Benjamin Franklin was born on this day, January 17, in 1706. Traditionally considered one of the most nonreligious of America’s founders, more and more evidence is coming to light that Franklin was not the rabid Deist modern revisionist historians would have us believe.
Even before meeting George Whitefield and being impacted by their friendship, Franklin clearly stated his evangelical view of Christ’s atoning death in a debate over the dismissal of the pastor of the Presbyterian church in Philadelphia of which he was a member.
The case involved Samuel Hemphill who was dismissed in 1735 for allegedly emphasizing good works over Christ’s atonement. He was also accused of plagiarizing someone else’s sermons. Franklin defended Hemphill, and with his typical wit, declared that he would prefer hearing good sermons composed by someone else than poor sermons of the pastor’s own composition.
Then, on a serious note, Franklin addressed the accusation that Hemphill had emphasized good works over Christ’s atonement. Demonstrating an impressive depth of faith and understanding, he wrote,
Let us then consider what the Scripture Doctrine of this Affair is, and in a Word it is this: Christ by his Death and Sufferings has purchased for us those easy terms and conditions of our acceptance with God, proposed in the Gospel, to wit, Faith and Repentance: By his Death and Sufferings, he has assured us of God’s being ready and willing to accept of our sincere, though imperfect obedience to his revealed will; By his Death and Sufferings he has atoned for all sins forsaken and amended, but surely not for such as are willfully and obstinately persisted in . . . and that the ultimate End and Design of Christ’s Death, of our Redemption by his Blood, was to lead us to the Practice of all Holiness, Piety and Virtue, and by these Means to deliver us from future Pain and Punishment, and lead us to the Happiness of Heaven, may, (besides what has been already suggested) be proved from innumerable Passages of the holy Scriptures (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 139-40),
The above statement was no fluke, for many years later, in 1757, Franklin proposed to Whitefield, the most famous preacher of the Great Awakening, that they partner together in founding a new Christian colony on the Ohio frontier. They would settle it, he said, “with a large strong body of religious and industrious people.” He included a missionary motive for the colony, saying to Whitefield,
Might it not greatly facilitate the introduction of pure religion among the heathen, if we could, by such a colony, show them a better sample of Christians than they commonly see (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 136-37).
Since Franklin is writing to Whitefield, the fiery British revivalist, his reference to "pure religion" obviously refers to the evangelical revivalism that Whitefield preached. And Franklin was obviously not multicultual for he wanted to see the native people in the area of the proposed colony converted to that kind of Christianity.

It is clear that Benjamin Franklin was not the nonreligious Deist presented in modern textbooks. In fact, if alive today, Franklin would likely be shunned by the Democrat party and by many Republicans because of his “right-wing” Christian views.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, 1726, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is also the founder of the "1726 Project" whose goal is to spread the message of America's birth out of the First Great Awakening and call on believers everywhere to pray for another Great Awakening across the land.



"I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In his fight for racial equality in America, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. found an ally in America's founding documents, and they became foundational for his cause. This is because America's founding documents are colorblind. Neither the Declaration of Independence nor the U.S. Constitution make any reference to individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, or skin olor. 

Instead of race classifications, the Constitution speaks of “citizens,” “persons,” and “other persons.” No mention is made of slaves or slavery. There is nothing in these documents to suggest that the freedoms they guarantee do not apply to every person. Yes, America’s founding principles are colorblind, even though her history has not been.
Dr. King's Dream and America’s Founding Documents.
Dr. King understood this, and in his stirring “I Have a Dream” speech, he challenged America, not to dispense with her founding documents, but to live up to them. Speaking with passion from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he declared,
When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Then quoting from the Declaration of Independence, he proclaimed,
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
Showing that he understood these freedoms to be rooted in the country’s Christian origins, Dr. King, who was himself a devout Christian, went on to say that he had a dream that one day all Americans, whether white or black, would be able to sing together the words of that Christian, patriotic hymn,
My country 'tis of Thee,
Sweet land of liberty, of Thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!
A Legacy of the Great Awakening

The colorblind character of America’s founding documents is a legacy of 1726 and the Great Awakening that began that year. It was in this Awakening that racial and cultural barriers were breached in Colonial America. As documented in my book, 1726, it was out of this Awakening that an anti-slavery movement burst forth and its proponents produced the moral arguments that turned America’s founders against slavery.
Because of 1726, America’s founding documents are colorblind. The famous abolitionist, Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), understood this and argued that the language of the founding documents must be understood as applying to everyone. “Any one of these provisions in the hands of abolition statesmen, and backed by a right moral sentiment,” he declared, “would put an end to slavery in America (Hyatt, 1727: The Year that Defined America, 122).
The Challenge of Being Inclusive Without Affirming Sin
This absence of any mention of slavery in the Constitution was purposeful. James Madison, the document’s chief architect, said, “The Convention thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men” (Hyatt, 1727: The Year that Defined America, 123).
This shows that the Founders grappled with how to bring the southern states into the Union without affirming slavery. They knew that if the southern states were not included in the Union, they would align with the British or other European powers and be a constant thorn in the side of the new nation. How to include them without affirming slavery was the challenge.
In the end, concessions were made at the Convention in order to bring in all thirteen colonies. Dr. Thomas Sowell has said,
But don’t pretend that it was an easy answer—or that those who grappled with the dilemma in the 18th century were some special villains when most leaders and most people around the world saw nothing wrong with slavery (Hyatt, 1727: The Year that Defined America, 123).
The Three-Fifths Clause
One of the most misunderstood sections of the Constitution is the so-called three-fifths clause in which only three-fifths of the slave population of southern states would be counted for representation. This had nothing to do with assigning value based on race, as many have alleged. Instead, it was related to keeping the southern states from gaining too much power in the new Congress where the number of representatives from each state would be tied to the population of that state.
The southern states wanted to include their slave populations in the census in order to gain the most possible representatives and as much power as possible, even though they did not allow slaves to vote. The three-fifths compromise was a way of diminishing the influence of the South in the new Congress in that it counted only three-fifths of the slave population for purposes of representation.
Even here, the Founders did not use the word "slaves" or “slavery," but instead, used the term "other persons." Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) described this refusal of the Founders to acknowledge slavery in the Constitution as being like a man who hides an ugly, cancerous growth until the time comes that it can be eradicated from his body.
That the three-fifths clause was not about assigning value based on race is confirmed by the fact that, at the time of the Constitutional Convention, there were at least 60,000 free blacks in northern and southern states who were counted the same as whites when it came to determining the number of representatives to Congress. Additionally, it is important to note that there were as many as ten states where blacks had full voting privileges (Hyatt, 1727: The Year that Defined America, 124).
Moral Outrage at the Constitutional Convention
At the Constitutional Convention concessions were made toward the southern states to bring them into the Union. Many, however, were not happy with these concessions. For example, Virginian, George Mason (1725-1792), argued for the immediate outlawing of slavery even if some states opted out. Warning of God’s judgement, if they allowed slavery to continue, he said,
Every master is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of Heaven upon a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities (Hyatt, 1727: The Year that Defined America, 125).
Many see the Civil War, with the loss of 700,000 lives, as the judgment predicted by Mason. Thomas Jefferson shared Mason’s concern, for it was in the context of the continued existence of slavery, that he wrote:
God who gave us life, gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and that His justice cannot sleep forever (Hyatt, 1727: The Year that Defined America, 125).
The Founders Dealt Slavery a Mortal Blow
With this sort of Biblical and moral opposition to slavery at the time of the nation's founding, it is easy to see how slavery’s days were already numbered. This moral outrage would flower into the Abolition Movement of the next century and finally would lead to the abolishment of slavery after a Great Prayer Awakening (1856-1857) and Civil War (Hyatt, 1727: The Year that Defined America, 126).
Demonstrating that they were serious about abolishing slavery, the Founders outlawed slavery in the newly formed Northwest Territory. They also worded the Constitution in such a way that the rights guaranteed therein could not be denied to anyone based on race or skin color. In formulating the founding documents, the Founders dealt slavery a mortal blow, from which it would not recover.
They Saw the Hand of God
The task of formulating a Constitution that would gain the support of all 13 colonies was truly a herculean task. At one point, the Convention was on the verge of disbanding due to unresolved regional disputes. It was at this point that Benjamin Franklin called the delegates to prayer, quoting Psalm 127:1, Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.
Indeed, there was a consensus among the Founders that America had come forth providentially by the Hand of God. Reflecting on the completed work of the Constitutional Convention, James Madison (1751–1836) declared,
It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in critical stages of the Revolution (Hyatt, 1727: The Year that Defined America, 127).
Benjamin Rush, the physician from Philadelphia who signed the Declaration of Independence and led the state of Pennsylvania in ratifying the Constitution, was even more blunt in his belief that God had influenced the formulation of the Constitution. Rush, who called slavery a “hydra sin” and helped found the first abolition society in America, declared that he;
As much believed the hand of God was employed in this work as that God had divided the Red Sea to give a passage to the children of Israel or had fulminated the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai (Hyatt, 1727: The Year that Defined America, 123).
America Is Not Racist
There are racists in America, but America is not racist. Her founding documents are colorblind. David Azerrad is thus correct in saying, “The argument that the Constitution is racist suffers from one fatal flaw: the concept of race does not exist in the Constitution (Hyatt, 1727: The Year that Defined America, 127).
Dr. King understood this and relied on America’s founding documents in his fight for Civil Rights. It is why he could say, "I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream."
This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, 1726, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is also the founder of the "1726 Project" whose goal is to spread the message of America's birth out of the First Great Awakening and call on believers everywhere to pray for another Great Awakening across the land.



Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and America’s black church are a vital part of the legacy of 1726 and the Great Awakening that began that year. As I have documented in my latest book, 1726, the Awakening had a profound impact on the black populace of Colonial America. Indeed, it was out of this Awakening that the American black church was born and the spiritual and moral resources were unleashed that eventually brought about the end of slavery on this continent.
From Evangelism to Social Transformation
At the beginning of the Great Awakening in 1726, outreach to the black populace was evangelistic in nature and not characterized by opposition to slavery. Those early preachers, such as Whitefield, Tennant and Edwards, saw their primary purpose to be in getting people ready for the next world, not necessarily improving their lot in this one. In their thinking, a slave on his way to heaven was far better off than a king on his way to hell.
Nonetheless, their insistence on sharing the Gospel with all people and their willingness to share Christian fellowship with blacks, both slave and free, breached racial and cultural barriers in Colonial America. Also, the inclusive Gospel message they preached and their compassionate treatment of blacks created a climate conducive to the anti-slavery sentiments that would burst forth through those who would come after them.
Indeed, the revivalists who came after Edwards and Whitefield carried the message of their predecessors to its logical conclusion: if we are all creatures of the same Creator and if Christ died that all might be saved, then how can slavery ever be justified?
They, therefore, began a vicious attack on the institution of slavery. This is what historian, Benjamin Hart, was referring to when he wrote, “Among the most ardent opponents of slavery were ministers, particularly the Puritan and revivalist preachers (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 92).
These "ardent opponents of slavery" included the followers of Jonathan Edwards who expanded on his idea of the essential dignity of all created beings and applied it to the blacks of Colonial America. They included Levi Hart in Connecticut, Edwards’ son, Jonathan Jr., also in Connecticut, Jacob Green in New Jersey and Samuel Hopkins in Rhode Island.
Showing the Hypocrisy of Demanding Liberty and Tolerating Slavery
Samuel Hopkins (1721–1803), who had been personally tutored by Edwards, pastored for a time in Newport, Rhode Island, an important hub in the transatlantic slave trade. Like Paul, whose spirit was “provoked” observing the idols in Athens, Hopkins was deeply grieved by what he observed in Newport. He began to passionately speak out against this "violation of God’s will” and declared, “This whole country have their hands full of blood this day (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 92).
After the First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia in 1774, Hopkins sent a pamphlet to every member of the Congress, asking how they could complain about “enslavement” to Great Britain and overlook the “enslavement” of so many blacks in the colonies.
Indeed, as “liberty” became a watchword throughout the colonies, these second-generation Awakening preachers began applying it to the enslaved blacks in America. Like Hopkins, they pointed out the hypocrisy of demanding freedom from Great Britain while enslaving black Africans. One of the most vocal was the Baptist preacher, John Allen, who thundered,
Blush ye pretended votaries of freedom! ye trifling Patriots! who are making a vain parade of being advocates for the liberties of mankind, who are thus making a mockery of your profession by trampling on the sacred natural rights and privileges of Africans (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 156).
The opposition to slavery thus mounted as other ministers of the Awakening began to speak out. For example, in a sermon preached and published in 1770, Samuel Cooke declared that by tolerating the evil of slavery, “We, the patrons of liberty, have dishonored the Christian name, and degraded human nature nearly to a level with the beasts that perish” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 93).
God Speaks to Freeborn Garrettson
Freeborn Garrettson (1752-1827), a revivalist from Maryland, freed his slaves after hearing God speak to him supernaturally. According to Garrettson, he heard the Lord say, “It is not right for you to keep your fellow creatures in bondage; you must let the oppressed go free.” Garrettson immediately informed his slaves that they did not belong to him and that he did not desire their services without giving them proper compensation.
Garrettson began preaching against slavery and advocating for freedom, which provoked intense opposition, especially in the South. One enraged slave-owner came to the house where Garrettson was lodging and swore at him, threatened him and punched him in the face. Garrettson did not retaliate but sought to reason with the man who finally gave up and left.
Garrettson took his message to North Carolina where he preached to black audiences and sought, in his words, “to inculcate the doctrine of freedom in them.” His opposition to slavery was firmly rooted in the Gospel and he described a typical meeting with blacks in which,
Many of their sable faces were bedewed with tears, their withered hands of faith were stretched out, and their precious souls made white in the blood of the Lamb (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 95).
Garrettson also preached to southern white audiences and sought to convince them of the evils of slavery and that God’s will was liberty for all His creatures. In Delaware, Garrettson visited the Stokeley Sturgis Plantation and preached to both the slaves and the Sturgis family. He was able to convince Sturgis that slavery is a sin and Sturgis began making arrangements for his slaves to obtain freedom.
Richard Allen Founds the AME
One of those who obtained his freedom was Richard Allen who then became a successful evangelist to both black and white audiences. In 1784, he preached for weeks in Radnor, Pennsylvania, to mostly white audiences and recalled hearing them say, “This man must be a man of God; I have never heard such preaching before” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 95-96).
Allen became close friends with Benjamin Rush, a Philadelphia physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence. When the Methodist Church in Philadelphia decided to segregate the congregation according to race, Allen and other blacks walked out. Rush, who called slavery a “hydra sin,” came to their aid and assisted them in establishing their own congregation. They established Bethel Methodist Church out of which came the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) denomination. Allen later wrote,
Dr. Rush did much for us in public by his influence. I hope the name of Dr. Benjamin Rush and Mr. Robert Ralston will never be forgotten among us. They were the two first gentlemen who espoused the cause of the oppressed and aided us in building the house of the Lord for the poor Africans to worship in. Here was the beginning and rise of the first African church in America (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 156).
The Great Awakening’s Legacy in Black America
Out of the Great Awakening, black congregations sprang up and black preachers arose, spreading the Good News throughout the land. It was thus out of the Awakening that the American black church was born and became a powerful and positive force in American society, producing some of the nation’s greatest preachers, singers, and musicians.
Indeed, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s-70s was anchored in the black churches of America and its most prominent leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (1929-1968) were ordained ministers—a legacy of 1726.
It may well be that the black church in America is the best hope for the continuing legacy of 1726 in this nation.
This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, 1726, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is also the founder of the "1726 Project" whose goal is to spread the message of America's birth out of the First Great Awakening and call on believers everywhere to pray for another Great Awakening across the land.



During the summer of 2019 I read about the “1619 Project” inaugurated by the New York Times supposedly to commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the arrival of the first African slaves on American soil. I was stunned, however, to read their thesis that 1619 defined America and marked its true founding rather than 1776. This meant, in their thinking, that America is racist and corrupt at its very core and in need of fundamental change.
This was significant to me for I was, at that very time, researching how the First Great Awakening had provided the spiritual and moral forces that brought about the end of slavery on this continent. My emphatic response to the Times’ thesis was, “No! America was not defined by 1619! America was defined by 1726!” 1726, of course, was the year the Great Awakening had begun.
This encounter with the Times' "1619 Project" was very significant and timely for I had just recently experienced a stirring in my heart to republish America’s Revival Heritage and include a chapter on slavery. In my spirit, I knew that I was to show how the First Great Awakening played a primary role in ending slavery on this continent.
America’s Revival Heritage was the first book that I wrote as a result of a seven-hour encounter with the Lord in 2010. It came at a time when I had given up hope of America ever seeing another great, national spiritual awakening. But in that amazing visitation, God restored my hope for America, and I saw, for the first time, that the Great Awakening had a direct bearing on the founding of our nation.
In response to this recent directive to reprint America’s Revival Heritage, I began reading through the book and making notes where edits should be made based on my ongoing research. I also began work on the new chapter on slavery and was deeply stirred, for I was uncovering clear evidence that the First Great Awakening unleashed anti-slavery outrage that brought about the end of slavery on American soil. 
In my 2010 encounter with the Lord, I had become aware of the direct bearing of the First Great Awakening on the founding of the nation. Now, in this 2019 encounter, I was seeing that the Awakening also had a direct bearing on the ending of slavery in America. The truth was clearly coming into focus. America was defined by 1726.
As I continued researching and editing the original manuscript of America’s Revival Heritageit dawned on me that a new book was emerging. This was not the second edition of America’s Revival Heritage; it was, in fact, a new book that I would call 1726 with the subtitle, The Year that Defined America.
The New York Times is wrong. 1619 did not define America. A Great Awakening occurrred between 1619 and 1776 and changed everything. This is documented in 1726It is my prayer that God will use this book to awaken many to our true American heritage and that it will provide a spark for igniting another Great Awakening across our land.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, 1726, is available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Also, check out the "1726 Project" he has founded to educate America about her spiritual birth and ignite another great spiritual awakening.