In Pennsylvania and the Federal Constitution, 1787–1788, John Bach McMaster, a professor of American history, and Frederick D. Stone, librarian of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, assembled newspaper articles, editorials, and records about the debates in Pennsylvania’s ratifying convention. In addition to speeches and essays by both supporters and opponents of the Constitution, noninterpretive editorial comments are presented to introduce the documents and place them in the appropriate historical context. Also included in the volume are biographical sketches of key figures in Pennsylvania during this significant period of the American Founding, including Benjamin Franklin, Gouverneur Morris, Benjamin Rush, and James Wilson.
The early political culture of the American republic was so deeply influenced by the religious consciousness of the New England preachers that it was often through the political sermon that the political rhetoric of the period was formed, refined, and transmitted. Political sermons such as the fifty-five collected in this work are unique to America, in both kind and significance. Political Sermons of the American Founding Era thus fills an important need if the American founding period is to be adequately understood.
William Penn (1644–1718) played a crucial role in the articulation of religious liberty as a philosophical and political value during the second half of the seventeenth century and as a core element of the classical liberal tradition in general. Penn was not only one of the most vocal spokesmen for liberty of conscience in Restoration England, but he also oversaw a great colonizing endeavor that attempted to instantiate his tolerationist commitments in practice. His thought has relevance not only for scholars of English political and religious history, but also for those who are interested in the foundations of American religious liberty, political development, and colonial history. This volume illuminates the origins and development of Penn’s thought by presenting, for the first time, complete and annotated texts of all his important political works.
Alexander Hamilton, trusted military aide and secretary to General George Washington, wrote to persuade. He had the ability to clarify the complex issues of his time without oversimplifying them. From the basic core values established in his earlier writings to the more assertive vision of government in his mature work, we see how Hamilton’s thought responded to the emerging nation and how the nation was shaped by his ideas. This comprehensive collection of his early writings, from the period before and during the Revolutionary War, provides a fuller understanding of the development of his thinking.
The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams presents the principal shorter writings in which Adams addresses the prospect of revolution and the form of government proper to the new United States.
The Sacred Rights of Conscience contains original documents from both public and private papers, such as constitutions, statutes, legislative resolutions, speeches, sermons, newspapers, letters, and diaries. These documents provide a vivid reminder that religion was a dynamic factor in shaping American social, legal, and political culture and that there has been a struggle since the inception of the Republic to define the prudential and constitutional role of religion in public culture.
John Adams and Benjamin Rush were two remarkably different men who shared a devotion to liberty. Their dialogues on the implications of fame for their generation prove remarkably timely—even for the twenty-first century.
Liberty Fund is pleased to present this single-volume collection of Gouverneur Morris’s writings. This edition will be a welcome addition to scholars of American and French history as the volume contains many writings that have never before been published.
John Taylor of Caroline (1753–1824) was one of the foremost philosophers of the States’ rights Jeffersonians of the early national period. In keeping with his lifelong mission as a “minority man,” John Taylor wrote Tyranny Unmasked not only to assault the protective tariff and the mercantilist policies of the times but also “to examine general principles in relation to commerce, political economy, and a free government.” Originally published in 1822, it is the only major work of Taylor’s that has never before been reprinted.
St. George Tucker’s View of the Constitution, published in 1803, was the first extended, systematic commentary on the United States Constitution after its ratification. Generations learned their Blackstone and their understanding of the Constitution through Tucker.
Fisher Ames was a leading New England Federalist and sublime critic of Jacobin Democracy and the French Revolution. During the presidency of George Washington, he was the leader of his party in the House of Representatives. Ames was active in public life from 1787 through 1807 and was instrumental in one drafting of the First Amendment to the Constitution. His witty, often brilliant, letters, speeches, and essays offered a sustained defense of conservative principles and insight into the Federalist theory of government.