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Calvin and Early Democracy with Dr. Mark Valeri
March 3 @ 7:00 pm - March 6 @ 8:00 pm
This four-part lecture series diverges from a purely critical account by offering a theological story. It explores how Reformed thought informed the ways that English and European settlers understood the colonization of North America, independence from Great Britain, and the meaning of personal freedoms in the American Constitution.
Lecture 1, Thursday, March 3, 7:00-8:00 PM, “Providence and Commerce”
This focuses on the purposes of English settlement in America from the first colonies to the religious revivals of the 1740s. It describes how Reformed ideas of providence shaped free- market perspectives on profits, economic abundance, and trade.
Lecture 2, Friday, March 4, 7:00-8:00 PM, “Indigenous Encounters”
This attends to encounters between English settlers and the Native inhabitants of the eastern seaboard of North America, from initial settlements through the American Revolution. It describes how Reformed ideas of humans’ innate moral instincts influenced Presbyterian missionaries who built bridges between Native American and British cultures.
Lecture 3, Saturday, March 5, 7:00-8:00 PM, “Conversion and Revolution”
This lecture concerns Reformed contributions to the American Revolution, 1765 to 1776. It explains how Reformed ideas of conversion, central to Presbyterian piety in this period, legitimated the act of revolution and national independence.
Lecture 4, Sunday, March 6, 9:00-10:00 AM, “Freedom, Slavery, and Law”
This explores the making of the federal Constitution in the context of a slave-holding society, 1776 to 1791. It probes how Reformed ideas of human nature and moral freedom helped to create a language that offered a critique—a potential leverage against—the practice of race- based slavery as protected in the Constitution.