In Liberalism, Puritanism and the Colonial Mind, Parrington gives a brilliant account of the beginning and development in American letters, the early ideas that have come to be reckoned as traditionally American—how they came into being, how they were opposed, and what influence they have exerted in determining the form and scope of our ideals and institutions. In doing so, the author follows the path of political, economic, and social development. This first of a three-volume work carries the account from early beginnings in Puritan New England to the triumph of Jefferson and back-country agrarianism.

This first part of Main Currents in American Thought deals with intellectual backgrounds, especially with those diverse systems of European thought that have domesticated themselves in America. Parrington examines the legacies of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe to the colonial settlements and, in particular, the transplanting to America of old-world liberalisms.

The liberalisms discussed in this book derive from two primary sources, English Independency and French Romantic theory, supplemented by English Whiggery. From the first came the revolutionary doctrine of natural rights, clarified by thinkers ranging from Roger Williams to John Locke. A doctrine that destroyed the philosophical sanction of divine right and substituted it for the traditional absolutism was formed. This struggle largely determined the course of development in early New England. A new introduction by Bruce Brown highlights the life of Vernon Louis Parrington and explains the importance of this Pulitzer-Prize winning study.

part 1|128 pages

Liberalism and Puritanism

part 1|80 pages

The Puritan Heritage 1620-1660

chapter I|10 pages

English Backgrounds

chapter II|11 pages

The Transplanting of Ideas

chapter III|24 pages

The Chief Stewards of Theocracy

chapter IV|25 pages

The Contributions of Independency

chapter V|9 pages

Other Dreamers in Israel

part 2|44 pages

The Twilight of the Oligarchy 1660-1720

chapter I|10 pages

Samuel Sewall


chapter II|20 pages

The Mather Dynasty

chapter III|11 pages

Stirrings of Liberalism

part 2|136 pages

The Colonial Mind

part 1|46 pages

The Mind in the Making 1720-1763

chapter I|14 pages

Colonial Backgrounds

chapter II|16 pages

The Anachronism of Jonathan Edwards

chapter III|15 pages

Benjamin Franklin

Our First Ambassador

part 2|86 pages

The Awakening of the American Mind 1763-1783

chapter I|14 pages

Imperial Sovereignty and Home Rule

chapter II|25 pages

The Mind of the American Tory

chapter III|14 pages

John Dickinson

chapter IV|15 pages

Samuel Adams

chapter V|17 pages

Literary Echoes

part 3|132 pages

Liberalism and the Constitution 1783-1800

part 1|54 pages

The Agrarian Defeat 1783-1787

chapter I|11 pages

Agrarianism and Capitalism

chapter II|13 pages

The Great Debate

chapter III|29 pages

Political Thinkers

The English Group

part 2|76 pages

Political Democracy Gets Under Way 1787-1800

chapter I|5 pages

The Impact of the French Revolution

chapter II|30 pages

Political Thinkers

The French Group

chapter III|40 pages

The War of Belles Lettres

chapter |2 pages