States History Question of the
Answer and Explanation
"Franklin Drawing Electricity From the Sky"
by Benjamin West, 1816
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Which of the
following terms probably most accurately characterizes the religious perspective
of both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson?
Franklin and Jefferson were probably deists, acknowledging a divine force but
denying the existence of a personal God impacting human behavior. As
Enlightenment-influenced thinkers, they looked to the natural world for
truths. Franklin's parents hoped he would be a minister, but could not afford the education. While not a supporter of any organized church, Alfred Owen Aldridge noted he chose not to "wither Christianity by ridicule or bludgeon it to death by argument." Jefferson was a firm believer in religious freedom and authored
the Virginia Resolution, partly because of his dislike of the
established Anglican Church in Virginia. He compiled the Jefferson Bible which removed the miracles but retained the teachings of Jesus. In 1819 he wrote "I am of a
sect by myself, as far as I know."
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