The author traces a constellation of intimately related ideas - about the nature of parental authority and filial rights, of moral obligation of Scripture, of the growth of the mind and the nature of historical progress - from their most important English and continental expressions in a variety of literary and theological texts, to their transmission, reception and application in Revolutionary America and in the early national period of American culture.
'It is one of the few works on the American Revolutionary era that recaptures some of the sweeping force of what happened at the end of the eighteenth century.' New York Review of Books 'Professor Fliegelman always comes to grips first and last with the historical character of his data. The result is a book that will be useful to many and for years to come.' The Times Literary Supplement