Ethan Allen

1737/8-1789. American soldier and exponent of Deism.* Born in Connecticut, he became military leader of the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont in their struggle during the 1770s to maintain their land grants against the efforts of New York to take possession of the disputed land. During the American Revolution Allen captured Fort Ticonderoga. He then identified himself with the ideals of the French Enlightenment and became Deistic in outlook. In 1784 he wrote the first book to be published in the USA openly attacking the Christian religion, Reason the Only Oracle of Man, in which he rejected the Christian claim that the Bible is the special revelation of God to man. He asserted that priestcraft and superstition in the churches had imposed a tyranny upon mankind, but that their time was coming to an end. Knowledge of nature and science would exalt reason and bring men “back to the religion of nature and truth,” free from clergy-imposed ignorance.