The American Colonist's Library
TREASURY OF PRIMARY
Primary Source Documents Pertaining to
An invaluable collection of historical works which contributed to the
formation of American politics, culture, and ideals
The following is a massive collection of the
and documents which were most relevant to the colonists' lives in
If it isn't here, it probably is not available online anywhere.
ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL SEQUENCE (500 B.C.-1800
(Use Your Browser's FIND Function to
Given the Supreme Court's impending decision, the ultimate historic
of the national motto, "In God We Trust" and the phrase "under God" are
drawing interest. Click
Here to learn the history.
Classical Literature Having Significant Influence
Upon the American Colonists
Philosophers and Poets, Most of the founding fathers in
were thorougly familiar with these Greco-Roman authors: e.g.,
Plato, Cicero, Virgil.
The Latin Library,
Livy, Horace, etc.) Ability to read these sources extemporaneously was
an entrance requirement at colonial schools such as Harvard.
Vulgate, The Holy Bible in Latin.
The Bible, The best
Bible online, which allows the user to immediately discover the Hebrew
and Greek words behind the English words.
The Bible, This book
was, of course, the most influential piece of literature in Colonial
The church father of choice among American Puritans.
English translations of his works on predestination which greatly
Major Medieval Sources Having
Influence Upon the American Colonists
of William the Conqueror Sowing the seeds of separation of Church
State in the English world.
of William the Conqueror
of Clarendon (1164) Established rights of laymen and the church in
(1166) Defined rights and duties of courts and people in criminal
Foundation of the principle of "due process."
Assize of Arms
(1181) Defined rights and duties of people and militias.
(1215) One of the American colonists' most revered documents, the Magna
Carta established the principle that no one, not even the king or a
is above the law of God.
Et Consuetudinibus Angliæ, Henry de Bracton (1268) This text
was the most important legal treatise written in England in the
period as it organized, systematized, and explicated the principles of
English Common Law later embraced by the American colonists.
Summa Theologica, St.
Thomas Aquinas (1265-1273) Pinnacle of Scholasticism. Covering a wide
of topics, by the colonial times, most educated people in the Western
were thoroughly familiar with this important text.
Polo's Travels [excerpt] (@1300), the description of the South
which inspired Columbus to attempt to go to India by way of the
First Manual of Parliamentary Procedure (@ 1350)
English Law Library, The sources studied by many of the lawyers who
founded the U.S.
of Arbroath (1320) Scotland's declaration of independence from
An early model for the U.S. Declaration, this document ends with a
parallel to that of the U.S. Declaration: "and to Him as the Supreme
and Judge we commit the maintenance of our cause, casting our cares
Him and firmly trusting that He will inspire us with courage and bring
our enemies to nought."
Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century
Profoundly Impacting the History of America
Maleficarum, Directions for witch hunting (1486)
Christopher Columbus, (1492). This document begins with Columbus'
that the reason why Isabella sponsored his voyage was for the sake of
to India to convert Khan to Roman Catholicism.
De Insulis Nuper Inventis, Christopher Columbus (1493)
to the King and Queen of Spain, Christopher Columbus (1494)
VII's Commission to John Cabot (1497) Cabot was the first
to discover New England.
Machiavelli (1513) Practical advice on governance and statecraft,
thoughts on the kinds of problems any government must be able to solve
of Martin Luther, The father of the Protestant Reformation, his
were a major part of the American colonists' worldview.
Secular Authority, Luther (1523). This document started the
discussion about religious liberty which led to the American
In this document Luther sets forth the idea of "two kingdoms," one is
and the other is spiritual, and the two ought be separate. President
Madison commended this "due distinction, to which the genius and
of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due to
to F.L. Schaeffer, December 3, 1821).
Bondage of the Will, Luther (1524). Luther claimed that this
document was the cornerstone of the Protestant Reformation; it argues
idea of predestination and God's sovereignty, two principles which were
paramount to many of the American colonists.
Act of Supremacy, Henry VIII (1534). By this act, the English
began, and the pope was stripped of his jurisdiction over the English
This allowed Lutheran principles to make their way into the English
and led to the birth of Puritanism.
of the Christian Religion, John Calvin (1540). Calvin's magnum
The most celebrated American historian, George Bancroft, called Calvin
"the father of America," and added: "He who will not honor the memory
respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of
liberty." To John Calvin and the Genevan theologians, President John
credited a great deal of the impetus for religious liberty (Adams,
VI:313). This document includes a justification for rebellion to
by subordinate government officials; this particular justification was
at the root of the Dutch, English, and American Revolutions.
Report to Mendoza (1540)
to the King of Spain (1541)
Journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza De Vaca (1542)
Account of the Devastation of the Indies, Bartolome de la Casas
the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies, Copernicus (1543). This
touched off the Scientific Revolution as it repudiated the Geocentric
and asserted a Heliocentric theory of the solar system.
of Trent (1545) The Roman Catholic responses to the Protestant
Exercises, Ignatius Loyola (1548). Rules for the Jesuits written by
the founder of the Jesuit Order.
Magdeburg Bekenntnis or Magdeburg Confession (1550). A
written by followers of Luther stating a theological justification for
Genevan Book of Order (1556) The Form of Prayers and Ministration
the Sacraments, etc. Used in the English Congregation at Geneva
A Short Treatise
on Political Power, John Ponet, D.D. (1556) President John Adams credited
this Calvinist document as being at the root of the theory of
adopted by the the Americans. According to Adams, Ponet's work
"all the essential principles of liberty, which were afterward dilated
on by Sidney and Locke" including the idea of a three-branched
(Adams, Works, vol. 6, pg. 4). Published in Strassbourg in
it is the first work out of the Reformation to advocate active
to tyrannical magistrates, after the Magdeburg Bekenntnis (the
Powers Ought to Be Obeyed by Their Subjects, Christopher Goodman
Justifying a Christian's right to resist a tyrannical ruler. Goodman
that he had presented the thesis of this book to John Calvin, and
Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, John
Knox (1558). A vigorous critique of the tyranny of "Bloody Mary's"
in England, and a call to resist. A large portion of the Americans who
fought in the American Revolution were adherents to Knox's doctrines as
set forth in this document.
Supremacy, Elizabeth I (1559). After the brief and bloody reign of
I, who executed numerous Protestants for the cause of Roman
this document states Elizabeth's intention to reaffirm the English
independence from Rome. Her beloved status among her subjects caused
first settlers of America to name their colony "Virginia" in honor of
of Elizabeth I, Including her letters and her poems.
and Speeches of Elizabeth I
Foxe's Book of Martyrs
(1563). Detailing the bloody persecutions of Puritans during the reign
of Mary I, this book was second only to the Bible in its popularity in
the American colonies.
Calvinism, Theodore Beza (1570) Laying out the principle that God
and predestined the fall of Adam and the existence of sin and evil.
assertion became the most controversial philosophical conflict among
colonists up through the 19th century.
(1570) Philosophy of Education among English people, particularly with
respect to the importance of learning Latin.
Articles of Religion (1571) The official statement of faith of the
Church of England; this document formally adopts the Calvinistic
of predestination and repudiates common notion of "free will."
Act (1571) Forbidding criticism of Queen Elizabeth.
Day Massacre (1572)
The Right of
Over Their Subjects, Theodore Beza (1574). Expanding upon Calvin's
political resistance theory set forth in the final chapters of his
this work by Calvin's successor in Geneva, Theodore Beza, was published
in response to the growing tensions between Protestant and Catholic in
France, which culminated in the St. Bartholomew Day Massacre in 1572.
text suggests that it is the right of a Christian to revolt against a
King: a principle central to the American colonists' cause.
Of the Tabaco
and of His Greate Vertues, Nicholas Monardes (1577)
The Works of
Sir Walter Raleigh, Sponsor of the First Settlements in Virginia
De Jure Regni
apud Scotos, George Buchanan (1579) Considered the most important
of political writing in the 16th century as it articulated the doctrine
of "the rule of law."
Contra Tyrannos, or, A Vindication Against Tyrants (1579). This
document is one of the first to set forth the theory of "social
upon which the United States was founded. The idea was disseminated
the English Calvinists to the pen of John Locke, and eventually into
Declaration of Independence. John Adams reported the relevance of this
document to the American struggle.
Declaration of Independence (1581); This Calvinistic document
as a model for the U.S. Declaration of Independence. In his
Jefferson indicated that the "Dutch Revolution" gave evidence and
to the Second Continental Congress that the American Revolution could
commence and succeed. Recent
has has suggested that Jefferson may have consciously drawn on this
John Adams said that the Dutch charters had "been particularly studied,
admired, and imitated in every State" in America, and he stated that
analogy between the means by which the two republics [Holland and
arrived at independency... will infallibly draw them together."
Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, Thomas
of Western Planting, Richard Hakluyt, (1584)
Voyage To Virginia, Arthur Barlowe (1584)
Commonplace Book (1586) Early diary of a Puritan whose family
settled in America.
of Roanoke, Ralph Lane (1586). The first English attempt at
the New World
To Roanoake, John White (1590) Relating the surprise of the loss of
the Roanoake colony and the few clues left regarding their fate.
Papists (1593) Parliament's tough words against those who would
to depose Elizabeth for her Protestantism.
Works of Richard
Hooker (1593) Anglican political commentator and major influence
of Coronado (1596)
Law of Free Monarchs, James I Stuart (1598). Championed the
of "Divine Right of Kings." This oppressive political theory
to the exodus of the Puritans to America in 1630, and resistance to it
was the ultimate goal of three revolutions: 1) the Puritan Revolution
the 1640s, 2) the Glorious Revolution, and 3) the American Revolution.
Dutie of A King, Sir Walter Raleigh (1599) Promoting the doctrine
"Divine Right of Kings."
Geneva Bible, 1599 update of the translation made by the Puritans
Geneva 1560. This was the Bible of choice in New England. These are the
footnotes which provide a Calvinistic theological interpretation of the
Seventeenth Century Sources
to American History
of all the Colonies
Dictionaries of the 16th & 17th Centuries, six bilingual
-- John Palsgrave (1530; English-French), Sir Thomas Elyot (1538;
English), William Thomas (1550; Italian-English), Thomas Thomas (1587;
Latin-English), John Florio (1598; Italian-English), and Randle
(1611; French-English) -- these give pairs of French, Italian, and
dictionaries, each pair separated by 50-80 years; four English
dictionaries -- Edmund Coote (1596), Robert Cawdrey (1604; courtesy of
Raymond Siemens), John Bullokar (1616), and Henry Cockeram (1623) --
one English word-list by Richard Mulcaster (1582); the first full
dictionary -- Thomas Blount (1656).
The Works of King James
Samuel de Champlain (1604)
Sources Pertaining to the Gunpowder Plot (1605)
First Virginia Charter (1606)
for the Virginia Colony (1606)
of Francis Bacon, Identified by Jefferson as one of his three most
Settlement at Jamestown, John Smith (1607) Including the famous
of Smith being saved by Pocahontas.
Foundation of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain (1608)
Text of Robert Juet's Journal (1609)
Second Virginia Charter (1609)
Smyth's Confession (1609) the religion of a Baptist.
Church At Jamestown, William Strachey (1610)
Third Virginia Charter (1612)
News From Virginia, Alexander Whitaker (1613)
Ordinance and Constitution of the Virginia Company in England for a
John Smith (1616)
Starving Time, John Smith.
of Virginia (1610)
to Carelton from Jamestown (1619)
in Virginia (1619)
of Arminius Arminius was a Dutchman who dared to challenge Luther
Calvin on the predestination issue. His writings led to a major
in Holland while the "Pilgrims" were residing there. Arminius's views
adopted by Archbishop Laud of England, which greatly contributed to the
English Calvinists' desire to leave England in 1630.
Canons of Dort
(1619). The Synod at Dort in the Netherlands was called to respond to
views of the Arminians. Participating in this Synod moderated by
was the leader of the Pilgrims, as well as William Ames (the leading
theologian of the day). As a result of this synod, the "five points of
Calvinism" were developed. The "five points," also called TULIP, became
a centerpiece of Puritanism and were ardently defended by American
such as Jonathan Edwards. The conflict between Calvinists and Arminians
was perhaps the most explosive debate in America in the early 18th
On the Calvinist side, Americans such as Benjamin Franklin and Jonathan
Edwards wrote philosophical defenses; on the Arminian side, John Wesley
was the premiere mouthpiece. While Madison wrote in defense of
Thomas Jefferson utterly repudiated it.
of New England (1620)
Compact (1620). The first political covenant of the New England
State and General Assembly, 24 July 1621.
Plantation (Written 1630-1654, first published 1854). This is
William Bradford's history of Plymouth, the most comprehensive primary
source available on early Plymouth.
Plantation, William Bradford. An eyewitness history of the first
settlers of New England.
A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth . (London, 1622). This
written by several Pilgrims--namely William Bradford and Edward
events at Plymouth from the Mayflower's arrival in November 1620
the First Thanksgiving in October 1621, and everything in between.
The Sin and Danger
of Self-Love (1621) There were no clergymen among the pilgrims at
when they first settled. This sermon was written and given by a layman,
Robert Cushman, to the Plymouth congregation in December 1621. Robert
was a member of the Pilgrims church in Leyden, Holland, and came on
returned in) the ship Fortune.
the Plymouth Settlers
Last Wills and
Testaments of the Settlers at Plymouth We can tell a lot
a culture by looking at their wills.
from New England (London, 1624). This book, authored by Edward
continues the journal in Mourt's Relation, covering the years 1622 and
1623 at Plymouth.
for War Against Spain (1624)
Law of War and Peace, Hugo Grotius (1625, Latin) One of the first
on international law.
the Purchase of Manhattan (1626) The source of the $24 dollar
First Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England, Sir Edward
(1628) Written by a Puritan leader of Parliament, this document was
the only textbook for lawyers (e.g., Jefferson) during the American
Period. Coke's influence over the minds of American politicians is
Clear traces between Coke and the U.S. Constitution are apparent in
of Right, Sir Edward Coke (1628). This document set forth
of the members of Parliament to King Charles I regarding rights of due
process. Charles did not receive this complaint warmly. As a result,
I shut down Parliament, which ultimately culminated in the English
War, and contributed to the exodus of 20,000 Puritans to New England.
of the House of Commons, Documents showing the growth of
hatred for King Charles I, first complaining against his closet
his Arminianism, and his presumptuousness in levying taxes without the
consent of Parliament.
, John Winthrop. A Journal of Religious Experiences.
Salem Covenant (1629)
Bay (1629). This document sets forth the Puritans' commission in
of John Winthrop's Father, A catalogue of the books available for
Puritan Laywer who founded Boston.
Memoir of the
the Plantation in New England
1628). This document states clearly and forcefully that the motivations
of the Puritans who came to New England @ 1630 were fundamentally
who founded the Massachusetts Bay Commonwealth (1628-1630)
Genealogical Dictionary of New England This comprehensive source
the entire families who lived in New England in the early 17the century.
Short and True Description of New England, by the Rev. Francis
Cambridge Agreement among the leaders of the settlement (1629)
of the First Settlements as told by Capt. John Smith, Admiral of
Constitution of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay
Theologica (The Marrow of Theology), William Ames (1629). The
was the principal required textbook in the Ivy League in the American
Period. One cannot adequately grasp the intellectual climate of New
without understanding the concepts in this book. The following two
on the Decrees of God and Predestination highlight the central
of Puritan theology. Ames was unequivocal in stating that God controls
the universe and that humans do not "change" or "determine" God's
in any way.
Marrow of Theology, William Ames (1629), Excerpts.
Model of Christian Charity by John Winthrop (1630). A sermon
aboard one of the ships carrying the Puritans to New England.
Boston Covenant (1630)
Watertown Covenant (1630)
Humble Request of the Puritan emigrants (1630)
Oath of a Freeman, including a list of men who took this oath
to Planters of New England, by Capt. John Smith (1631)
continued, by Capt. John Smith (1631)
to William Pond (1631)
Indictment of Galileo (1633) The height of the conflict between
Glorious Work in Maryland, Andrew White, S.J. (1633)
of A Maryland Jesuit (1634)
From Lion Gardiner's Journal (1635)
Constitution of Plymouth Colony (1636)
Salem Covenant (1636)
Dedham Covenant (1636)
Testimony (1636), the Boston Governor's account of his Christian
Cotton Condemns Democracy (1636)
of The Trial of Anne Hutchinson (1636)
in New Canaan, Thomas Morton (1637)
of Indians, Thomas Morton (1637)
Against the Power of the Church To Sit in Judgement on the Civil
Magistracy, John Winthrop, Esq. (1637) A treatise indicating an
the Puritans to keep church and state separate.
of the Commonwealth from 1630 to 1686.
of the Commonwealth: the complete rolls from 1630 to 1636.
of Thomas Shephard
of Thomas Shephard to his son at Harvard College
of New Towne, (later
called Cambridge) from the original town Court records, 1632-1635,
Memoir of Capt. Roger Clapp (1609 -1691) Events in Massachusetts
Colony to about the year 1640.
National Covenant (1639) Scotland's declaration of resistance to
of Connecticut (1639) Acknowledged by scholars to be a prototype of
the U.S. constitution.
Hampshire Compact (1639)
Exeter Covenant (1639)
of New England Indians, William Wood (1639)
Winthrop's Journal, John Winthrop (excerpts), Tremendous and
insights into the mind of the Puritan leader.
Wicked Capitalism of Robert Keayne, John Winthrop (1639) A merchant
named Robert Keayne was practicing capitalistic economics in Boston and
was squarely rebuked for it by John Cotton and Governor Winthrop.
Regulating the Price of Tobacco in Virginia (1639-40)
Brief Discourse Concerning the Power of Peers, John Selden (1640)
Constitution of Rhode Island (1640) A document guaranteeing liberty
Bay Psalm Book (1640) With an Introduction written by Richard
England's First Fruits, The first written history regarding the
of Harvard College (@1640)
Records of Springfield, Massachusetts, Including information about
crimes and punishments.
Body of Liberties (1641) Early written expression of the liberties
asserted by the colonists in reaction to the oppressions of European
Thomas Hobbes (1641-47) Discussion of the natural law foundations of
(1641) An oath taken by British citizens loyal to the Puritan interests
to Justify Their Proceedings and Resolutions to Take Up Arms (1642)
Thomas Jefferson, in his Autobiography,said that this Puritan
was an inspiration to the American cause.
of a Particular Visible Church, by John Cotton (1642)
Bay School Laws (1642) Requiring that every father teach his
the Catechism; if not, the children shall be taken from the home.
College Admission and Graduation Requirements (1642-1700)
With the Indians (1642-43)
of the United Colonies of New England (1643) The first attempt at a
union of colonies, foreshadowing the United States. This document
several colonies together for the primary purpose of national defense.
This is the first document resembling a federal constitution in
Medici, Thomas Browne (1643) The Religion of a Physician; showing
link between religion and Enlightenment science in the 17th century.
The Bloody Tenet
of Persecution for the Cause of Conscience, Roger Williams
A Plea for
Liberty, Roger Williams (1644) Early expression of the principle of
religious tolerance by the founder of the colony of Rhode Island.
League and Covenant (1643-44) The document which allied the Scotch
Presbyterians and the Puritans in their struggle against Charles I.
Military Accounts of the English Civil War
Lex Rex This
systematized the Calvinistic political theories which had developed
the previous century. Rutherford was a colleague of John Locke's
Most of John Locke's Second Treatise on Government is
of Lex Rex. From Rutherford and other Commonwealthmen such as
Lawson, through Locke, these theorists provided the roots of the
of Independence. This page provides the list of questions
Rex, Samuel Rutherford (1644).
Rex, Samuel Rutherford (1644). This excerpt shows Rutherford's
contract theory and includes the Puritan theory of resistance to a
John Milton (1644). A treatise arguing that true Christianity can win
own arguments, and does not need to worry about challenges from other
of view, and therefore, the Government should not prevent the
of any ideas. This idea was later articulated by Locke in his Letters
Toleration, and picked up by Madison and Jefferson in their
of religious liberty in the U.S.
Description of New Amsterdam by Isaac Joques (1644)
of the Iroquois, Rev. John Megapolensis (1644)
Government Vindicated, John Winthrop (1644)
, John Winthrop (1645) Discusses liberties demanded by the colonists.
Unmasked (London, 1646). This is a religious treatise written by
Character of A Puritan, John Geree (1646)
Confession of Faith (1646) In addition to being the decree of
as the standard for Christian doctrine in the British Kingdom, it was
as the official statement of belief for the colonies of Massachusetts
Connecticut. Although slighlty altered and called by different names,
was the creed of Congregationalist, Baptist, and Presbyterian Churches
throughout the English speaking world. Assent to the Westminster
was officially required at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Princeton
Benjamin Warfield wrote: "It was impossible for any body of Christians
in the [English] Kingdoms to avoid attending to it."
Catechism (1646) Second only to the Bible, the "Shorter Catechism"
of the Westminster Confession was the most widely published piece of
in the pre-revolutionary era in America. It is estimated that some five
million copies were available in the colonies. With a total population
of only four million people in America at the time of the Revolution,
number is staggering. The Westminster Catechism was not only a central
part of the colonial educational curriculum, learning it was required
law. Each town employed an officer whose duty was to visit homes to
the children recite the Catechism. The primary schoolbook for children,
the New England Primer, included the Catechism. Daily recitations of it
were required at these schools. Their curriculum included memorization
of the Westminster Confession and the Westminster Larger Catechism.
was not a person at Independence Hall in 1776 who had not been exposed
to it, and most of them had it spoon fed to them before they could
Petition to Establish the Laws of England in America (1646)
Salamander Discovered (London, 1647). This is another religious
written by Edward Winslow.
Old Deluder Act (1647)
Cobbler of Aggawamm in America, Nathaniel Ward (1647).
of the People (1647) A proposal for a republican government in
Laws of Massachusetts (1648)
of Westphalia (1648) An attempt at religious peace in Europe.
Laws, New Haven
Indian Deed for East-Hampton (1648)
Maryland Toleration Act (1649)
Charles I's Speech at His Trial (1649); Including Judge Bradshaw's
response appealing to social contract theory.
Execution of Charles I Stuart (1649)
King Charles I's Speech
Just Before His Execution (1649)
Non-Compelling of Heathens, Samuel Rutherford (1649) Exploring the
extent to which a government can coerce religious conformity.
of the Free People of England (1649) The manifesto of the
the leaders of the 1649 English Civil War that deposed Charles I and
a period of parliamentary rule. It expresses many of the ideals that
inspired the American Revolution.
The Tenure of
Kings and Magistrates (1650) by John Milton in defense of the
of Charles I by the British Parliament a few days after its occurance.
It includes an excellent evaluation and summation of the political
produced on the Continent in the 16th Century. Charles I was the first
monarch executed in Europe by his subjects, setting the stage for a
struggle which would grip Britain for several decades to come. The
and spelling of this edition has been done directly from the 1650
of John Milton
Thomas Hobbes (1651) Laid basis for social contract theory, providing
branching point for the theories of constitutionalism and fascism.
to the year 1651
Gospel Covenant, Rev. Peter Bulkely (1651)
Laws in New England (1651) Laws regarding what one may and may not
Deed Assignment to the Inhabitants of East-Hampton (1651)
Instrument of Government, 1653; The Constitution of the English
under Oliver Cromwell. Many of the founders, such as Samuel Adams,
Oliver Cromwell their hero, and considered the Commonwealth as the
years of England.
Question, Sir Henry Vane, 1656, published the following tract,
the principles of civil and religious liberty, and proposed that method
of forming a constitution, through a convention called for the purpose,
which was actually followed in America after the Revolution.
Commonwealth of Oceana, James Harrington (1656) Outline of a plan
Flushing Remonstrance (1657) Proclamation granting liberty to
Muslims, and Quakers" on Long Island, New York, on the grounds of New
graciousness. Extremely progressive for the American colonies.
Garlick Testimony in Witchcraft Trial (1657)
to the Revision of the New Plymouth Laws (1658)
Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes; Showing That it Is
Lawful For Any Power on Earth to Compel in Matters of Religion,
Milton (1659). A formative influence upon the ideals of religious
adopted by John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.
Declaration of Breda, King Charles II Stuart (1660), As the Stuart
King was to be restored to the throne after the end of the reign of the
Puritan Protectorates, one of his first decisions was to attempt to
another religious war, by granting religious liberty to "tender
so long as they did not disturb the peace.
Restoration of Charles II to the Throne of England (1660); A
of Both Houses of Parliament.
from the Navigation Acts, 1660-1696, The first Parliamentary
toward the colonies which would lead to the colonial rebellion of the
of Elenctic Theology, [excerpt on predestination] Francis Turretin
(1660) The principle textbook used by students in American colleges in
the 18th century (used at Princeton into the late 19th century).
of Elenctic Theology, Francis Turretin (1660). Excerpts.
of the Pequot War, Lion Gardiner (1660)
Narrative of the
Pequot War, John Mason
Status of Religion in Virginia (1661)
Records Dealing with Runaway Slaves in Virginia
Book of Common Prayer (1662) As the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell
came to an end and Charles II was restored to the throne of England,
Church of England once again introduced a new Book of Common Prayer.
was the guiding document for many throughout the American colonies,
Anglican Catechism (1662) The document which provided the religious
training for many of the founding fathers of the U.S. (e.g.,
Madison, Henry, Wythe, Mason).
Pratt (1662) Recounting the settlement at Plymouth
Day of Doom and other Poems, Michael Wigglesworth (1662)
Penalties in Maryland (1664)
and Punishments in Massachusetts (1664-1682)
Trials in New York (1665)
From The Duke of York's Laws (1665-75)
Description of Carolina, Robert Horne (1666)
Lost, John Milton (1667)
Constitutions of Carolina, John Locke (1669)
Treatise, Baruch de Spinoza (1670) Discussed the ultimate source of
legitimate political power.
in Witchcraft Times, Samuel Green, ed. (c.1671)
Naturae, Samuel Puffendorf (1672, tr. Basil Kennett 1703)
Hominis Et Civis Juxta Legem Naturalem Libri Duo ,
Pufendorf (1673). The political theorist of choice among American
in the early 18th century.
of John Bunyan, According to Ben Franklin's Autobiography, Bunyan
his "favorite author."
Documents I A tremendous library of 17th and 18th century Quaker
Body of Divinity, Samuel Willard. The primary textbook used at
The New England
Primer, The best-selling textbook used by children in the colonial
period. Millions of copies were in print. Filled with Calvinist
the influence of this little document is inestimable.
Dangers That Threaten Canada and the Means to Remedy Them, January
Declaration in the Name of the People, 30 July 1676
Bacon's Rebellion, Governor William Berkely, 19 May 1676
of Mary Rowlandson (1676)
Baruch de Spinoza (1677) Constitutional considerations of various
of government, including ideas that later influenced the Founders.
Poems for Her
Husband, Anne Bradstreet (1678)
Act (1679) English Parliament established key right which was
of the New England Synod (1679), a "Jeremiad."
Robert Filmer. A treatise defending the "divine right of Kings." This
was the document which Locke and Sydney both had in mind as they wrote
their political tracts which formed the American founders' political
Although this was written around 1640 in defense of Charles I's divine
right, it was not published until 1680.
to Exclude the Duke of York (1680), Attempts by the Whig Party to
James II off the throne.
Pueblo Revolt (1680)
for the Carrying on the Negro's Christianity, Morgan Goodwyn
Redivivus, Henry Neville (1681)
of Pennsylvania, William Penn (1682) Early model for written
Fruits of Solitude In Reflections And Maxims, William Penn (1682)
Penn to His Family (1682)
a Democratic Government (1682)
of the Massachussetts Bay Company, Edward Randolph, 12 June 1683
Constitution of New York (1683)
of King Phillip's War, Edward Randolph (1685)
to Sir Edmund Andros (1686)
Charter of East
Declaration of Toleration (1686)
Orders to Governor Andros (1686-1687)
Isaac Newton (1687) One of the three most significant influences upon
the Duty of Man and Citizen According to Natural Law, Samuel
(1688) Based law and right on natural law.
II Creates the Dominion of New England, April 7, 1688
Invites William of Orange to England (1688)
of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal (1688) Parliament pledges its
to William and Mary.
Full Text of Huntington's Declaration of Rights
Sending Sir Edmund Andros To England (1689)
King's Oath (1689) Established the requirement that the monarch
"the Protestant reformed religion"
of Rights (1689) Early model for recognizing natural rights in
Much of its language appeared later in the Declaration of Independence
and U.S. Constitution.
on Government John Locke (1689) Principal proponent of the social
theory which forms the basis for modern constitutional republican
Toleration, John Locke (1689) Classic statement of the case for
of those holding different views.
Reasonableness of Christianity, John Locke.
Act of William and Mary (1689)
Boston Uprising, Samuel Prince (1689)
London Confession of Faith (1689) Drawn from the Westminster
this document set for the beliefs of English Baptists during this era.
of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland (1690)
Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions, Cotton Mather
Government, Table of Contents. Algernon Sidney (1698) Built
of popular government from foundation of natural law and the social
This book has been considered by scholars the "textbook of the American
Government, Algernon Sidney, excerpts.
Journal of George
Fox, Founder of the Quakers.
of the Salem Witch Trials (1692) This is one of the web's best and
most complete primary source documents, containing all of the court
of the Salem Witch trials. An invaluable resource.
Confession of Anne Foster at Salem (1692)
of the Invisible World (excerpts), Cotton Mather (1693)
of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits, Increase Mather (1693)
Character of a Good Ruler, Samuel Willard (1694)
Plan for a Union (1697)
Samuel Sewall Repents His Participation in the Salem Witch Trials
Story of Squanto, Cotton Mather (1698)
Execution of Hugh Stone, Cotton Mather (1698)
Account of West Jersey and Pennsylvania, Gabriel Thomas (1698)
Eighteenth Century Sources Which Profoundly
Documents Pertaining to Africans and Slavery in America Massive
of primary sources regarding slavery in America.
of Joseph, Samuel Sewall (1700) An argument against the slave
Representing the Present State of Religion on the Continent of North
, Thomas Bray, D.D. (1700) Documenting the Anglican view of the
and appended with a proposition to found the SPG (Society for Progating
William Addresses Parliament on the French Question, 31 December
At His Calling, Cotton Mather (1701)
Christi Americana, Cotton Mather (1702)
Beverley on Bacon's Rebellion (1704)
Money and Trade
Considered With a Proposal for Supplying the Nation with Money, by
John Law (1705)
Laws in Virginia (1642-1705)
Repentance of a Salem Witchcraft Accuser, Ann Putnam (1706)
Union (1707) The document creating "Great Britain"
Commentary, Pierre Bayle (1708) A writer recommended by Thomas
Bayle criticised French Catholic persecution of Protestants; and argued
for toleration as a matter of Biblical principle.
Byrd's Diary [excerpt] (1709)
Byrd's Diary [excerpts regarding slave punishments] (1709)
Americana ("God's City: America"), Cotton Mather (1709) This
from Mather's sermon shows how Mather, with other Puritans, believed
America was truly the "Promised Land." This thinking led ultimately to
the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, whereby Anglo-Americans believed that
it was their divine commission to spread their culture from Atlantic to
Truths Tending to Conversion, Increase Mather (1710). A sermon
with the paradox between predestination and man's effort toward
Mather appears nearly contradictory throughout.
the Duties of Husbands and Wives, Benjamin Wadsworth (1712)
of the Boston Latin Grammar School (1712)
History of the Common Law of England, Matthew Hale (1713)
Concerning the Jacobite Rebellion
North Carolina Biennal Act (1715)
of the Government of New England Churches, John Wise (1717) A
political sermon which included most of the principles of government
by the founders of the U.S.
Angel of Bethesda, Cotton Mather. Here, as a watershed in the
of medical science in America, Mather takes a position in favor of
Cato's Letters, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon (1720-23) English
newspaper articles advocating Whig principles, which much influenced
of the Iroquois Confederacy A model for a federal system of
for several Native American nations, Franklin lauded the Iroquois for
ability to confederate.
of the College of William and Mary (1727) The rules governing the
where Thomas Jefferson received his training.
House of Representatives on the Governor's Salary, 11 September
Burnet of Massachusetts on the Governor's Salary, 17 September 1728
Story of Venture Smith (1729-1809)
Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting, Andrew Clarkson (1731);
against unconditional submission to the National Church and
Upon Parties, Henry St. John Bolingbroke (1733). A heavy influence
Vision for Georgia, General James Oglethorpe (1733)
Regarding the Settlement of the Georgia Colony, Count Zinzendorf
of the Trial of Peter Zenger (1735)
on the Study and Use of History, Henry St. John Bolingbroke (1735)
Patriotism, Bolingbroke (1736)
Gabriel Johnston's request to repeal the Biennal act, 18 October
of the North Carolina Biennal Act (1737)
of a Patriot King, Bolingbroke (1738)
on the Five Points [Of Calvinism], Daniel Whitby. The text which
Jonathan Edwards to write his most important book, The Freedom of
Grace, John Gill (1738) Defense of Calvinism by a celebrated
of the SPG (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) (1740) The
of this group to land an Anglican Bishop in the American colonies
the American Revolution.
True Scripture-Doctrine Concerning Some Important Points of the
Faith, Jonathan Dickinson (1741) Jonathan Dickinson was the first
of the College at Princeton, New Jersey. In this excerpt, Dickinson
that atheism is pure "stupidity" and "madness." Dickinson's opinion in
this regard represented the consensus in America. Subsequently all of
founders of the United States were certain of the existence of a Deity.
On the other hand, Dickinson here emphasizes the doctrine of
which was the central controversy of the eighteenth century in the
Colonists' opinions were divided in this regard. Earlier in the century
predestination was the majority view, but by the end of the century a
in "free-will" had become prevalent among many such as Methodists.
The Works Of Jonathan Edwards
, Enlightenment Philosopher, Theologian, Orator, Scientist; Edwards was
the most important American-born Great Awakening preacher and defender
of orthodox Calvinism.
of George Whitefield, Known for his supreme oratory skills,
was the most famous inter-colonial celebrity during the Great
The inter-colonial nature of Whitefield's ministry was an important
in the development of the intercolonial union which commenced in the
and 70's. A strong advocate of predestination, Whitefield entered into
a bitter dispute with his Methodist colleague, John Wesley over the
and the movement was split.
of John Wesley, An English preacher, Wesley developed the practice
of itinerant preaching: out of doors, traveling long distances on
Wesley was a strong opponent of the Calvinism which was prevalent in
Letters of John Wesley
Essential Rights and Liberties of Protestants, Elisha Williams
An excerpt explaining what makes something a person's property, from a
Boston minister who vigorously promoted liberty of conscience.
at Yale College (1745) Showing the centrality of Calvinism and the
Westminster Confession in colonial higher education.
Presence of Great God in the Assembly of Political Rulers, John
(1746) A early warning against tyranny from one of Boston's ministers.
of the Deliverance of Briton Hammond, An account of an
taken captive by Native Americans (1747)
Principles of Natural Law, J. Burlamaqui, tr. Thomas Nugent (1748,
tr. Thomas Nugent 1752) This was the textbook on political theory used
at Harvard. It was this book that gave James Otis, John Hancock, Samuel
Adams, Joseph Warren, and John Adams their understanding of political
of Politic Law, J. Burlamaqui, tr. Thomas Nugent (1748, tr. Thomas
Nugent 1752) Sequel to The Principles of Natural Law carrying
law into constitutional law. Commentary on the ideas of Grotius,
Puffendorf, Barbeyrac, Locke, Clarke, and Hutchinson.
The Spirit of Laws,
Charles de Montesquieu, (1748, tr. Thomas Nugent 1752) Laid the
for the theory of republican government, particularly the concepts of
separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial, a
republic, representatives elected from political subdivisions, a
legislature, and a system of checks and balances. Montesquieu was the
frequently cited political theorist during the founding of the U.S.
into the Principles of Political Economy, James Steuart.
by Jefferson as one of the best books on political science.
of Massachusetts Bay, Thomas Hutchinson, excerpt regarding coinage.
on the Fable of the Bees, Frances Hutcheson (1750)
Captivity Narrative, Mary Jemison (1750)
Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the
Powers, Jonathan Mayhew (1750) About this document, John Adams
"It was read by everybody; celebrated by friends, and abused by
It spread an universal alarm against the authority of Parliament. It
a general and just apprehension, that bishops, and dioceses, and
and priests, and tithes, were to be imposed on us by Parliament." This
sermon has been called the spark which ignited the American Revolution.
This illustrates that the Revolution was not only about stamps and
but also about religious liberty.
to Parliament: Reasons for Making Bar, as well as Pig or Sow-iron
to Parliament: Reason Against a General Prohibition of the Iron
on the English Aggression, October 1750
on the French Colonies in North America, December 1750
Franklin, and Madison: Accounts of Their Original Plans to be Christian
Party Divisions, William Livingston (1753)
A Discourse on the
Origin of Inequality, Jean Jacques Rousseau (1754) Discussion on
inequality, its origins and implications.
A Discourse on
Political Economy, Jean Jacques Rousseau (1755) Discussion on the
principles affecting the politics of a society.
Samuel Johnson (1755) This was the standard dictionary of the late
Value and Purpose of Princeton College, Samuel Davies and Gilbert
(1754); an appeal to British citizens to support the seminary which
and Patriotism the Constituents of a Good Soldier, Samuel Davies
Davies, a Presbyterian preacher and president of the College at
here interprets the French and Indian war as a religious war. In this
from a sermon preached in Virginia, Davies rouses the anti-Catholic
of his hearers to rally them to arms against the French in the Ohio
Documents of the French and Indian War
Pertaining to the French and Indian War
Complete Poem by Jupiter Hammon (1760)
The Social Contract,
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1762) Discussed legitimate government as the
of the general will.
Curse of Cowardice, Samuel Davies (1758)
Against the Writs
of Assistance, James Otis (1761)
Role of the Indians in the Rivalry Between France, Spain, and England
, Governor Glen (1761)
of Criticism, Lord Kaims [Henry Homes] (1762), Highly recommended
Jefferson, in this excerpt Kaims discusses the problems with fiction.
Paris (1763) Ended the French and Indian War and gave the English
of all the land east of the Mississippi River.
Acts of Parliament concerning the American Colonies
Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved, James Otis
Royal Proclamation of 1763 Forbid colonists from crossing the
Currency Act, 1764
Sugar Act, 1764
Quartering Act, 1765
Stamp Act, 1765 Precipitated the "Stamp Act Crisis" which fomented
rebellion throughout the colonies
Declaratory Act, 1766 The English Parliament repealed the Stamp
but couldn't leave well enough alone, and adopted this statement of
supremacy over the British colonies.
Townshend Act, 1767
Tea Act, 1773
Administration of Justice Act, 1774
Boston Port Act, 1774
Massachusetts Government Act, 1774
Quebec Act, 1774
Quartering Act, 1774
(1765) Considered the book that "lost the colonies" for England. This
delineates the legal principles of common law which ensure the
rights of Englishmen. Blackstone was quoted by the colonists twice as
as they quoted Locke.
Against God and Religion," William Blackstone (1765). Showing the
understanding that the integrity of the judicial system depends upon
participants' belief in God.
Against the Public Peace" William Blackstone (1765)
Husband And Wife", William Blackstone (1765)
Daniel Dulany, October 1765
Objections to the Taxation Consider'd, Soame Jenyns (1765)
Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress, October 19, 1765
of Rights of the Stamp Act Congress (1765) Developed the concept
people could not legitimately be taxed except by their elected
Pitt's Speech on the Stamp Act, January 14, 1766
of Benjamin Franklin in the House of Commons (1766)
and Punishments, Cesare Beccaria (1766) Set out rights of the
in criminal proceedings. Argues for crime prevention over punishment,
against the death penalty and torture.
of Civil Society, Adam Ferguson
Dickinson's Letter 2, from Letters from a Farmer, 1767-1768
Dickinson's Letter 4, from Letters from a Farmer, 1767-1768
Misfortune of Indentured Servants, Gottlieb Mittelberger
Election Sermon, Daniel Shute; Delivered in Boston,
26 May 1768.
Nonimportation Resolutions (1769)
From Mary Cooper's Diary (1769)
Bergen Rapelje's Full Manuscript (1770-1797)
Boston Massacre, The Boston Gazette, 12 March 1770
Account of the Boston Massacre, 5 March, 1770
Thomas Preston's account of the Boston Massacre, 13 March 1770
of Isaac Watts, After the Bible and the Catechism, this was the
most commonly used book in colonial New England.
of the Colonists, Samuel Adams (1772) John Adams indicated that all
the concepts which Jefferson later set forth in the Declaration of
were first introduced here.
Oration on the Beauties of Liberty, Reverend John Allen (1772)
Deliverd at Boston, Joseph Warren (1772)
Oration Delivered at Boston, Joseph Warren (1772)
Election Sermon, Simeon Howard (1773) Demonstrating that an armed
against a tyrant was a Christian's duty.
Sovereign Decrees of God, Isaac Backus (1773)
Account of the Boston Tea Party, George Hewes (1773)
of the Virginia House of Burgesses for Establishing an Intercolonial
of Correspondence (1773)
Virginia Religious Petitions (1774-1802) Thomas Jefferson, a
of the Virginia Committee on Religion, was greatly impacted by these
in developing his thoughts about religious liberty.
Oration, John Hancock (1774)
Before the Massachusetts Legislature, Isaac Backus (1774)
on the Nature and Extent of the Legislative Authority of the British
Parliament, James Wilson (1774)
the Inhabitants of the Several Anglo-American Colonies, William
Rights of the Continental Congress (1774) John Adams said that the
Declaration of Independence was not much more than a recapitulation of
Prayer Given in the Continental Congress, Rev. Jacob Duche (1774)
of the Continental Congress, 34 Volumes. This invaluable collection
of documents tells what took place in Philadelphia as the United States
was being birthed.
of the House of Burgesses in Virginia (1774) This resolution was
by similar resolutions made in the Puritan Revolution of 1641; the
resolved to commit their crisis to prayer and fasting.
on Civil Liberty, Nathaniel Niles (1774) An example of how
stoked the revolutionary spirit.
Olive Branch Petition (1774). This document is a last-ditch attempt
to mend the tears between Britain and America. But George III never
Plan for the Union of Great Britain and the Colonies, Joseph
Suffolk Resolves, Joseph Warren (1774)
Wheatley to Samson Occam (1774)
of Henry Laurens, President of the Continental Congress
Most Frequently Cited by the Founders
Adams Discusses the Historic Sources Which Provided the Intellectual
of American Political Theory
Documents of the
Founding Fathers, This is the most comprehensive site online
featuring the writings of the founding fathers.
Works of Benjamin Franklin
Works of Sam Adams
Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity (1725), A little known
work in which Franklin made a metaphysical argument for predestination
and against free-will. Franklin concluded that all things are
good, because God is in total control and God is good.
Writings of Benjamin Franklin, The most complete site containing
Advice Concerning His Friend's Sexual Affairs (1745), Illustrating
a side of Franklin's character which is seldom exposed.
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1733)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1734)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1735)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1736)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1737)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1738)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1739)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1740)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1741)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1742)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1743)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1744)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1745)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1746)
Benjamin: Poor Richard (1747)
Benjamin: Poor Richard Improved (1748)
Benjamin: Poor Richard Improved (1752)
and Suppositions Towards Forming a New Hypothesis for Explaining the
Phenomena of Thunder Gusts, (1749) The insights which led to
famous Kite experimentation, which, in turn, gave Franklin his
reputation which mattered greatly as the U.S. was being birthed.
on the Increase of Mankind (1751)
of Benjamin Franklin
Plan for a Union (1754) Ben Franklin's first attempt to Unite the
Plan for Colonial Union, Benjamin Franklin (1754) Arguments in
of the Albany Plan of Union, which was rejected as too democratic.
Franklin, How I Became a Printer in Philadelphia
Motion for Prayer at the Constitutional Convention
Advice to Thomas Paine Regarding the Age of Reason, In this letter,
Franklin advises Paine to burn his manuscript of the Age of Reason,
because it undermines religious ideals.
Tentative Approval of the Constitution
last Letter to Ezra Stiles, Detailing Franklin's religious opinions
Works of George Washington
of Samuel Adams One of the most thorough internet sites of its kind
including numerous letters and newspaper articles.
Works of John Adams
- Papers of
(Library of Congress). This is the most comprehensive source on the web
for documents authored by George Washington.
for Civility (1744)
to State Governments
Orders, July 2, 1776
to John Hancock, September 24, 1776
- The Battle
about George Washington Praying at Valley Forge, 1778
to the Members of the Volunteer Association and Other Inhabitants...
, December 2, 1783
to George Chapman, December 15, 1784 (On importance of education)
to Robert Morris, April 12, 1786 (On the abolition of slavery)
to the President of the Continental Congress, September 17, 1787
Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789
to the United Baptist Churches in Virginia, May 10, 1789
from Drafts of the First Inaugural Address (1789)
Annual Message, January 8, 1790 (Order of business for a young
of Washington's Diaries (1790)
to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, August, 1790 (On what is a
and good government)
of Neutrality, 1793
of George Washington 30 September-19 October 1794
to the Vice President, November 15, 1794
to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, January 28, 1795
(On education and establishment of a university)
Address, September 19, 1796 (Public opinion should be enlightened)
of George Washington (Yale Library)
Will And Testament of George Washington (1799)
Obituaries of George Washington
Adopted Daughter Discusses Washington's Religious Character Nelly
lived with the Washingtons at Mt. Vernon for twenty years (1779 until
As a daily observer of his life, she was qualified perhaps more than
other to assess George Washington's religion (even perhaps more than
himself, who was reluctant to speak about his own religious affections).
Weems' Biography of George Washington (1800), the classic source
for most of the greatest stories about George Washington, including the
"cherry tree" story.
Works of Thomas Jefferson
of John Adams, excerpts illustrating Adams' sentiments regarding
of Conscience Traced to Back Calvin's Geneva (1776)
to James Sullivan, May 26, 1776 (On women and voting rights)
to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776 (On reason, honor, and love of
between John and Abigail Adams, March-April 1776 (On nature and
on Davila--XV," 1776 (Contrast of natural equality and inequalities)
on Government", 1776 (On republican government)
Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law
of the American Constitutions, An important excerpt in which Adams
recommends various writings of Protestant political theorists
to the Defence of the Constitutions, 1787 (On the good effects of
Inaugural Address (1797)
Constitution is Inadequate to Govern Atheists, 1798
to the Senate on the Death of George Washington, December 23, 1799
to Benjamin Rush and Samuel Miller, illustrating Adams' hatred for
Thomas Paine and his admiration for Calvinists.
Independence Achieved Upon the Principles of Christianity (1813)
to Evans, June 8, 1819 (The founding's opposition to slavery)
to H. Niles, February 13, 1818 (On the Revolution as a religious
of ideas and principles)
to Timothy Pickering, August 6, 1822. Detailing Adams' recollection
of the production of the Declaration of Independence. Adams states here
that there is not an idea in the Declaration which had not been
in Congress for two years before. According to Adams, the substance of
the Declaration is contained in the in the Declaration
of Colonial Rights of the Continental Congress, and the essence of
it is contained in The
Rights of the Colonists, written before the first Congress met, by
of John Adams, This is the best source of material written by John
Adams that is available on the web.
Annual and Special messages to Congress
Messages to Congress
Works of James Madison
The Works of Thomas Paine
American Revolution Military Documents
Convention of 1787, James Madison. These are the proceedings of the
Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia, an essential guide to
the intent of the Framers.
- Works of James
Madison, Probably the best such source available online at this
First Inaugural (1809)
Second Inaugural (1813)
Federalist Papers, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay
(1787-88) Arguments for
of the proposed Constitution.
and Remonstrance (Virginia, 1785)
speech proposing the Bill of Rights, June 8, 1789
(>1817), detailing Madison's views of the importance of no religious
to F.L. Schaeffer (1821) in which Madison credits Luther with
the way for the appropriate distinction between church and state.
Letters of the
Founding Fathers, The most comprehensive source for letters written
by the members of the Continental Congress.
of the Midnight Ride, Paul Revere (1775)
Royal Proclamation of Rebellion (1775)
Accounts of Revolutionary War Battles
of the American Revolution
of the American Revolution
Battle of Bunker Hill, Major-General Sir John Burgoyne to Lord
Battle of Bunker Hill, Lieutenant J. Waller, First Royal Marine
to His Brother, Camp of Charlestown Heights, 22 June 1775
- The Battle
, George Washington (1776)
Recruiting Service, Captain Alexander Graydon, 1776
Life, Captain Georg Pausch, 8 September 1776
Vail's Journal (1775-1782)
Hale's Capture (1776)
, Hessian Account (1777)
, Major-General Burgoyne to his nieces, Albany, 20 October 1777
at Brandywine, Captain Ferguson, 70th Foot, September 1777
the Diary of a Surgeon at Valley Forge, Albigence Waldo (1777)
Valley Forge (1778)
with France (1778)
of General Nathaniel Greene
Treaty of Amity and Commerce February 6, 1778
on Hessian Troops, Lieutenant W. Hale, Philadelphia, 23 March 1778
Court House, Lieutenant Hale, Neversunk, 4 July 1778
with the Delawares (1778)
Treason and other Spy Documents (1780)
Headquarters, Francois Jean, Marquis de Chastellux, 1780
, Saturday, February 17, 1781
Surrender of Cornwalis (1781)
the Diary of Ebenezer Denny (1781) describing the surrender of
Between the King and the Thirteen United States of North America,
at Versailles July 16, 1782
Articles of Peace, U.S. and Great Britain, 30 November 1782
for Suspension of Arms and Cessation of Hostilities, Signed at
January 20, 1783
Jones; Naval Hero
of Paris (1783)
III Laments the Loss of the Colonies
Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War hero and Deist.
Farmer Refuted, Alexander Hamilton (1775). In this defense of the
cause in response to an Anglican minister's criticism of the
Hamilton states that laws, rights, and political principles are all
in the existence and law of God.
Criticizing Arminians (1775) A letter from the author of "Amazing
claiming that repentance is the not key to atonement.
Leonard's Letter of January 9, 1775
Defensive War in
a Just Cause Sinless, David Jones (1775). Sermon justifying the
on Conciliation with America, Edmund Burke, March 22, 1775; Burke
the character of the American colonists and links their commitment to
to their Protestantism.
by Vice, and Recovered by Righteousness, Samuel Langdon, May 31,
This sermon preached a year before Jefferson wrote his declaration,
this phrase: "By the law of nature, any body of people, destitute of
and government, may form themselves into a civil society, according to
their best prudence, and so provide for their common safety and
Passive Obedience, and Nonresistance, Jonathan Boucher (1775)
Calm Address To Our American Colonies, John Wesley (1775)
Vine, Jacob Duche (1775)
Charlotte Town Resolves (1775) Resolutions of Presbyterians of
Me Liberty or Give Me Death, Patrick Henry (1775). Famous oration
motivated Southerners to join in the battle already taking place in New
the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms, Jefferson and
July 6, 1775. This document was inspired by the Puritan Declaration of
August, 1642, "Declaration
of the Lords and Commons to Justify Their Taking Up Arms,"
in John Rushworth, ed., Historical Collections of Private Passages
State, Weighty Matters in Law, Remarkable Proceedings in Five
(1680-1722),vol. 4, pp. 761-768.
Doodle The anthem of the Continental Army
Flight into the Wilderness, Samuel Sherwood, January 17, 1776; A
which labels British tyranny Satanic.
Virginia Declaration of Rights, George Mason (1776) Unquestionably
a document which Jefferson had in mind when writing the Declaration of
of the Declaration of Independence (1776) Documents which prove
Jefferson modeled the Declaration largely upon the 1689
Declaration of Rights .
Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men, John Witherspoon,
May 1776. This sermon was preached by a member of the Second
Congress during the period in which the members were deciding upon
of Independence (1776) According to recent scholarship,
this document was modeled after the Dutch Calvinist Declaration of
In other words, this statement of basic principles was simply a
of what Protestant Political theorists and preachers had been saying
on the Mood at the time of the Signing, Benjamin Rush
Constitutions A collection of the constitutions of each colony.
Clauses of State Constitutions Demonstrating that most states had
On the Right to
Rebel against Governors, Samuel West (1776)
Interest of America Impartially Stated, Charles Inglis (1776). A
of an American loyal to the King.
of Nations, Adam Smith (1776). The manual for capitalism, the
backbone of the United States. Jefferson said this was the best book of
of the Continental Congress
Upon Tyrants, Jacob Cushing, April 20, 1778; a sermon on the three
year anniversary of the war.
Sermon, Phillips Payson (1778)
(1779) A sermon vindicating the activity of General George Washington.
Sermon on the Day of the Commencement of the Constitution, Samuel
Articles of Confederation The first Constitution of the United
Origins and Progress of the American Revolution Peter Oliver
Oliver, a tory, names the persons he feels are most responsible for the
rebellion. James Otis and the Calvinist clergy ("black regiment") were
the chief culprits.
Articles of Confederation (1781)
Coeptis (1782), the religious motto for the U.S.A. that was
approved by the founding fathers.
From an American Farmer, Crevecour (1782)
on Money, John Witherspoon, Presbyterian theologian and president
of American Policy, Noah Webster (1785)
and Remonstrance, James Madison (1785). Championing the principal
of 1785 (Jefferson). Detailing the manner in which the Northwest
shall be partitioned and sold.
Annapolis Convention (1786), prelude to the Constitutional
Papers 1-85, Madison, Jay, and Hamilton's defense of Federalism
Debates in the
Federal Convention of 1787, James Madison. These are the
of the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia, an essential
to interpreting the intent of the Framers.
Affiliations of the Framers of the Constitution, contrary to the
this chart shows that only 3 out of 55 of the framers classified
Records of the
Constitutional Convention (Farrand's Records)
Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal
Ordinance (1787) Detailing the manner in which new states may be
to the United States.
in the First Federal Congress Regarding A Religious Amendment to the
(1789), edited by Jim Allison. An important source for understanding
intention of the framers concerning religious liberty. Mr. Allison has
collected together the debates in the House and the Senate on this most
of Rights and the Amendments to The Constitution (1791) The
to the Anti-Federalists to win their acceptance of the Constitution.
Laws and Judicial Precedents in Early America
the First Sixteen Federal Congresses
Trade and the Middle Passage, Alexander Falconbridge (1788)
Life of Olaudah Equiano, A Slave's Autobiography (1789)
Virginia Chronicle, John Leland (1790). Champion of religious
Friend and influence upon James Madison.
Dissenting from the Episcopal Church, John Leland (1790)
the Natural Rights of Individuals, James Wilson (1790-91)
the Equality of the Sexes, Judith Sargent Murray (1790)
The Funeral of
Arminianism, William Huntington (1791)
Slave Law of 1793
Treaty with a number of Indian Tribes (1795)
Concerning Political Justice, William Godwin (1793) Part of
library of political works.
of Tripoli (1795)
Mode of Education Proper in a Republic (1798), Benjamin Rush,
of the Declaration of Independence, emphasizing the religious
and goal of all education.
Discourses On The General First Principles of Deism (1798), Samuel
E. McCorkle, D. D. The biggest intellectual controversy of the 1790's
called the "deist controversy." On the one side were the followers of
Paine, on the other side were the orthodox Christians as represented
by the Rev. McCorkle.
of George Washington
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