We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

American Political Writing During the Founding Era

Two Volume Paperback Set

Charles Hyneman

Publication Year: 2012

These volumes provide a selection of seventy-six essays, pamphlets, speeches, and letters to newspapers written between 1760 and 1805 by American political and religious leaders. Many are obscure pieces that were previously available only in larger research libraries. But all illuminate the founding of the American republic and are essential reading for students and teachers of American political thought. The second volume includes an annotated bibliography of five hundred additional items for future reference.

The subjects covered in this rich assortment of primary material range from constitutionalism, representation, and republicanism to freedom of the press, religious liberty, and slavery. Among the more noteworthy items reprinted, all in their entirety, are Stephen Hopkins, "The Rights of the Colonies Examined" (1764); Richard Bland, "An Inquiry into the Rights of the British Colonies" (1766); John Adams, "Thoughts on Government" (1776); Theophilus Parsons, "The Essex Result" (1778); James Madison, "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments" (1785); James Kent, "An Introductory Lecture to a Course of Law Lectures" (1794); Noah Webster, "An Oration on the Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence" (1802); and James Wilson, "On Municipal Law" (1804).

Charles S. Hyneman was Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Indiana University before his death in 1984. He was a past president of the American Political Science Association.

Donald S. Lutz is Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston.

Published by: Liberty Fund


pdf iconDownload PDF (754.0 KB)
pp. 1-3

Front Matter

pdf iconDownload PDF (672.0 KB)
pp. 4-5

Table of Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. v-x

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. xi-xvi

The political writing of the founding era is tremendous in volume. The books, pamphlets, and letters to newspapers written in the last quarter of the eighteenth century that would repay careful reading by students and teachers of American political thought would fill a few dozen volumes the size of the two that this comment introduces. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (763.4 KB)
pp. xvii-xviii

This compilation of the best writing of the founding fathers received the warm support of William J. Baroody, Sr., from its inception until his death, and that relationship continued when William J. Baroody, Jr., succeeded his father as President of American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research . ...

Volume I

pdf iconDownload PDF (538.4 KB)
pp. 1-2

read more

1. Abraham Williams, An Election Sermon

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.1 MB)
pp. 3-18

Independent and audacious enough while a student at Harvard to be known in some ministerial groups as "the Grand Heretick Williams," Abraham chose to pursue a course of caution and reasonableness after his selection for a Congregationalist pulpit in Sandwich, near Boston. ...

read more

2. T.Q. and J., [Untitled]

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.7 MB)
pp. 19-32

Contrary to our broader understanding today, the doctrine of "separation of powers" was originally understood essentially as a prohibition on multiple office holding. These three letters nicely illustrate this and discuss the reasons for the prohibition as well as the possible limits to the prohibition. ...

read more

3. U., [Untitled]

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 33-37

The author of this letter to the editor, writing only under the name of U., is apparently responding to an altercation in the Massachusetts legislature. Despite the obvious depth of feeling, the author places the incident in a broad theoretical context that reveals much about the grounds of political discourse at the time. ...

read more

4. [Anonymous], [Untitled]

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.0 MB)
pp. 38-41

The importance of public virtue for a self-governing people, and the importance of religion for public virtue, were constant themes during the founding era. This short piece, published in the September 17, 1764 issue of the Boston Gazette, is representative of many similar essays to be found in newspapers throughout the founding era. ...

read more

5. Philo Publicus, [Untitled]

pdf iconDownload PDF (875.3 KB)
pp. 42-44

Frugality was a central virtue for the Puritans, and it was esteemed throughout New England as one of the pristine American virtues setting them apart from the corrupt, venal, and extravagent English in the mother country. The anonymous author of this short essay stakes out a position frequently reiterated in American newspapers during the founding era. ...

read more

6. Stephen Hopkins, The Rights of Colonies Examined

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.3 MB)
pp. 45-61

Stephen Hopkins wrote this pamphlet, with the approval of the Rhode Island legislature, while he was governor of the state. Hopkins later served in the First and Second Continental Congresses, signed the Declaration of Independence, and helped write the Articles of Confederation. ...

read more

7. Aequus, From the Craftsman

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 62-66

This piece appeared in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Newsletter on March 6, 1766. Supposedly reprinted from a London newspaper, it was either written by an American living in London, or else the attribution to an anonymous London author was made for propaganda purposes, and it was really written by someone in Boston. ...

read more

8. Richard Bland, An Inquiry into the Rights of the British Colonies

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.8 MB)
pp. 67-87

Born in Virginia, Richard Bland graduated from William and Mary College and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1742 until 1775. Always a cautious politician, and somewhat conservative in bent, Bland was nevertheless consistently sent by his constituents to represent them in any revolutionary convention. ...

read more

9. Britannus Americanus, [Untitled]

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.0 MB)
pp. 88-91

Published only a week after that by Richard Bland in Virginia, this brief essay captures almost all of the same essential points in a position that was to become full-blown ten years later and enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as part of the justification for breaking with England. ...

read more

10. The Tribune, No. xvii

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 92-96

Few Americans today realize that the revolutionary war was fought as much to preserve American virtue as it was to secure economic independence. Americans, as well as Europeans, tended to view Americans as embodying the sturdy traits of the traditional English yeomen—frugality, industriousness, temperance, simplicity, openness, and virility. ...

read more

11. [Silas Downer] A Son of Liberty, A Discourse at the Dedication of the Tree of Liberty

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.4 MB)
pp. 97-108

After graduating from Harvard, Downer settled in Providence, Rhode Island, where he united minor political appointments with small business ventures to launch a career that eventually won him considerable repute as a lawyer. Politics seems to have been too attractive, however, to permit any great success in accumulating wealth. ...

read more

12. Daniel Shute, An Election Sermon

pdf iconDownload PDF (4.9 MB)
pp. 109-136

Harvard graduate and Congregationalist minister in Hingham on the east coast of Massachusetts, Daniel Shute took an active interest in colonial grievances against British policy but appears on the whole to have been a moderate in his views on the necessity for independence. He is said to have "stood aside and watched the Revolution run its course," ...

read more

13. [John Perkins] A Well-Wisher To Mankind, Theory of Agency: Or, An Essay on the Nature. Source and Extent of Moral Freedom

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.1 MB)
pp. 137-157

Perkins was a physician of Lynn, Massachusetts, who authored a number of pamphlets on earthquakes, comets, and other natural phenomena. This present essay is the only instance where he is known to have taken on political matters in print. Americans during the founding era frequently had a deeper philosophical or theological basis ...

read more

14. John Tucker, An Election Sermon

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 158-174

English colonists in America began living under local government based upon the consent of the majority before John Locke was born, and by the time he wrote his Second Treatise they had evolved most of the institutions and practices that Locke's theory implied. ...

read more

15. The Preceptor, Vol. II. Social Duties of the Political Kind

pdf iconDownload PDF (834.3 KB)
pp. 175-182

Originally published in the May 21, 1772 issue of the Massachusetts Spy (Boston) , this essay proceeds efficiently in laying out the basic principles of the American Whig perspective. Of special interest is the emphasis on communitarian rather than individualistic principles, and the articulation of the "politics of deference" commonly held during the colonial era, ...

read more

16. A Constant Customer, Extract of a Letter from a Gentleman in the Country to His Friend

pdf iconDownload PDF (569.0 KB)
pp. 183-184

This short piece, showing a resonance with the theory in longer essays on the same subject, is typical of much found in the newspapers of the era. It appeared in the Massachusetts Spy on February 18, 1773 . ...

read more

17. Simeon Howard, A Sermon Preached to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in Boston

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.6 MB)
pp. 185-208

Born in Massachusetts and educated at Harvard, he was regarded as only moderately bright among his classmates, bur later in life Simeon Howard was said by some of his peers in the ministry to be "one of the ablest men New England ever produced." For reasons of health he chose Nova Scotia for his first preaching assignment ...

read more

18. [Daniel Leonard] Massachusettensis, To All Nations of Men

pdf iconDownload PDF (852.3 KB)
pp. 209-216

The several newspaper essays signed "Massachusettensis" are attributed without dispute to Daniel Leonard, a prominent Massachusetts lawyer who divided his time between the county of his birth (Bristol, adjoining Rhode Island) and Boston. Leonard was the son of well-to-do parents, attended Harvard College, ...

read more

19. [Benjamin Rush] A Pennsylvanian, An Address to the Inhabitants of the British Settlements in America Upon Slave-Keeping,

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 217-230

Rush was born on a farm in Pennsylvania, orphaned at age five, but supplied with a good education, including graduation from the college that later became Princeton University. He chose medicine as a career and after doing his apprenticeship in Philadelphia was able to study for three years in Edinburgh, London, and Paris. ...

read more

20. Continental Congress, Appeal to the Inhabitants of Quebec

pdf iconDownload PDF (897.4 KB)
pp. 231-239

As relations between Britain and her American colonies began to deteriorate, the Continental Congress assembled to represent and coordinate the efforts of the Americans, who hoped to forge in North America a solid opposition to the mother country. This appeal, written on October 26, 1774, failed to interest the Canadians, ...

read more

21. Thomas Bradbury, The Ass: or, the Serpent, A Comparison Between the Tribes of Issachar and Dan, in Their Regard for Civil Liberty,

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 240-256

Originally published in London in 1712 and based on a sermon given by the Reverend Bradbury on November 5 of that year, this essay was republished in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1774 as being especially appropriate to the troubles then facing the colonies. Thomas Bradbury wrote a number of essays celebrating liberty and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, ...

read more

22. Nathaniel Niles, Two Discourses on Liberty

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 257-276

Niles was something of a universal man in the pattern of Benjamin Franklin but without matching Franklin's productivity or acquiring his fame. Achieving little success with several inventions in his father-in-law's Connecticut factory, he headed a party that settled new land along the Connecticut River, halfway to the north end of Vermont. ...

read more

23. Monitor, To the New Appointed Councellors, of the Province of Massachusetts-Bay

pdf iconDownload PDF (674.3 KB)
pp. 277-280

During the colonial era there had been a struggle between the crown-appointed governors and the popularly elected legislatures in the colonies. Gradually the elected representatives had won the upper hand, but the governors continued to fight back. One tool they had was to appoint prominent colonists to a privy council ...

read more

24. Gad Hitchcock, An Election Sermon

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 281-304

Born in western Massachusetts and educated for the ministry at Harvard, Gad Hitchcock must have been near-perfectly designed for the course in life that he pursued. Called to serve as the first pastor of a newly organized Congregational church in Pembroke, on the outskirts of Boston, ...

read more

25. Levi Hart, Liberty Described and Recommended: in a Sermon Preached to the Corporation of Freemen in Farmington

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 305-317

Levi Hart occupied the pulpit of a Congregational church in Preston, Connecticut, for forty-six years. He appears to have commanded a high regard for eloquence and good judgment, for an unusual number of his sermons were printed for wider distribution by the members of his congregation; however, few of them dealt with political subjects. ...

read more

26. Anonymous, An English Patriot's Creed, Anno Domini, 1775

pdf iconDownload PDF (609.7 KB)
pp. 318-320

Newspapers contained almost every literary form imaginable, and in this instance a legalistic political statement is put in a form similar to the Apostles' Creed. It appeared in the Massachusetts Spy on January 19, 1776. Written the previous year when many colonists were still taking pains to show their continued loyalty as Englishmen, ...

read more

27. [Anonymous], The Alarm: or, an Address to the People of Pennsylvania on the Late Resolve of Congress

pdf iconDownload PDF (828.6 KB)
pp. 321-327

The Americans of the founding era were a highly politicized people. Even in the midst of their most serious crisis, every action was subject to debate. The Continental Congress had passed a resolution for the separate colonies to write new constitutions commensurate with their independent statehood. ...

read more

28. [Carter Braxton] A Native of This Colony, An Address to the Convention of the Colony and Ancient Dominion of Virginia on the Subject of Government in General, and Recommending a Particular Form to Their Attention

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.0 MB)
pp. 328-339

Braxton was born in Virginia and attended the College of William and Mary. His father was a well-to-do planter and sometime member of the House of Burgesses. Carter Braxton himself served in the House of Burgesses from 1761 to 1775 where he was a leader of the conservative tidewater faction. ...

read more

29. Demophilus [George Bryan?], The Genuine Principles of the Ancient Saxon, or English[,] Constitution

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 340-367

American colonists had always viewed themselves as more virtuous, more manly, than their fellow Englishmen back home, and they also viewed themselves as being freer because they possessed to a greater degree the pristine English political institutions. Put in terms of the day, Americans often viewed themselves as carrying on the Saxon yoeman tradition of self-rule by rough equals. ...

read more

30. [Anonymous], Four Letters on Interesting Subjects

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 368-389

The author of these essays was probably a lawyer—or at least had considerable knowledge of legal matters—was definitely a radical republican inclined toward the use of direct consent by the people as much as possible, and was also an advanced thinker. The third and fourth letters are especially interesting for their grasp of modern constitutional theory. ...

read more

31. [Anonymous], The People the Best Governors: Or a Plan of Government Founded on the just Principles of Natural Freedom

pdf iconDownload PDF (1003.5 KB)
pp. 390-400

While most Americans think of the Revolution and the Declaration of Independence when they see the date 1776, that year was equally important for the state constitutions written. During the course of the war a debate of astonishing diversity and sophistication took place concerning the best form of government and how to enshrine it in the constitution. ...

read more

32. John Adams, Thoughts on Government

pdf iconDownload PDF (870.2 KB)
pp. 401-409

Revolutionary leader par excellence, Adams was born in Braintree, on the outskirts of Boston, where the first of his line had settled nearly a hundred years before. Educated at Harvard, he studied and practiced law in Braintree and Boston until public life pulled him away. ...

read more

33. Samuel West, On the Right to Rebel Against Governors

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.3 MB)
pp. 410-448

Samuel West was another of New England's revered and highly influential clergymen. After completing his education at Harvard and a five-year turn at teaching, West took over the Congregational pulpit at Dartmouth, Massachusetts (later called New Bedford), and retained that post until death approached. ...

read more

34. Worcestriensis, Number IV

pdf iconDownload PDF (749.7 KB)
pp. 449-454

Contrary to our working principle today, during the eighteenth century the notion of separation of Church and State did not mean a prohibition on their mutual support, but simply that there should not be one denomination established as the official religion of the state. ...

read more

35. [Anonymous] and William Whiting, Berkshire's Grievances (Statement of Berkshire County Representatives, and Address to the Inhabitants of Berkshire)

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.6 MB)
pp. 455-479

One consequence of the spreading demand for independence from England was the insistence of many people in western Massachusetts that the courts no longer had jurisdiction over them. This was the case, they felt, because the courts derived their existence and authority from British law, and the judges held their appointments from a governor who had been appointed by the Crown. ...

read more

36. [Theophilus Parsons], The Essex Result

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.4 MB)
pp. 480-522

In 1777 the Massachusetts General Court (the state's legislative body) decided that in its next session it should draw up a constitution for the state, which document should then be submitted to the people for approval or disapproval in their town meetings. Accordingly, the people of the state were advised to consider suitability for making a constitution in their choice of legislators in the coming election. ...

read more

37. Phillips Payson, A Sermon

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 523-538

Samuel Phillips Payson was a Congregationalist minister at Chelsea, Massachusetts. A graduate of Harvard, a member of the American Academy of Sciences, and a scholar in natural philosophy and astronomy, the Reverend Mr. Payson was also renowned for leading a group of irregulars in combat during the Revolution. ...

read more

38. Zabdiel Adams, An Election Sermon

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 539-564

Zabdiel Adams was a first cousin of John Adams, the second president of the United States, and, like the latter, a second or third cousin of Samuel Adams, revolutionary leader who was three times elected governor of Massachusetts. (John, Samuel, and Zabdiel had a great-grandfather in common.) ...

read more

39. [Anonymous], Rudiments of Law and Government Deduced from the Law of Nature

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.2 MB)
pp. 565-605

Between 1776 and 1789 there was a tremendous outpouring of essays on constitutionalism, often with specific designs for state constitutions attached. This is one of the better efforts, both in terms of the breadth of discussion and in terms of the careful thinking and precise expression. ...

read more

40. [Thomas Tudor Tucker] Philodemus, Conciliatory Hints, Attempting, by a Fair State of Matters, to Remove Party Prejudice

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.6 MB)
pp. 606-630

Born in Port Royal, Bermuda, Tucker studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, practiced medicine in South Carolina, and served as a surgeon in the revolutionary war. His political career included service in the Continental Congress in 1787 and 1788, two terms in the United States House of Representatives (1789-1793), ...

read more

41. [James Madison Et. Al.], Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

pdf iconDownload PDF (834.4 KB)
pp. 631-637

Fortunately, James Madison needs little introduction. Like those of John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, his contributions to the founding of the American Republic were prodigious. Best known for his notes on the debates in the Philadelphia Convention and for joint authorship of The Federalist, ...

read more

42. Amicus Republicae, Address to the Public. Containing Some Remarks on the Present Political State of the American Republicks, etc.,

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 638-655

Published anonymously in Exeter, New Hampshire, as a response both to growing civil unrest and to attacks on the state constitutions, this essay defends the state constitutions from both radicals and Federalists. Admitting the need for some alterations in state political systems, the author advises against complacency on the one hand, ...

read more

43. Dean Swift, Causes of a Country's Growing Rich and Flourishing

pdf iconDownload PDF (581.2 KB)
pp. 656-657

A content analysis by Richard Merrit showed that around 1765 the colonists began referring to themselves in the newspapers more frequently as Americans than as Englishmen. A content analysis of the press in the 1780s would undoubtedly show the rise of Federalist commercial influence. ...

read more

44. Joseph Lathrop, A Miscellaneous Collection of Original Pieces (Selections)

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 658-674

The first Lathrop arrived at Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634, but the family moved west, and Joseph was born in Norwich, Connecticut. Immediately after graduating from Yale he was ordained as pastor of the Congregational Church in West Springfield, Massachusetts, a post that he held for more than sixty years. ...

read more

45. Benjamin Rush, A Plan for the Establishment of Public Schools and the Diffusion of Knowledge in Pennsylvania; to Which Are Added, Thoughts upon the Mode of Education, Proper in a Republic

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 675-692

The compleat revolutionary, Benjamin Rush divided his time between his medical practice and thinking about how the American revolution could be brought to a complete and permanent conclusion. Far from viewing the struggle as simply independence from Britain, Rush hoped to foster the social conditions appropriate to, and supportive of, republican government. ...

read more

46. Theophrastus, A Short History of the Trial by Jury

pdf iconDownload PDF (781.6 KB)
pp. 693-698

"The most usual method of trial among the Saxons, was by juries, as at this day, that is, by twelve of the pares curia. The invention of these is attributed by the English lawyers to Alfred, and greatly do they exult over the laws of other countries, in the excellency of this method; but had they been acquainted with the ancient laws of the continent, ...

read more

47. The Worcester Speculator, No. VI

pdf iconDownload PDF (634.2 KB)
pp. 699-701

Written by a Federalist in Massachusetts, most of the sentiments contained in this short piece could be supported by the Whigs, or Anti-Federalists, as well. Matching the government to the virtues of the people, enhancing public virtue through education made widely available-these are ideas generally accepted by Americans of all persuasions. ...

read more

48. Bostonians, Serious Questions Proposed to All Friends to The Rights of Mankind, With Suitable Answers

pdf iconDownload PDF (927.9 KB)
pp. 702-704

The catechism-like question and answer format of this piece efficiently conveys the American Whig view of a proper constitution. Published as an implied rebuke to the proposed Federal Constitution in the November 19, 1787 Boston Gazette, the piece does effectively summarize some of the basic changes in view on constitutions ...

Volume II

pdf iconDownload PDF (525.8 KB)
pp. xi-xii

read more

49. An Elector, To the Free Electors of This Town

pdf iconDownload PDF (584.2 KB)
pp. 705-706

The theory of republican government took for granted a number of institutions and practices rarely written about, yet logical and important consequences of that theory. One of these was the view that electioneering was a corrupt practice. The virtuous man was to run for office sitting quietly in his house after offering himself. ...

read more

50. Benjamin Franklin, An Account of the Supremest Court of Judicature in Pennsylvania, viz., The Court of the Press

pdf iconDownload PDF (688.2 KB)
pp. 707-710

Franklin had multiple careers as printer, sage of wide renown (through Poor Richard's Almanac), civic leader, scientist and inventor, superb representative of America in Europe, and towering figure in conventions that produced written constitutions for the state of Pennsylvania and the United States of America. ...

read more

51. [Anonymous], Ambition

pdf iconDownload PDF (627.8 KB)
pp. 711-713

Americans during the founding era held many assumptions that greatly affected their political thinking but were rarely discussed in print. This essay on political economy illustrates the point. It appeared in the City Gazette and Daily Advertiser of Charleston, South Carolina, on June 6, 1789 . ...

read more

52. Benevolus, Poverty

pdf iconDownload PDF (707.3 KB)
pp. 714-718

This selection appeared in the City Gazette and Daily Advertiser (Charleston, South Carolina) on December 8, 1789. It is couched in a flowery, labored style often used in newspaper pieces, but a careful reading shows that under the quasi-metaphors there is a serious discussion on the effects of poverty. ...

read more

53. David Ramsay, The History of the American Revolution (Selections)

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.2 MB)
pp. 719-755

David Ramsay was born in eastern Pennsylvania, was educated at the New Jersey College, which became Princeton University, studied medicine in Philadelphia's newly launched college of medicine, and shortly after took off to Charleston, South Carolina, to win fame and fortune. ...

read more

54. Robert Coram, Political Inquiries, to which is Added A Plan for the Establishment of Schools Throughout the United States

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.1 MB)
pp. 756-811

A great deal was written about education for youth in the founding era. Making education available to a broad public was seen as critical to preparation for citizenship and the development of virtues necessary for continued support of republican government. There was no shortage of plans for national or statewide systems, ...

read more

55. Joel Barlow, A Letter to the National Convention of France on the Defects in the Constitution of 1791

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.8 MB)
pp. 812-838

Born in Redding, Connecticut, and educated at Yale, Barlow went on to a successful double career in letters and diplomacy. His literary efforts include one epic, The Columbiad, and a number of famous lighter pieces such as The Hasty Pudding. Barlow was also a perceptive theoretical analyst of politics. ...

read more

56. Timothy Stone, Election Sermon

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 839-857

In this sermon before the Connecticut governor and legislature, Timothy Stone, Congregationalist minister from Lebanon, Connecticut, appeals to the need for true community if liberty is to survive. The result is a good summary of what Americans during the founding era felt important for the continued success of their experiment in self-government, ...

read more

57. David Rice, Slavery Inconsistent With Justice and Good Policy

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 858-883

Born and reared in rural Virginia, David Rice was attracted to the Presbyterian Church while a youth, studied theology, and took up a career of evangelical preaching and organization for the Presbyterian Church, first in Virginia and North Carolina and later in Kentucky. He made the provision of low-cost or free education an important aspect of his mission ...

read more

58. Theodore Dwight, An Oration, Spoken Before the Connecticut Society, for the Promotion of Freedom and the Relief of Persons Unlawfully Holden in Bondage

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 884-899

Dwight was educated at Yale University and later studied law. He earned his living mainly in the practice of law in Hartford, Connecticut, where he was a frequent contributor to newspapers and other journals, writing principally on political subjects. Public discussion of the conditions and consequences of slavery had become a common occurrence ...

read more

59. [Timothy Ford] Americanus, The Constitutionalist: Or, An Inquiry How Far It Is Expedient and Proper to Alter the Constitution of South Carolina,

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.1 MB)
pp. 900-970

Born and raised in New Jersey, Ford graduated from Princeton and studied law in New York. Thereafter he practiced law in Charleston, South Carolina, where he was prominent in public life and civic affairs. Between September 29 and November 10, 1794, Ford published ten essays in Charleston's City Gazette and Daily Advertiser under the name Americanus. ...

read more

60. James Kent, An Introductory Lecture to a Course of Law Lectures

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 936-949

Son of a successful lawyer on the Connecticut-New York border, James was from an early age coached for entry to Yale University. The careful selection of preparatory schools and special tutors paid off. Interrupted by military maneuvers in his freshman year at Yale, he fell upon the four volumes of Blackstone's Commentaries and read them from end to end. ...

read more

61. Samuel Williams, The Natural and Civil History of Vermont (Chapters Xlll , XIV, and XV)

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 950-970

In addition to sermons, pamphlets, and newspaper essays, a surprising number of books on politics, some of them multi-volume treatises, were published during the founding era. The present selection is an example. Since it is impossible to print here the four hundred pages and more that Williams wrote, ...

read more

62. [John Leland] Jack Nips, The Yankee Spy

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 971-989

John Leland could point to ancestors who had been in North America a full century before his birth. At the age of eighteen, having only the education provided in elementary schools, he was licensed as a Baptist preacher. His first pastorates were in Virginia where he was deeply moved by his observations of slavery. ...

read more

63. Peres [Perez] Fobes, An Election Sermon

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.6 MB)
pp. 990-1013

In a day when Harvard listed its students according to their social rank, as perceived by the Harvard faculty, Perez Fobes was fifth from the bottom in a graduating class of forty-seven. He was born in Massachusetts, served as a chaplain in the Revolutionary Army, and held pastorates in the Congregational Church for some twenty years. ...

read more

64. Justice [Jacob] Rush, The Nature and Importance of an Oath—the Charge to a Jury

pdf iconDownload PDF (900.7 KB)
pp. 1014-1022

Jacob Rush chose to make law his profession rather than to follow in the steps of his elder brother Benjamin, who was destined to become America's first physician to command eminence in the great hospitals of Europe. He also differed from his brother in displaying little disposition to figure in the great debate over grievances with England ...

read more

65. Nathanael Emmons, A Discourse Delivered on the National Fast

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 1023-1041

Born and raised in Connecticut, Emmons studied at Yale, and spent fifty of his years as a Congregational minister in the Massachusetts village of Franklin, near Rhode Island. Widely sought after for instruction in theology and the art of preaching, he had a favorite dictum: "Have something to say; say it. ...

read more

66. Jonathan Maxcy, An Oration

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 1042-1054

Born in Massachusetts a few miles west of the Rhode Island border, Maxcy was educated at nearby Rhode Island College, later called Brown University. Shortly after completing his course of study, he was ordained a Baptist preacher but occupied his pastorate for scarcely a year when, at the age of twenty-four, he was made president of the college from which he had graduated five years before. ...

read more

67. Alexander Addison, Analysis of the Report of the Committee of the Virginia Assembly

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.6 MB)
pp. 1055-1098

Addison, a judge in the Pennsylvania courts for more than a decade, is best remembered today for his compilations of judicial decisions and opinions issued from the Pennsylvania courts over a considerable period of years. As a judge he spoke out vigorously for enforcement of the federal sedition act of 1798. ...

read more

68. Joel Barlow, To His Fellow Citizens of the United States. Letter II: On Certain Political Measures Proposed to Their Consideration,

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 1099-1125

In 1788 a business venture took Barlow to Europe, and there, mainly in France, he remained for nearly twenty years, entranced by the French Revolution and its parallels with American experience in launching a new political system. These observations stirred him to a series of shrewd analyses of the French effort to build a new order. ...

read more

69. An Impartial Citizen, A Dissertation Upon the Constitutional Freedom of the Press

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.5 MB)
pp. 1126-1169

The first years of the nineteenth century witnessed a vituperative dispute between the supporters of Jefferson and the recently ousted Federalists. In certain respects it was a broader continuation of the bitter debate over the Alien and Sedition Acts. Jefferson's opponents attacked him mercilessly in the press ...

read more

70. Jeremiah Atwater, A Sermon

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 1170-1188

Born in New Haven, Jeremiah Atwater graduated from Yale and for five years remained there as a tutor. During that time he was ordained as a minister, but preaching ran second to education for the succeeding twenty years. At the age of twenty-seven he was selected as first president of Middlebury College, ...

read more

71. John Leland, The Connecticut Dissenters' Strong Box: No. I

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 1189-1205

John Leland was identified in connection with Pamphlet No. 62 earlier in this collection. He was preaching from Baptist pulpits in Massachusetts when he wrote this commentary and petition relating to freedom of religion in Connecticut. ...

read more

72. Zephaniah Swift Moore, An Oration on the Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 1206-1219

Born into a family with Massachusetts residence for a hundred years, Moore was moved at the age of eight to a farm in Vermont. Recognized as precocious, he was sent for a brief period to preparatory school and then to Dartmouth College, where he graduated with distinction. ...

read more

73. Noah Webster, An Oration on the Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 1220-1240

Noah Webster, distant kin of the God-like Daniel, was no match for the younger (by twenty-three years) Webster in eloquence or in public acclaim. At the same time, the case can be made that Noah Webster contributed more to the original conceptions of republican government than did the more famous Daniel Webster. ...

read more

74. Samuel Kendal, Religion the Only Sure Basis of Free Government

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 1241-1263

Throughout the founding era clergymen played an important role in American politics, instructing their congregations on the organization of government, indoctrinating them in moral principles and the conditions of justice, and generating a common holding of political theory in the minds of political leaders and passive citizens. ...

read more

75. James Wilson, On Municipal Law

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.1 MB)
pp. 1264-1298

Born in Scotland in 1742, James Wilson came to America in 1766; was a member of the Pennsylvania convention in 1775, as well as the Continental Congress; one of the most influential members of the Constitutional Convention in 1787; and an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court when he died, in 1798 . ...

read more

76. Fisher Ames, The Dangers of American Liberty

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.8 MB)
pp. 1299-1348

Graduate of Harvard University and a lawyer by training and occupation, Ames was elected to represent a district bordering on Boston in the first Congress chosen under the United States Constitution. After serving four terms in the House of Representatives he terminated his legislative service because of ill health . ...

A Selected List of Political Writings By Americans Between 1760 and 1805

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.2 MB)
pp. 1349-1388

A List of Newspapers Examined

pdf iconDownload PDF (691.4 KB)
pp. 1388-1392

Collections of Writing from the Founding Era

pdf iconDownload PDF (591.2 KB)
pp. 1392-1394


pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 1395-1417

E-ISBN-13: 9781614878155
E-ISBN-10: 1614878153
Print-ISBN-13: 9780865970410

Page Count: 1447
Publication Year: 2012