The idea of a collective covenant is not new. In the Old Testament, God established a collective covenant with Israel.
Sir Robert Filmer (1588 – 1653) was a political theorist from England who defended the Divine Right of Kings. In The Patriarcha, Filmer explains that the kings owed their divine rights to a conventant made between God and the Patriarchs of the Old Testament. As the power for the king flowed from divine covenant, petty little laws created by man could not be superior to the divine right of kings:
"kingly power is by the law of God, so it hath no inferior law to limit it."With a derisive contempt matching that of Bill Mahre, Filmer systematically dismissed all those clamoring for Democratically elected leaders and natural rights. I love the following quote from Chapter II:
Because the Scripture is not favourable to the liberty of the people, therefore many fly to natural reason, and to the authority of Aristotle.The quote is classic projection. The analytic tradition of Aristotle is about inquiry and not idle claims to authority. Filmer is the one looking for authority.
Prior to 1776, royalists based their claims to a Divine Right of Kings on a collective convent between God and the Patriarchs. The conservatives of 1776.
Conservatives of 1776 saw the Founders as immoral heathens rebelling against divine authority that reached back to the patriarchs of Israel.
As the monarchs claimed divine authority from the Bible, I would expect that preachers favorable to the revolution would have searched the Bible for ways to give the Revolution divine authority.
Just after the revolution, royalists (aka CONSERVATIVES) formed an extremely ugly ideology based on the notion that each nation had a COLLECTIVE covenant with the people and that the world spirit evolved through conflict between nations on the world stage. Such ideas are often associate with Hegel (1770-1831).
This CONSERVATIVE ideology called "nationalism" grew during the 19th century and reached ugly heights in the 20th century with the first and second world wars.
BTW, have you ever wondered why the Nazi's sought to exterminate the Jews?
It had a lot to do with this thing in which scholars who keep laying claim to covenants derived from the ancient patriarchs of Israel.
Fortunately, after the Second World War, people were so disgusted with the results of nationalism that most sane people dropped the insanity of claiming that the world spirit manifests itself through divine covenants with nations.
I capitalized the term CONSERVATIVE to emphasize that nationalism was an ideology that came from as was associated with the right. Most people on the right rejected the foolishness of nationalism after WWII. Many historians classify Hitler as Conservative because he held to nationalistic ideals which most conservatives today reject.
History is full of rogues who attempt to claim divine authority for their efforts to dominate and oppress others. Clearly, most of the claims are false. I find that a much better theological interpretation of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution is:
Man was created by God. Our inalienable rights come from the creator. The state is a creation of man. As rights come from God, not from man, the state does not have rights. The state has the powers entrusted to it by man.
The theology that the Heavenly Father gives collective rights to chosen states almost always ends in war and oppression. This idea was immensely popular. I simply hope that the current swing from the left to right does not revive this failed ideal.