Cover image for The American Republic : primary sources
The American Republic : primary sources
Frohnen, Bruce.
Publication Information:
Indianapolis : Liberty Fund, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxi, 724 pages : illustrations ; 28 cm
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E173 .A7535 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

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Many reference works offer compilations of critical documents covering individual liberty, local autonomy, constitutional order, and other issues that helped to shape the American political tradition. Yet few of those works are available in a form suitable for classroom use, and traditional textbooks give short shrift to these important issues.

The American Republic overcomes that knowledge gap by providing, in a single volume, critical, original documents revealing the character of American discourse on the nature and importance of local government, the purposes of federal union, and the role of religion and tradition in forming America's drive for liberty.

The American Republic is divided into nine sections, each illustrating major philosophical, cultural, and policy positions at issue during crucial eras of American development. Readers will find documentary evidence of the purposes behind European settlement, American response to English acts, the pervasive role of religion in early American public life, and perspectives in the debate over independence.

Subsequent chapters examine the roots of American constitutionalism, Federalist and Anti-Federalist arguments concerning the need to protect common law rights, and the debates over whether the states or the federal government held final authority in determining the course of public policy in America. Also included are the discussions regarding disagreements over internal improvements and other federal measures aimed at binding the nation, particularly in the area of commerce.

The final section focuses on the political, cultural, and legal issues leading to the Civil War. Arguments and attempted compromises regarding slavery, along with laws that helped shape slavery, are highlighted. The volume ends with the prelude to the Civil War, a natural stopping-off point for studies of early American history.

By bringing together key original documents and other writings that explain cultural, religious, and historical concerns, this volume gives students, teachers, and general readers an effective way to begin examining the diversity of issues and influences that characterize American history. The result unquestionably leads to a deeper and more thorough understanding of America's political, institutional, and cultural continuity and change.

Bruce P. Frohnen is Associate Professor of Law at Ohio Northern University College of Law. He holds a J.D. from the Emory University School of Law and a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University.

Click here to print or download The American Republic index .

Author Notes

Bruce Frohnen is assistant professor of law at the Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Table of Contents

Alphabetical List of Authorsp. xiii
List of Illustrationsp. xv
Introductionp. xvii
Note on the Textsp. xxi
1 Colonial Settlements and Societies
Virginia Articles, Laws, and Orders, 1610 -11p. 4
The Mayflower Compact, 1620p. 11
Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, 1639p. 12
The Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641p. 15
Charter of Liberties and Frame of Government of the Province of Pennsylvania in America, 1682p. 23
Dorchester Agreement, 1633p. 31
Maryland Act for Swearing Allegiance, 1638; Plymouth Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity, 1625p. 32
"Little Speech on Liberty," John Winthrop, 1645p. 34
"Copy of a Letter from Mr. Cotton to Lord Say and Seal," John Cotton, 1636p. 36
2 Religious Society and Religious Liberty in Early America
"The Bloody Tenent, of Persecution, for Cause of Conscience," Roger Williams, 1644p. 42
"A Platform of Church Discipline," John Cotton, Richard Mather, and Ralph Partridge, 1649p. 48
Providence Agreement, 1637; Maryland Act for Church Liberties, 1638; Pennsylvania Act for Freedom of Conscience, 1682p. 64
Worcestriensis , 1776p. 66
"Thanksgiving Proclamation" and Letters to Religious Associations, George Washington; 1789,1790p. 69
"Farewell Address," George Washington, 1796p. 72
"The Rights of Conscience Inalienable," John Leland, 1791p. 79
"Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association," Thomas Jefferson, 1802p. 88
3 Defending the Charters
Magna Charta, 1215p. 92
Petition of Right, 1628p. 98
"An Account of the Late Revolution in New England" and "Boston Declaration of Grievances," Nathanael Blyfield, 1689p. 101
The English Bill of Rights, 1689p. 106
The Stamp Act, 1765p. 110
"Braintree Instructions," John Adams, 1765p. 115
Resolutions of the Virginia House of Burgesses, 1765; Declarations of the Stamp Act Congress, 1765p. 117
"The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved," James Otis, 1763p. 119
The Act Repealing the Stamp Act, 1766; The Declaratory Act, 1766p. 135
4 The War for Independence
"A Discourse at the Dedication of the Tree of Liberty," "A Son of Liberty" [Silas Downer], 1768p. 140
"Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania," Letters V and IX, John Dickinson, 1767-68p. 146
Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, 1774p. 154
Virginia Bill of Rights, 1776p. 157
"On Civil Liberty, Passive Obedience, and Non-resistance," Jonathan Boucher, 1775p. 159
Common Sense , Thomas Paine, 1776p. 179
The Declaration of Independence, 1776p. 189
5 A New Constitution
"Thoughts on Government," John Adams, 1776p. 196
Articles of Confederation, 1778p. 200
The Essex Result, 1778p. 205
Northwest Ordinance, 1787p. 225
Albany Plan of Union, 1754p. 229
Virginia and New Jersey Plans, 1787p. 231
The Constitution of the United States of America, 1787p. 234
The Federalist , Papers 1, 9, 10, 39, 47 -51, 78; Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay; 1787p. 241
"Address of the Minority of the Pennsylvania Convention," 1787p. 268
"An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution," Noah Webster, 1787p. 281
6 The Bill of Rights
The Federalist , Papers 84 and 85; Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay; 1787p. 300
"Letter I," "Centinel," 1787p. 309
"Essay I," "Brutus," 1787p. 314
"Letter III," "The Federal Farmer," 1787p. 320
"Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments," James Madison, 1785; "Virginia Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom," Thomas Jefferson, 1786p. 327
"Speech Introducing Proposed Constitutional Amendments," James Madison, 1789; Debate over First Amendment Language, 1789; The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, 1789p. 332
Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States , Joseph Story, 1833p. 351
The People v. Ruggles , James Kent, 1811p. 363
Marbury v. Madison , John Marshall, 1803p. 366
Barron v. the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore , John Marshall, 1833p. 375
7 State versus Federal Authority
"Essay V," "Brutus," 1787p. 382
Chisholm v. Georgia, James Wilson, 1793; U.S. Constitution, Eleventh Amendment, 1787p. 386
The Alien and Sedition Acts, 1798; Virginia Resolutions, 1798; Kentucky Resolutions, 1798; Counter-resolutions of Other States,1799; Report of Virginia House of Delegates, 1799p. 396
"The Duty of Americans, at the Present Crisis," Timothy Dwight, 1798p. 433
Report of the Hartford Convention, 1815p. 447
Joseph Story: Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833; A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States , 1840p. 458
8 Forging a Nation
"Opinion against the Constitutionality of a National Bank," Thomas Jefferson, 1791; "Opinion as to the Constitutionality of the Bank of the United States," Alexander Hamilton, 1791p. 474
"Veto Message," Andrew Jackson, 1832p. 491
"Veto Message," James Madison, 1817p. 501
Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States , Joseph Story, 1833p. 503
Abraham Lincoln: "Address to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois," 1838 ;"Address to the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin," 1859p. 518
William Leggett: Newspaper Editorials on "Direct Taxation," 1834; "Chief Justice Marshall," 1835; "The Despotism of the Majority," 1837; "Morals of Legislation," 1837; and "The Morals of Politics," 1837p. 528
"Speech on Electioneering," Davy Crockett, 1848p. 536
"Speech before the U.S. Senate," Daniel Webster, 1830; "Speech before the U.S. Senate," Robert Y. Hayne, 1830 538 "Fort Hill Address," John C. Calhoun, 1831p. 565
9 Prelude to War
Laws Regulating Servants and Slaves, 1630 -1852p. 582
"Slavery" and "Agriculture and the Militia," John Taylor of Caroline, 1818p. 589
The Missouri Compromise, 1820 -21p. 594
William Leggett: Newspaper Editorials on "Governor McDuffie's Message," 1835; "The Question of Slavery Narrowed to a Point," 1837; and "'Abolition Insolence,'" 1837p. 595
Senate Speeches on the Compromise of 1850, John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster, 1850p. 600
Second Fugitive Slave Law, 1850; bleman v. Booth , Roger Taney, 1858p. 633
Scott v. Sandford , Roger Taney, 1856p. 646
"The Relative Position and Treatment of the Negroes "and "The Abolitionists - Consistency of Their Labors," George S. Sawyer, 1858p. 665
"What Is Slavery?" and "Slavery Is Despotism," Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1853p. 690
Kansas-Nebraska Act, 1856; Fifth Lincoln-Douglas Debate, 1858p. 702
Bibliographyp. 723