Samuel Hopkins was born on September 17, 1721 in Waterbury, Connecticut. He attended Yale College and graduated in 1741. He then went on to study divinity in Northampton, Massachusetts with his brother-in-law Jonathan Edwards. He was licensed to preach in 1742 and in 1743 ws ordained pastor of the North Parish of Sheffield in Housatonic, Massachusetts. He preached to 30 families there until 1769. From that point he went on to Newport Rhode Island to preach at the First Congregational Church. Samuel Hopkins received a Doctor of Divinity from Yale in 1802. He created the theological scheme that bears his name, Hopkinsianism, also known as the New Divinity. This religious system is a form of Calvinism. It involved a belief that sincerity in God's commands required the ability to obey and that at birth people are not born with inherit sinfulness. Samuel Hopkins was an early opponent to slavery and published a pamphlet entitled A Dialogue Concerning the Slavery of the Africans which was addressed to the Honorable Members of the Continental Congress, Representatives of the Thirteen United American Colonies. Samuel Hopkins continued as a theologian and congregationalist until his death on december 20, 1803.