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Colonial America


American Founding Era Collection

The Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America
March 4, 1789–March 3, 1791

Convening first in New York and later in Philadelphia from March 1789 to March 1791, these earliest iterations of the Senate and the House of Representatives worked with a new president to establish a government subject to the vision of a constitution less than a year in existence. Containing all... 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 remarkable... More


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The Rotunda Founders Early Access project makes available for the first time thousands of unpublished documents from our nation’s founders in a free online resource.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... 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. We remember... 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... 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 time, the... More


Fashioning the New England Family
Kimberly S. Alexander

As America’s first historical society, the Massachusetts Historical Society has collected family materials since 1791, including long-cherished pieces of clothing that were acquired alongside papers such as letters and diaries. Because of the different storage requirements for textiles and... More


Colonial Williamsburg: The Story
From the Colonial Era to the Restoration Edward G. Lengel

It was in Williamsburg, Virginia, that American independence—and democracy—took root. And it is in the Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg that millions have learned about the continuing relevance of America’s founding ideas. Spanning nearly five centuries, Williamsburg: The Story chronicles the... More


The Records of Kings Chapel, Boston
Edited by James B. Bell and James E. Mooney

The story of the origins of the first Anglican congregation established in Boston and New England, Kings Chapel, is significantly shaped by the gradually emerging imperial policies of the government of Charles II during the late seventeenth century. It is a transatlantic account influenced largely... More


The Records of Kings Chapel, Boston
Edited by James B. Bell and James E. Mooney

[Book description not available]


Nelly Custis Lewis's Housekeeping Book
Edited by Patricia Brady Schmit

[Book description not available]


Jefferson on Display
Attire, Etiquette, and the Art of Presentation G. S. Wilson

When we think of Thomas Jefferson, a certain picture comes to mind for some of us, combining his physical appearance with our perception of his character. During Jefferson’s lifetime this image was already taking shape, helped along by his own assiduous cultivation. In Jefferson on Display, G. S.... More


New Orleans, the Founding Era
Edited by Erin M. Greenwald

[Book description not available]


Face Value
The Consumer Revolution and the Colonizing of America 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. 111 January 1806-31 May 1806 James Madison. Edited by 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
The Witch-Hunt Crisis of 1692 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


A Company Man
The Remarkable French-Atlantic Voyage of a Clerk for the Company of the Indies [HC] Edited by Erin M. Greenwald

[Book description not available]


The Papers of Francis Bernard
Governor of Colonial Massachusetts, 1760–1769 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
Governor of Colonial Massachusetts, 1760–1769 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


White, Red, and Black
The Seventeenth-Century Virginian Frank Craven

[Book description not available]


Tom Paine's America
The Rise and Fall of Transatlantic Radicalism in the Early Republic 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
The Major Political and Legal Papers of Josiah Quincy Junior 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 Road to Black Ned's Forge
A Story of Race, Sex, and Trade on the Colonial American Frontier 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 from Philadelphia to... More


The Papers of James Madison
Secretary of State Series, vol. 101 July 1805-31 December 1805 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
1740-1766 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


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