Preview of Part One of AMERICAN FREETHOUGHT
Part One preview
available on EBAY and from RodBradford@gmail.com
The first episode begins with a recognition of some of the profound contradictions which riddled America since the founding of the nation. Puritans came seeking religious freedom and immediately persecuted native Americans and denied other settlers the same religious liberty. Americans boasted about their freedom and equal rights for all citizens, but tolerated slavery until the Civil War and denied women the right to vote until 1920. Anyone – especially freethinkers – who opposed injustice faced a number of difficulties. “They took stands in which they were maligned, they were harassed,” says Professor Goodheart. The conflict between Christians and “infidels” begins in America after Thomas Jeffersonʼs views on religion become known. Revolutionary War hero and Deist Ethan Allen elicits the wrath of clergy in 1784 when he publishes "Reason: The Only Oracle of Man." British-born author and apostle of freedom Thomas Paineʼs early life in England, friendship with Benjamin Franklin, and pivotal role in the American and French Revolution is chronicled. Also examined is the controversy surrounding Thomas Paineʼs book "The Age of Reason" and his influence on early nineteenth-century New York publishers Frances Wright and Gilbert Vale (who championed Paine as the patron saint of freethought). Professor Fruchtman debunks the slanderous accusations and untruths about Thomas Paine. “The story of Thomas Paine recanting at his death is not true. Itʼs a story thatʼs spread by his religious enemies.” We are introduced to abolitionists Elizur Wright and Lucretia Mott, who – in the face of personal risks – challenged churches that refused to condemn slavery.
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