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Colonial America


Founders Early Access

The Rotunda Founders Early Access project makes available for the first time thousands of unpublished documents from our nation’s founders in a free online resource. Conceived with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ Documents... More


The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution

As the largest, oldest, and wealthiest of the original thirteen colonies, Virginia played a central role in the fight for independence and as a state in the new republic. This importance is reflected in the number of Virginians who filled key national leadership positions. Three... More


The Papers of Alexander Hamilton Digital Edition

Killed before he was fifty in the most famous duel in American history, Alexander Hamilton had the shortest life of all the major founding fathers and experienced a career filled with as much controversy as triumph. His influence on our nation, however, has been consistent and profound.... More


The Papers of Eliza Lucas Pinckney & Harriott Pinckney Horry Digital Edition

The papers of Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1722–1793) and her daughter Harriott Pinckney Horry (1748–1830) document the lives of two observant and articulate founding-era women who were members of one of South Carolina’s leading families, as well as distinguished people in their own right.... More


The Papers of Revolutionary Era Pinckney Statesmen

One of the leading families of colonial South Carolina and the early republic, the Pinckneys of Charleston were witnesses to—and often active participants in—many of the defining customs and transforming events of the early national South. This digital resource collects, for the first... More


Face Value

Cary Carson

The Industrial Revolution was previously understood as having awakened an enormous, unquenchable thirst for material consumption. People up and down the social order had discovered and were indulging in the most extraordinary passion for consumer merchandise in quantities and varieties that had... More


The Papers of James Madison
Secretary of State Series, vol. 11
James Madison, Mary A. Hackett, J. C. A. Stagg, Mary Parke Johnson, Anne Mandeville Colony, and Katharine E. Harbury

During the period covered by this volume, James Madison continued to deal with the United States' vexing relations with Europe. Mounting outrage against Great Britain's seizure of American vessels, impressment of seamen, and violations of trade agreements with British Canada erupted in Congress.... More


Satan and Salem

Benjamin C. Ray

The result of a perfect storm of factors that culminated in a great moral catastrophe, the Salem witch trials of 1692 took a breathtaking toll on the young English colony of Massachusetts. Over 150 people were imprisoned, and nineteen men and women, including a minister, were executed by hanging.... More


The Road to Black Ned’s Forge

Turk McCleskey

In 1752 an enslaved Pennsylvania ironworker named Ned purchased his freedom and moved to Virginia on the upper James River. Taking the name Edward Tarr, he became the first free black landowner west of the Blue Ridge. Tarr established a blacksmith shop on the Great Wagon Road... More


The Papers of Francis Bernard

Francis Bernard

Governor Francis Bernard's historical reputation rests on his role in pushing the American colonists toward revolution. Bernard was the kind of government official without whom revolutions might not occur: A thwarted modernizer, despairing of metropolitan inertia and resentful of local power shifts... More


The Papers of Francis Bernard

Francis Bernard

British Regulars marched into Boston at midday on Saturday 1 October 1768. For weeks there had been rumors that the landing would be resisted. But by four in the afternoon the two regiments were parading on the Common without incident. The troops were there to deter rioters, cow radicals, and... More


Tom Paine's America

Seth Cotlar

Tom Paine’s America explores the vibrant, transatlantic traffic in people, ideas, and texts that profoundly shaped American political debate in the 1790s. In 1789, when the Federal Constitution was ratified, "democracy" was a controversial term that very few Americans used to describe their new... More


Portrait of a Patriot

Josiah Quincy, Jr.. Edited by Daniel R. Coquillette and Neil Longley York

Successful Boston lawyer, active member of the Sons of Liberty, and noted political essayist, Josiah Quincy Junior (1744–1775) left a lasting impression on those he met--for his passion in the courtroom as well as his orations in the Old South Meeting House, and for his determination to live fully... More


The Papers of James Madison
Secretary of State Series, vol. 10
James Madison. Edited by Mary A. Hackett, J. C. A. Stagg, Anne Mandeville Colony, Katharine E. Harbury, and Mary Parke Johnson

During the six months covered in this volume, Madison contended with the failed negotiations between Spain and the United States to settle disputed boundaries, and the failure to win French support; Great Britain's refusal to respond to U.S. complaints of the impressment of American seamen and... More


The Correspondence of Thomas Hutchinson

Thomas Hutchinson. Edited by John W. Tyler and Elizabeth Dubrulle

Thomas Hutchinson was the leading spokesman in colonial America for opposition to the Revolutionary movement. His logical and cogent prose as well as the stature he gained through his long and varied public service to Massachusetts gave weight to his arguments and insured a wide audience for his... More


Early Modern Virginia

Edited by Douglas Bradburn and John C. Coombs

This collection of essays on seventeenth-century Virginia, the first such collection on the Chesapeake in nearly twenty-five years, highlights emerging directions in scholarship and helps set a new agenda for research in the next decade and beyond. The contributors represent some of the best of a... More


A Voyage to Virginia in 1609

William Strachey and Silvester Jourdain. Edited by Louis B. Wright. Foreword by Alden T. Vaughan

To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, the University of Virginia Press reissues its first-ever publication. The volume’s two accounts of the 1609 wreck of a Jamestown-bound ship offer a gripping sea adventure from the earliest days of American colonization, but the dramatic events’ even greater... More


The Papers of Francis Bernard

Francis Bernard. Edited by Colin Nicolson

As governor of colonial Massachusetts between 1760 and 1769, Francis Bernard was charged with shoring up British imperialism during the first period of sustained American opposition to the authority of the King-in-Parliament. The documentary record of the middle years (1766 and 1767) of Bernard’s... More


Creating the British Atlantic

Jack P. Greene

Set mostly within an expansive British imperial and transatlantic framework, this new selection of writings from the renowned historian Jack P. Greene draws on themes he has been developing throughout his distinguished career. In these essays Greene explores the efforts to impose Old World... More


The Limits of Optimism

Maurizio Valsania

The Limits of Optimism works to dispel persistent notions about Jefferson’s allegedly paradoxical and sphinx-like quality. Maurizio Valsania shows that Jefferson’s multifaceted character and personality are to a large extent the logical outcome of an anti-metaphysical, enlightened, and humility-... More


The Papers of George Washington
Revolutionary War Series, vol. 22
George Washington. Edited by Benjamin L. Huggins

Volume 22 of the Revolutionary War Series covers 1 Aug. through 21 Oct. 1779. As it begins, Washington is focused on expanding and strengthening the fortifications at West Point, N.Y., in the wake of the British attack in June that had captured King's Ferry, New York. Although he had to concentrate... More


Thomas Jefferson, the Classical World, and Early America

Edited by Peter S. Onuf and Nicholas P. Cole

Thomas Jefferson read Latin and Greek authors throughout his life and wrote movingly about his love of the ancient texts, which he thought should be at the core of America's curriculum. Yet at the same time, Jefferson warned his countrymen not to look to the ancient world for modern lessons and... More


Unnatural Rebellion

Ruma Chopra

Thousands of British American mainland colonists rejected the War for American Independence. Shunning rebel violence as unnecessary, unlawful, and unnatural, they emphasized the natural ties of blood, kinship, language, and religion that united the colonies to Britain. They hoped that British... More


The Papers of George Washington
Revolutionary War Series, vol. 21
George Washington. Edited by William M. Ferraro

During the busy and challenging months of June and July 1779 (the period covered in this volume), George Washington remained the fulcrum for Continental army activities. Through his exertions and leadership, the troops under his direct supervision quickly broke their winter encampment at... More


Contesting Slavery

Edited by John Craig Hammond and Matthew Mason

Recent scholarship on slavery and politics between 1776 and 1840 has wholly revised historians’ understanding of the problem of slavery in American politics. Contesting Slavery builds on the best of that literature to reexamine the politics of slavery in revolutionary America and the early republic... More


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