Religious Liberty in Eighteenth-Century England and Colonial America


Through a consideration of primary texts, we considered freedom of conscience and the authority of the church, and the relation between church and state, as the issues developed in England and its North American colonies.


From Liberty Fund

The Sacred Rights of Conscience

by Edited by Daniel L. Dreisbach and Mark David Hall

The Sacred Rights of Conscience contains original documents from both public and private papers, such as constitutions, statutes, legislative resolutions, speeches, sermons, newspapers, letters, and diaries. These documents provide a vivid reminder that religion was a dynamic factor in shaping American social, legal, and political culture and that there has…

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Additional Readings

Atterbury, Francis. A letter to a clergyman in the country, concerning the choice of members, and the execution of the Parliament-writ, for the ensuing convocation. London: Thomas Bennet, 1701.

Atterbury, Francis. The mitre and the crown; or, a real distinction between them. In a letter to a reverend member of the convocation. London: Henry Clenents, 1711.

Bentham, Edward. A Sermon Preached before the Honourable House of Commons at St. Margaret’s Westminster, on Tuesday, January 30, 1749-50. London: James Fletcher, 1750.

Hoadly, Benjamin. The nature of the kingdom, or church, of Christ. A sermon preach’d before the King, at the Royal chapel at St. James’s, on Sunday March 31, 1717. London: James Knapton and Timothy Childe, 1717.

Secker, Thomas. A sermon preached before the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; at therir anniverary meeting in the parish-church of St. Mary-le-Bow, on Friday, February 20, 1740-1. London: J. and H. Pemberton, 1741.

Warburton, William. The alliance between church and state, or, the necessity and equity of an established religion and a test-law demonstrated. London: A. Millar, 1736.