Home > History & Philosophy > Texas History Standards axe Jefferson for Aquinas and Calvin.

Texas History Standards axe Jefferson for Aquinas and Calvin.

March 12, 2010

From the Texas Freedom Network via Ed Brayton:

9:45 – Here’s the amendment [Cynthia] Dunbar changed: “explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present.” Here’s Dunbar’s replacement standard, which passed: “explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone.” Not only does Dunbar’s amendment completely change the thrust of the standard. It also appalling drops one of the most influential political philosophers in American history — Thomas Jefferson.

It’s impossible to make this crap up. Replacing Jefferson with Aquinas and Calvin? Deleting explicit mention of the Enlightenment? And of political revolutions?

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  1. March 12, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Ooo, I hope you’re reviewing “The Price of Altruism.” It looks like a great read.

  2. March 12, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Perhaps you are unaware that John Calvin actually influenced the Americas quite a bit. It was Calvin who brought civility to Geneva, and developed the idea of separation of church and state (the original idea as presented in the Bill of Rights). Until then the State had control of the Church. They appointed pastors, priests, bishops, and membership. Calvin vehemently opposed these views.

    Calvin also had many followers. These we call today, Pilgrims. These Pilgrims first left Britain and went to Dutch cities, especially Geneva. They were heavily influenced by Calvin, and decided, when the time came to set sail for the New World. They brought the ideas of Calvin with them. Despite what you might believe the U.S. was heavily religious from its inception. The Pilgrims, the Puritans, and “the founding fathers” were very much religious and pious. If memory serves me correctly Benjamin Franklin, though irreligious, was born into a Presbyterian family and was heavily influenced by such Calvinistic beliefs. In fact, Franklin and George Whitefield (a Calvinist itinerate preacher/evangelist) were great friends. Jefferson, though a Deist, not believing in miracles and resurrections, still held to most of the Scriptures. Most Americans at the time were Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed, etc. (all Calvinistic) with a few Methodists and non-calvinists.
    Lest we forget this was also the time of Jonathan Edwards and David Brainard. While understanding Calvin philosophy may seem outrages to you, it is actually getting to the root of so much of America’s values (or at least what they used to be)

  3. Doc Bill
    March 13, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Excellent, Chris.

    And, what exactly did America’s values “used to be?”

    For extra credit, what are America’s values now?

  4. March 13, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Did I ever state that students shouldn’t know about Calvin (or any influence he may have had on “America’s values”)? No. Chris’ comment is thus vapor. However, I’d like to see him attempt to justify the omission of explicit mention of “the impact of Enlightenment ideas … on political revolutions from 1750 to the present.”

  5. March 13, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    … went to Dutch cities, especially Geneva …

    Bzzzt! So much for your knowledge of history.

    As John says, adding Calvin would not have been egregious but leaving out the Enlightenment and Thomas Jefferson (on political revolutions or otherwise) is loony tunes.

  6. treasonseason
    March 14, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Religion has no place in US government, by putting such stuff in there they are trying to make it “Okay” for Religious people to try and force themselves in government.

    With the future brainwashing, a Church telling people who to vote for will be a “Good thing”. When a law is passed solely to appease the religious majority it will be a “Good thing”.

    If non Christians have their rights revoked for not being “Christian” (Since America is a “Christian Nation” now) like how America was founded, it will be a “Good thing”.

    And if they are sent to the Gas chambers…
    It’ll be a good thing.

  7. March 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I’m not trying to justify any part of history that is being left out. I was simply trying to make a point that neither Calvin or Aquinas should be left out. They both had a huge part in American history.

    America’s values were different. There is no denying that. To do so would simply turning a blind eye to the changes that have crossed the American plain over the past 450+ years. Some are for the better and som are for the worst, in my opinion.

    To say that religion does not belong in government is simply wrong. Faith lies in all places, government, work, school, everywhere. I agree that government should not be involved in religion, but to say that religion doesn’t belong in government is untrue. That would mean that anyone expressing any type of faith, whether in God, self, evolution, or nature could not be involved in government.

    I was simply trying to point out that Calvin and Aquinas (more Calvin than Acquinas) have their place in American history. If I was rude while doing so I apologize. I was not intending to be. If I was sounding arrogant, again my apologies.

  8. March 16, 2010 at 8:51 am

    One last comment. I did say Dutch cites especially Geneva. It is not a matter of history as it is a matter of geography. My geography was wrong, but not the history. I was considering Switzerland as being part of the Dutch people, but after researching it I found I was wrong. So when I said the went to Dutch cities I was meaning Swiss. My fault; I admit that.

  9. DLC
    March 17, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Thomas Jefferson left out of American History ?
    Since when was Jefferson not the darling of the conservative movement ? You know, the fellow who was all for a weak federal government and strong states governments ? Oh, you mean he was also a fellow who redacted the deity from the bible and who preached against becoming involved in foreign entanglements ?
    Must not be a Texan, then. But I would submit that Thomas Jefferson had a more positive influence on the United States than either Aquinas or Calvin.

  1. March 13, 2010 at 8:54 am
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