Note: Some texts are buried deep in e-archives. If title link does not work, click source.

[ General Sources ] [ Native Americans ] [ Arctic ] [ Central America ] [ North America ]
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Missions & Colonies

American Colonists' Library

Treasury of links to electronic editions of primary documents pertaining to early American history.

Anne Hutchinson

Well-documented illustrated account of the charismatic woman who was banished by the Massachusetts Bay colony for challenging the religious authority of male Puritan leaders (Wikipedia).

Avalon Project: Colonial Charters

Yale U. Law School posts texts of original charters of all colonies & related documents.

The Bloody Tenet of Persecution: a Plea for Religious Liberty

Philosophical dialog from 1644 work by Roger Williams (archived by the Reformed Reader).

Bradford's History "Of Plimouth Plantation"

Gov. William Bradford's eye-witness account of the religious & political circumstances that led to English separatists' pilgrimage to America in 1620 & settlement of Plymouth colony [Project Gutenberg's e-book of complete 1898 edition].

Cases of Conscience concerning Evil Spirits

Increase Mather's 1693 treatise on possession & witchcraft [posted by U of Virginia].

Divining America: the 17th & 18th centuries

Teacher Serve's curriculum guides to religious issues with focus on Puritanism, the Great Awakening, Witchcraft, religious pluralism, the Church of England, Women & Family, & the American Revolution.

Examination of Anne Hutchinson

Transcript of 1637 heresy trial of charismatic Puritan dissenter [posted by History Muse at Texas Wesleyan U].

Flushing Remonstrance

Progressive 1657 Long Island edict granting religious liberty to Quakers, Jews & Muslims as children of Adam (Channel Thirteen: Dutch NY).

The Hall of Church History: the Puritans

Phil Johnson coordinates web-archives devoted to historically important theologians including Puritan divines, like Cotton Mather. Links to the sources & heirs of Puritan theology.

Jonathan Edwards

Brief biography, select sermons (including "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God ") & other writings of the leading evangelist of the 18th c. Great Awakening [archived by Christian Classics Ethereal Library] .

Maryland Toleration Act

Text of 1649 legislation prescribing penalties for religious offenses in the colony of Maryland.

Model of Christian Charity

Text of John Winthrop's 1630 shipboard sermon to Puritan settlers of Boston (posted by the Winthrop Society).

The Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

1740 sermon by bishop of Oxford regarding the need for missionary work among colonists & native Americans that sparked influx of preachers, especially Methodists & Baptists, in the southern colonies (archived by Bible Hub).

Salem Witch Trials

E-archive of transcripts & documents related to the Massachusetts witchcraft cases of  1648-1706 includes maps, biographies, literary works & George Lincoln Burr's collected narratives (U of Virginia).

Sermons of George Whitefield

Sermons that sparked the Methodist revival including several preached in the colonies (archived by Christian Classics Ethereal Library).

Settlement of Jamestown

Captain John Smith's 1607 account of the founding of the first English colony in America [posted by National Center for Public Policy Research].

Short Confession of Faith by John Smyth

1609 declaration of faith illustrates independent theological views of Baptist leader [Reformed Reader].

Short History of Methodism

John Wesley outlines the development of the Methodist society & its mission [archived by Google Books].

Sin & Danger of Self-Love

Robert Cushman's 1621 sermon to the congregation of pilgrims at Plymouth MA [Gutenberg Project].

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Text of Jonathan Edwards' 1741 sermon posted by Independence Hall Association.

Formation of the United States

The Age of Reason

Thomas Paine's provocative 1795 treatise arguing that the Bible cannot be the word of God.

American Independence & the General Principles of Christianity

1813 letter of John Adams to Thomas Jefferson arguing that liberty depended on general principles that transcended sectarian differences (archived by Founders Online).

Discourse concerning Unlimited Submission & Non-resistance to the Higher Powers

Jonathan Mayhew's 1750 sermon that John Adams called the spark that ignited the American revolution (posted by Teaching American History).

Dissertation on Liberty & Necessity

1725 theological treatise by Benjamin Franklin arguing that a good God necessarily predestines all things to be ultimately good (archived by Founders Online).

Establishing Religious Freedom

Thomas Jefferson's 1779 draft of a bill guaranteeing religious liberty (posted by America's Home Page).

Excerpts from Madison's Detached Memoranda

Arguments by James Madison on the importance of the principle of the separation of church & state (posted by The Constitution Principle).

The Existence of God

Early deist treatise by Thomas Paine arguing for a rational scientific theology.

The Farmer Refuted

In this 1775 response to an Anglican clergyman's criticism of the revolution, Alexander Hamilton argues that all human laws & rights are grounded in the laws of God (U of Chicago Press).

The Founders' Constitution

Electronic edition of Philip Kurland & Ralph Lerner's mammoth compendium of documents that provide historical perspective on the thinking of the authors of the American Constitution on issues including the separation of church & state (Chicago U. Press).

The Jefferson Bible

E. R. Coates provides a hypertext edition of Thomas Jefferson's harmonized & expurgated version of the gospels' portraits of Jesus.

Memorial & Remonstrance

1785 declaration drafted by James Madison commending religious liberty to the Virginia legislature (Documents for the Study of American History).

Reason: the Only Oracle of Man

Deist treatise composed by Vermont's Ethan Allen shortly after the Revolution [archived by Project Gutenberg].

Religion & the American Revolution

Three leading historians study the role of religion in the fight for American independence. Jerald Brauer examines the legacy of Puritanism & Revivalism; Sidney Mead examines the relationship of the Enlightenment & the established church; & Robert Bellah reviews the rise of civil religion.  Full text of 1976 book posted by Religion-Online.

Religion & the Founding of the American Republic

Library of Congress cyber-exhibit paints an epic panorama of the complex role of religion in bringing refugees to America & shaping churches, the revolutionary war, congress, state & federal governments, & American society through the first half of the 19th c.

Digging. Help fill holes.

This page was revised 27 January 2023     


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