Guest Essayist: James D. Best, author of Tempest at Dawn, a novel about the 1787 Constitutional Convention, and Principled Action, Lessons from the Origins of the American Republic

John Adams wrote, “The Revolu­tion was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.”

How did a revolution commence in the minds and hearts of Americans? It germinated in pulpits and taverns, and from pamphleteers and newspapers. By the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, there was a colonial consensus on a few key principles. Today, we call these the Founding Principles or First Principles. Read more

Pastors and ministers were among the highest educated citizens in the American colonies, and often addressed politics from the pulpit. This sermon by Hitchcock was delivered on election day in 1774, in the presence of General Thomas Gage, the British military governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. It decries British monarchical rule and celebrates the idea of the consent of the governed, appealing to reason as well as revelation.


…In a mixed government, such as the British, public virtue and religion, in the several branches, though they may not be exactly of a mind in every measure, will be the security of order and tranquility–Corruption and venality, the certain source of confusion and misery to the state. Read more