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Although he had been devout as a young man, praying fiercely at King’s College, his religious faith had ebbed during the Revolution. Like other founders and thinkers of the Enlightenment, he was disturbed by religious fanaticism and tended to associate organized religion with superstition. While a member of Washington’s military family, he wrote that “there never was any mischief but had a priest or a woman at the bottom.”7 As treasury secretary, he had said, “The world has been scourged with many fanatical sects in religion who, inflamed by a sincere but mistaken zeal, have perpetuated under the idea of serving God the most atrocious crimes.”8 The atheism of the French Revolution and Jefferson’s ostensible embrace of it (Jefferson was a deist who doubted the divinity of Christ, but not an atheist) helped to restore Hamilton’s interest in religion. He said indignantly in his 1796 “Phocion” essays, “Mr. Jefferson has been heard to say since his return from France that the men of letters and philosophers he had met with in that country were generally atheists.”9 He thought James Monroe had also been infected by godless philosophers in Paris and pictured the two Virginians dining together to “fraternize and philosophize against the Christian religion and the absurdity of religious worship.”10 For Hamilton, religion formed the basis of all law and morality, and he thought the world would be a hellish place without it. “I have examined carefully the evidence of the Christian religion,” he told one friend, “and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity, I should rather abruptly give my verdict in its favor.”13 To Eliza, he said of Christianity, “I have studied it and I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.”14 Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton (p. 661). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton (p. 660). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton (p. 660). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton (p. 660). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

— Hamilton vacillates on religion  

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