J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Stewart on “Radical Philosophy” in the Founding, 12 May

On Tuesday, 12 May, the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester will host a lecture on “Radical Philosophy at the Origin of the American Republic” by Matthew Stewart. Stewart brings a background in philosophy and business to the study of America’s founding.
This presentation will explore the philosophical and religious influences not just on the more famous names, such as Jefferson, Franklin, and Paine, but also some less well-known figures, including Ethan Allen and Thomas Young, the unsung hero of the Boston Tea Party and the Pennsylvania Revolution.

Drawing on his recent book, Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, Stewart will make the case that the unusual philosophical religion that inspired many of America’s revolutionaries was more radical than we now tend to think and, at the same time, central in the creation of the world’s first modern republic.
I noted the early reviews and press for Stewart’s book back here. While delighted to see Dr. Thomas Young and his radical views getting more attention, I worried that the book’s thesis might overstate the influence of Young’s ideas on “many” of his colleagues.

This lecture will take place in Antiquarian Hall at 185 Salisbury Street, starting at 7:00. Parking is available on the streets nearby. The event is free and open to the public.

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