Ethan Allen Film Project

This document describes a film project about Ethan Allen’s quest to come up with a logical and reasonable explanation for life on earth – intelligent and otherwise.

Ethan began to write Reason, the Only Oracle of Man in Sunderland after he and Fanny were married on February 9. 1784. He completed it later in the year.

He had retired from soldiering, and like Washington, Jefferson and other founding fathers, he wanted to pursue a life of farming, contemplation, and devotion to his wife and family.

Ethan Allen was the first American to publish a book on the new ideas about creation. The religious school to which he belonged is called Deism. The Deists generally believed that God created the heavens and the earth, stepped back, and left all creatures great and small to fend for themselves. Among other Deists were Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin.

With flashbacks to some of the significant events in Ethan’s life, this film tells the story of life on the Burlington farm and of how Ethan’s fascination with the natural world led to his conclusions about God, organized religion, and reason itself. The flashbacks may include his appeal to his friend, Capt Abraham Ninham, for support from the Northern Tribes in the war effort, and a scene with Ann Storey.

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