Associate Justice to the United States Supreme Court, David Josiah Brewer was born to Emilia Field Brewer and Rev. Josiah Brewer. Born to missionary parents running a school for Greeks in the Ottoman Empire, his family returned to the United States in 1838 to settle in Connecticut. He attended college at Wesleyan University (1851-1854) and afterward Yale University. Upon graduation, he read law for one year and enrolled at Albany Law School, graduating in 1858.
Brewer served 28 years as a judge before being nominated by President Benjamin Harrison to the United States Supreme Court on December 4, 1889. Here he served until his death twenty years later, in 1910. He is often remembered as the author of the unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court in which he stated, “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”
While some have discounted the value of this statement as not “part of the controlling ruling in the matter,” what Brewer did argue was that Christianity has been a controlling ethos of America-something clearly stated in numerous decisions in hundreds of other court decisions, by Congress, and those holding the highest executive office of the nation. In fact, it may be accurately stated that Justice Brewer added nothing new to the religious origin of the nation, but aptly and extensively rehearsed the facts of America’s Christian heritage.
Justice Brewer’s lectures, The United States a Christian Nation, provides further reflections from the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court who wrote the majority opinion on February 29, 1892 (Holy Trinity vs. The United States), calling America a “Christian nation.” Providing not only historical evidence for his opinion, Justice David Brewer sets out to provide additional insight into the way America can maintain greatness through the influence of Christianity. Contrary to the liberal desire to deny Christianity any social influence, Justice Brewer insists that only through the use of Christian principles is it possible for America to maintain its greatness. This elaboration by Justice Brewer upon the influence of Christianity is a powerful antidote to secular interpretations of America’s heritage. Introduction to this memorable work is provided by Dr. Stephen Flick.eBook version
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