar with the Bible. This is based on his speeches and his writings where he often quoted the Bible. This suggests that he spent a fair amount of time in the reading of the Bible, which would not be the habit of a deist.

Third, he believed in the depravity of man which was more in line with Christianity than the Enlightenment. Deists tend to believe in an absentee God rather than a personal God. They also reject the supernatural as seen in the Bible. Morris, as stated above, was very acquainted with the Bible and was apt to quote it.

Fourth, while some claim he was a deistic realist, the evidence seems to be more correctly that he was influenced by this thinking.

Fifth, he strongly favored freedom of religion.

Sixth, he was against slavery.

The truth is we simply don’t have enough information to say whether Morris was a Christian or not. However, his career reflected not only a highly education mind (attended King’s College, later known as Columbia), but a mind attuned to Christian thought.

So where do we place him?

In my opinion he would be considered within the Christian faith. Probably a weak Christian (theologically speaking) with ties to both Christian and Enlightened thought. He was also a close friend of George Washington whom we will profile next.

A comment on historians who point to Deism as the religion of our founders. First, this time period coincided with the Enlightment, so historians seem to think this impacted everyone. Second, modern day historians may have a bias against Christianity. Yet the founding documents of this nation (Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution) all indicate a Christian belief. I think the burden of proof must lay with those who claim deistic beliefs of our fathers and we should assume Christian beliefs unless proven otherwise.

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Advertisements