How Christianity Helped Create Our American Democracy

Here’s a good example of how Christians have failed in the information war — so few people understand what Carson Holloway explains:

Alexis de Tocqueville, in his masterful work, “Democracy in America,” taught that religion is necessary for a healthy political order. As I argue at greater length in a new First Principles essay, American democracy, according to Tocqueville, owes both its origins and its preservation to Christianity. He thought religion “should be considered the first” of America’s “political institutions.”

Tocqueville observed that the modern impulse toward democracy and belief in equality emerged first and made great progress in the Christian nations of Europe. This was no accident: By teaching the equality of all men before God, Christianity laid the groundwork for the rise of a belief in equality of all before the law.

Christianity also played a key role in fostering the growth of democratic self-government in America. The tone of American political life was set by the Puritan settlers of New England. These pilgrims came to America in order to live out their religious beliefs in communities of their own creation. They governed their churches democratically, and by so doing they developed the expectation that they would settle political questions democratically, forming as well the habits of participation by which they could do so.

Nevertheless, Tocqueville did not treat American Christianity as if it were a mere relic of the past, necessary to institute American democracy but to be discarded after it had performed this useful political task.

On the contrary, he held that the spirit of Christianity helped American democracy to continue to flourish even after it had been established. For Tocqueville, political freedom requires an unshakeable moral foundation that only religion can supply.

Read more: The Daily Signal