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Excerpt: "James Wilson is buried in America's Westminster Abby-Christ Church, Philadelphia. This Anglican church is only blocks away from the First Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, where Wilson rented a pew until the end of his life. Some scholars report that Wilson joined the Anglican Communion in 1778, perhaps at the behest of one his best friends, William White, the first Anglican bishop of Philadelphia. Others claim he that never abandoned the Presbyterianism of his native Scotland. Still others pay no attention to his denominational commitments, arguing that he was actually a Thornist or a deist. Finally, some scholars say nothing about his religious identification or beliefs, apparently concluding that these things are unrelated to his political and legal accomplishments."


Originally published as chapter 7 of in The Founders on God and Government. Edited by Daniel L. Dreisbach, Mark D. Hall, and Jeffry H. Morrison, 181-205. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004. All rights reserved. Please contact the publisher for permission to copy, distribute or reprint.