Most people know that ideas from the Enlightenment were important to America's founding fathers. Works by John Stuart Mill, John Locke, David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are all reflected in the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers. But other kinds of European philosophy also had a hand in developing the American experiment in self-government. Philosopher Matthew Stewart's 2014 book Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic examined some of the lesser-known ideas that inspired America's revolutionaries. He says that while Enlightenment thinkers get a lot of the attention, classical philosophy and rationalism deserve a share of the credit as well.
Matthew Stewart will speak at the Lied Center Pavilion at 7:30 this (THUR) evening, on the topic "Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic." He will also appear at the Hall Center Conference Hall for a public conversation session tomorrow (FRI) at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the Hall Center for the Humanities website.