At one time people used to say that the United States of America was founded as a Christian nation. Then that view was pretty well shot down. The conventional wisdom now is that the USA was founded on Enlightenment principles, drawing on the thought of John Locke and related political theorists. But now a historian has studied the actual evidence, concluding that Christianity had a profound influence on the founding of the nation, far more than Enlightenment thinkers.
Mark David Hall, with academic affliations at George Fox, Baylor, and Emory, is the author of Did America Have a Christian Founding: Separating Modern Myth from Historical Truth.
Certainly, Puritans, Separatists, Commonwealth revolutionaries (such as Milton), and other Christian thinkers had been discussing issues of liberty, republicanism, rights, and other principles of social organization far before the Enlightenment theorists weighed in. For example, consider John Locke. From a review of Hall’s book in Law & Liberty by James Bruce, who usefully summarizes Hall’s findings: