Massachusetts Congregationalist Political Thought, 1760-1790: The Design of Heaven

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University of Missouri Press, 1996 - 181 psl.
Despite the enormous attention scholars have given to the American founding, there continues to be significant debate concerning its meaning. Dale Kuehne asserts that the founding is important not only in the areas of public policy and jurisprudence, but also in our understanding of the American Constitution. In order to convey the full complexity of American political thought during this era, Kuehne provides an exhaustive study of the Massachusetts Congregationalist clergy, one of the founding's most politically influential, but often overlooked, groups. Because Congregationalism was the established religion of the time, the Congregational church functioned as the spiritual and political center of each parish. The Sunday worship services were the primary social activity of the parish and the most effective means of disseminating news and education throughout the colony. The minister was usually the most educated and visible person in the parish and, as such, held a position of considerable influence, which was often used for political purposes. Examining sermons from 1760 to 1790, Kuehne details the transformation of the ministers' thought and provides unique insight into the intellectual and religious roots of the American founding.

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