Date of Award
Undergraduate Honors Thesis
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
When the founding fathers established the United States of America, they understood that the survival of the new nation was entirely dependent on future leaders who shared their core beliefs in basic democracy, freedom, and humanity. They envisioned their dreams and goals for the Union to be passed down to future generations by men who shared their passion for these enlightenment ideas. They likely did not envision these leaders to fit the profile of Jewish Rabbis from small orthodox Bohemian villages. However, it was a Jewish influence that indirectly shaped the country decades prior to the first Jews’ political involvement in the country. Although the founding fathers were not at all Jewish in faith, their respect for the Hebrew Bible and the influence it had on the establishment of their new nation is noticeably clear in a variety of early political texts and historical events. The early years of the republic are filled with metaphorical biblical connections to ancient Israel. As Eran Shalev indicated in his book, American Zion, Old – the leaders of the country frequently used Testament Biblicism in political rhetoric. Revolutionary War-era Americans' political theology was demonstrated when identifying the United States as the God-Chosen Israel, with its people seeing themselves as the Israelites fleeing Egyptian captivity, crossing a sea to reach freedom and take possession of the Promised Land. Values and morals based on the scriptures within the Old Testament shaped the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution.
Fox, Ryan, "Isaac Wise and the path to American Jewish Unity through American Nationalism" (2018). History Honors Program. 11.