By Michael David Rawlings
John Locke (limited government, self-determination, private property, natural law) and Montesquieu (separation of powers, checks and balances) are the preeminent influences on the Founders—especially Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Hamilton and John Jay.
John Locke extrapolated his political theory from Judeo-Christianity's concept of free will.
Jefferson was a Deist who frequented Baptist services for some reason, not an atheist as some claim.
The overwhelming majority of the Founders were Christians. Adams and Washington were Christians, for example, though Washington's Christianity was apparently influenced by Masonic philosophy.
It is true that most of the more prominent among them were Deists, something out of which dishonest or ignorant leftist ideologues think to make a lot of hay. But it's all nonsense. The sense in which America is a Christian nation goes to the fact that its founding sociopolitical philosophy is derived from the ramifications of Judeo-Christianity's ethical system of thought, with its unique conception of free will, entailing a negative liberty (individualism), rather than a positive liberty (collectivism, i.e., lefty's agenda).
Though the Founders bickered among themselves, sometimes bitterly, over the extent to which individual liberty should prevail, though some were Deists and some were Christians: all of them rejected the democratic theory of classical republicanism in favor of constitutional republicanism precisely because the ethical system of the classical Deist of the Enlightenment Era and that of the Christian were one and same: hence, the sociopolitical philosophy of the classical liberal are one and the same.
Among the Founders preeminent concerns was to protect the Republic against the instability of democratic collectivism's "majoritarianism" (i.e., "mob rule"): hence, the rule of law, not the rule of men; the rule of the unbridgeable, inherent human rights of life, liberty and the security of private property against an overweening State driven by the mob. Jefferson's "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is merely an eloquent paraphrase of Locke's triadic construct.
The rights of man do not legitimately flow from the State, but are endowed by the Creator. Statism is idolatry, the tragic state of man when he gives himself and his God-given rights over to the collective will. These rights may not be legitimately abridged without creating a state of war with the God of nature and His natural law. Within nature—pre-society—men are free to believe and decide, to dispose of their property as they would within the moral constraints of free will. Men form societies and governing bodies "in order to secure those rights" against the fallen condition of man's beastly inclination to violate the moral constraints of free will.
The only legitimate form of government is that which is erected by the consent of the governed, wherein the fundamental rights of man are protected from those within the body politic who would violate the terms of the social contract (criminals or domestic enemies) and those from without who would destroy the infrastructure of the social contract (foreign invaders).
Hence, the purpose of limited government is to protect the fundamental rights of man, including the protection of private property, which is the foundation of liberty and the bulwark against tyranny. The fundamentals of the sociopolitical philosophy of America's founding are individual liberty, self-determination, the promotion of private enterprise, private religious decision and the free and open practice thereof; freedom of association, freedom of the press. . . .
Leftist academicians and the brainwashed among us (those churned out by an illegitimately collectivized public education system) will tell you that are nation's governing principles were derived from classical paganism. The only thing we take from the Greeks is the basic concept of democratic government, as opposed to monarchism or oligarchy, and the exposition of the three, distinct aspects of government—the executive, the legislative and the judicial. The rest is purely the natural law and the science of government constraint expounded by the classical liberalism of the Enlightenment Era for a stable and just democracy.
Do not be deceived by the statist collectivists of secular humanism. That is the road to tyranny.