Story Bibliography
Media for this Story
icon expand icon expand icon expand
Pennsylvania and the New Nation Bibliography
Further Reading

"Pennsylvania Loyalists," (Special Issue), Pennsylvania History 62:3 (July 1995).

Examines Philadelphia and frontier loyalists, men and women, elite and popular loyalism, and guerrilla warfare.

Alberts, Robert C. The Golden Voyage: the Life and Times of William Bingham.. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company,, 1969.

Story of one of the richest Philadelphia merchants of the late eighteenth-century, and Federalist Senator William Bingham. His wife Anne Willing Bingham was one of the leading hostesses when the national capital was in Philadelphia.

Andrews, Dee. Methodists and Revolutionary America, 1760-1800: The Shaping of an Evangelical Culture.. Princeton: Princeton, 2002.

The origins of what became the largest Protestant denomination in the United States by the Civil War centered in the mid-Atlantic colonies, including Pennsylvania.

Bartlett, Virginia K. Keeping House: Women's Lives in Western Pennsylvania, 1790-1850.. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1994.

Looks at how women were integral to the process of frontier settlement and how middle and upper- class women became far more than housekeepers (reformers and religious leaders.)

Beeman, Richard R. The Varieties of Political Experience in Eighteenth-Century America.. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania,, 2004.

Excellent chapters on Pennsylvania show a unique political system in which one of the most conservative governments in the colonies, because it failed to respond to popular demands for frontier defense and resistance to British taxation, was replaced by the most radical in 1776.

Berkin, Carol and Mary Beth Norton, ed.. Women of America: A History.. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979.

Pennsylvania women were at the center of the abolition and moral reform movements in early America, and these essays are good studies of these topics.

Blumen, Stuart M. The Emergence of the Middle Class: Social Experience in the American City, 1760-1900.. New York: Cambridge, 1989.

Middle-class Americans developed a culture apart from the upper and lower classes in this period stressing temperance, moral reform, education, and hard work. Philadelphia is one of the cities discussed.

Bouton, Terry. "A Road Closed: Rural Insurgency in Post-Independence Pennsylvania.." Journal of American History 87 (2000): 855-887.

Although Pennsylvania had no major uprising until the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, it was preceded by a great deal of rural unrest in the 1780s - closing courts and an almost total refusal to pay taxes in much of the hinterland. This essay tells the story.

Branson, Susan. These Fiery Frenchified Dames: Women and Political Culture in Early National Philadelphia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania,

Not all the women in post-Revolutionary Philadelphia were content with the role of being republican mothers who brought up the next generation to be virtuous. Some, inspired by the women of the French Revolution, made an unsuccessful attempt to increase their political rights.

Brunhouse, Robert L. The Counter-Revolution in Pennsylvania: 1776-1790.. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1942.

Still a good account of Pennsylvania's political and social turmoil during the Revolution.

Crane, Elaine Forman,, ed.. The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1991.

A wealthy Philadelphia Quaker woman's perspective on events from 1758 to 1809.

Davis, Susan G. Parades and Power: Street Theatre in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia.. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

Focuses on several incidents in which parades exemplified and became the focus of political controversy in early national Philadelphia.

Doerflinger, Thomas. A Vigorous Spirit of Enterprise. Merchants and Economic Development in Revolutionary Philadelphia.. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987.

Shows that Philadelphians were avid in pursuit of the main chance, while developing numerous new business enterprises - including commercial associations to further economic development.

Dorsey, Bruce. Reforming Men and Women: Gender in the Antebellum City. Ithica: Cornell University Press, 2002.

Looks at reformers and various movements in Philadelphia who attempted to change the aggressive moral nature of men to conform more to the virtuous example of women.

Eldridge, Larry D., ed.. Women and Freedom in Early America.. New York: New York University Press, 1997.

Esp. chapters by Janet Moore Lindman, Judith A. Ridner, Merril D. Smith, and Monique Bourque. These four chapters look at the possibilities and limitations for freedom offered by the household, law, the economy, and the church in eighteenth-century Pennsylvania.

Estes, J. Worth and Billy G. Smith, ed.. A Melancholy Scene of Devastation: The Public Response to the 1793 Philadelphia Yellow Fever Epidemic. Canton, MA: Science History Publications, 1997.

The first and most famous of eight yellow fever epidemics which struck Philadelphia between 1793 and 1805 led to disputes over what was responsible (French immigrants or insect-infested swamps) and the role of various actors (doctors, Federalists, Republicans, and African Americans) in responding to the disease.

Foner, Eric. Tom Paine and Revolutionary America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.

Best biography of the man whose "Common Sense" was a prelude to the American Declaration of Independence.

Fox, Francis S. Sweet Land of Liberty: The Ordeal of the Revolution in Northampton County, Pennsylvania.. University Park: Penn State Press, 2000.

Examines the lives of "ordinary" Pennsylvanians such as farmers, women, Hessian soldiers, and African Americans as they experienced the American Revolution.

Harper, R. Eugene. The Transformation of Western Pennsylvania: 1770-1820. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press,, 1991.

Shows how the frontier quickly became a hierarchical society resembling the east between 1770 and 1800.

Hawke, David F. Benjamin Rush: Revolutionary Gadfly. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1973.

Study of the physician whose efforts to reform prisons and advance the rights of women and African Americans caused great controversy in Philadelphia.

Hogeland, William. The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America's Newfound Sovereignty. . New York: Scribner: , 2006.

A lively, highly readable history of the Whiskey Rebellion that does a terrific job unraveling the complexity of issues and bringing life to the extraordinary cast of characters involved in this great clash over the meaning and purpose of the American Revolution.

Hutchins, Catherine E., ed.. Shaping a National Culture: The Philadelphia Experience, 1750-1800. Winterthur, DE: Winterthur Museum, 1994.

Uses material culture (art, household furnishings, books, architecture, etc.) especially Winterthur's rich collection, to investigate life in Philadelphia when the city was the nation's wealthiest and most influential.

Ireland, Owen S. Ethnicity, and Politics: Ratifying the Constitution in Pennsylvania. University Park: Penn State Press, 1995.

Shows how Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly supported the United States Constitution but that divisions over it were determined primarily by ethnic group (Scots-Irish opposed.)

John Frantz and William Pencak, ed.. Beyond Philadelphia: The American Revolution in the Pennsylvania Hinterland. . University Park: Penn State Press, 1998.

Examines the effect of the Revolution on counties in Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia.

Klepp, Susan E. "Revolutionary Bodies: Women and the Fertility Transition in the Mid-Atlantic Region, 1760-1820.." Journal of American History 85 (1998): 910-945.

How birth rate declined as economic class divisions increased following the American Revolution.

Knouff, Gregory T. A Soldiers' Revolution: Pennsylvanians in Arms and the Forging of Early American Identity. . University Park: Penn State Press, 2004.

Bearing arms and defining Native Americans as a separate, savage race were two key elements through which early Pennsylvanians defined themselves as Americans and as men.

Majewski, John D. A House Dividing: Economic Development in Pennsylvania and Virginia before the Civil War. New York: Cambridge, 2000.

How the state of Pennsylvania strongly supported the development of banks, railroads, roads, canals, and industry, and how political favoritism and corruption hampered it.

Mancall, Peter. Valley of Opportunity: Economic Culture Along the Upper Susquehanna. Ithica: Cornell University Press, 1991.

Within a decade of the American Revolution, produce from northeastern Pennsylvania was traded profitably with Europe and the West Indies and society was becoming refined and hierarchical - the frontier did not last long.

Meranze, Michael. Laboratories of Virtue: Punishment, Revolution, and Authority in Philadelphia: 1760-1835.. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

How prisons and insane asylums changed from holding pens to institutions of moral reformation under the influence of revolutionary ideas.

Nash, Gary B. Forging Freedom: The Formation of Philadelphia's Black Community, 1720-1840. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998.

How Philadelphia developed an autonomous and strong black community during the early republic.

Newman, Paul Douglas. Fries Rebellion: The Enduring Struggle for the American Revolution. University Park: Penn State Press, 2004.

Shows how Pennsylvania Germans and others, well aware of their rights, opposed tax collectors in Northampton and Berks counties in 1799.

Newman, Simon P. Parades and the Politics of the Street: Festive Culture in the Early American Republic.. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press,, 1997.

Looks at the role of parades in shaping political life, especially in Philadelphia.

Newman, Simon P. Embodied History: The Lives of the Poor in Early Philadelphia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press,, 2003.

Examines the appearances of early, poor Philadelphians to gain insight into their lives and survival techniques.

Nolt, Steven M. Foreigners in Their Own Land: Pennsylvania Germans in the Early Republic. . University Park: Penn State Press, 2002.

Shows how many Pennsylvania Germans retained their own language and culture before the Civil War, meanwhile becoming involved in state and local politics.

Rappaport, George David. Stability and Change in Revolutionary Pennsylvania: Banking Politics and Social Structure.. University Park: Penn State Press, 1996.

American banking began in Pennsylvania, and was crucial to the economic development of the state and the nation. This book tells the story.

Remer, Rosalind. Printers and Men of Capital: Philadelphia Book Publishers in the New Republic. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press,, 1996.

Philadelphia was the capital of the printing industry in early America; the troubles and opportunities for printers as publishers of political and non-political works are discussed here.

Ridner, Judith. "William Irvine and the Complexity of Manhood and Fatherhood in the Pennsylvania Backcountry.." Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 125:1 (2001): 5-34.

Irvine was the principal surveyor who laid out much of western Pennsylvania to serve as bounty lands for Revolutionary War veterans. What this work meant to him and to the soldiers he dealt with is discussed here.

Rilling, Donna J. Making Houses, Crafting Capitalism: Builders in Philadelphia, 1790-1850. . Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press,, 2001.

Philadelphia's housing market offered much opportunity for small-scale builders to prosper in early national Philadelphia.

Roeber, A. G. Palatines,. Liberty, and Property: German Lutherans in Colonial British America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1993.

The story of the vast majority (Lutheran and Reformed) of Pennsylvania Germans during the colonial, revolutionary, and early national period.

Schultz, Ronald. The Republic of Labor: Philadelphia Artisans and the Politics of Class, 1720-1830. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Philadelphia artisans came alive politically during the American Revolution. Schultz explains how and when they first opposed the Quakers, and then supported the Federalists before becoming Jeffersonian Republicans.

Shankman, Andrew. Crucible of American Democracy: the Struggle to Fuse Egalitarianism and Capitalism in Jeffersonian Pennsylvania. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004.

Excellent study of different theories of how Pennsylvania should develop economically (free enterprise, state, federal or local support) and the different political ideas held by advocates of these positions.

Simon Newman and others, ed.. Riot and Revelry in Early America. University Park: Penn State Press, 2002.

First examination of "rough music" - traditional crowd action against local miscreants - in America as a source of revolutionary activity.

Slaughter, Thomas. The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution.. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Best history of the 1794 uprising.

Smith, Billy. "The Lower Sort": Philadelphia's Laboring People, 1750-1800.. Ithica: Cornell University Press, 1990.

Shows only a few could enjoy the opportunities of the young Benjamin Franklin during the revolutionary era.

Sutcliffe, Andrea. Steam: The Untold Story of America's First Great Invention. Indianapolis: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2004.

John Fitch invented the steamboat and successfully ran it on the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Burlington from 1797-89. Yet his story is forgotten and Robert Fulton is given the credit for his 1807 "invention." Sutcliffe tells Fitch's story and why he is forgotten.

Thompson, Peter. Rum Punch and Revolution: Taverngoing and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia., 1999. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press,,

Philadelphia taverns, like those in other cities, were the chief meeting places where those interested in politics (and later revolution) met to discuss ideas and plan their tactics.

Tinckom, Harry. The Republicans and Federalists in Pennsylvania, 1790-1801. Harrisburg: The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1950.

Still the best account of the era's political turmoil.

Travers, Len. Celebrating the Fourth: Independence Day and the Rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic. . Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1997.

A study of how Independence Day became the most important national holiday in the early republic, and how political parties manipulated it for their own advantage.

Waldstreicher, David. Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery and the American Revolution. New York: Hill and Wang, 2004.

The only Founding Father to be a servant, Franklin was both a slaveowner and yet an opponent of slavery. His stand on African-American slavery is related to his opinions on freedom for white Americans.

Waldstreicher, David. In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 1776-1820. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.

The crucial role of parades, civic ceremonies, and public celebrations in creating patriotic consciousness in the new nation is discussed.

Zagarri, Rosemarie. William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd. ser. 55 (1998): 203-230.

Demonstrates how as rights of men increased, those of women were circumscribed to their "domestic" sphere.

Web Guide

Accessible Archives

Includes indexed version of the Pennsylvania Gazette to 1800. Available at various historical societies and University libraries, including the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Penn State University. Must be used at a licensed site. Excellent resource for examining political and everyday life in Pennsylvania.

American Memory, Library of Congress

Includes primary sources and archival materials on the history of education in Pennsylvania and the nation, including letters, images, and reports, drawn from the collections of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Avalon Project, Yale University

Yale Law School project provides links to many of history's key political documents, including the Articles of Confederation, the Federal Constitution of 1787, various state constitutions, and the various laws passed during the Washington and Adams' administrations.

Digital Collections Page, Penn State University

Sources compiled by the Pennsylvania State University Includes books, Pennsylvania German fraktur, collections of documents, images, etc.

Evans American Bibliography Online.

Includes copies of every known work published in the United States or colonies which became the nation before 1800. Available at various historical societies and university libraries, including the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Penn State University. Must be used at a licensed site.

Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, PA

Independence National Historical Park, located in downtown Philadelphia, is often referred to as the "Birthplace of our Nation." At the park, visitors can see the Liberty Bell, an international symbol of freedom, and Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution were created. In addition, the park interprets events and the lives of the diverse population during the years when Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800. A section of the park where Benjamin Franklin's home once stood is dedicated to teaching about Franklin's life and accomplishments. Spanning approximately 45 acres, the park has about 20 buildings open to the public. This website offers visitor information, special events, and educational programs.

Journal of William Maclay, United States Senator from Pennsylvania, 1789-1791

William Maclay, one of the first two senators from Pennsylvania, was a man of strong opinions. Within two months of the opening of the first session of Congress, he had begun to keep a diary, which he continued almost daily for the three sessions of the 1st Congress. Because Senate sessions were closed to the public until 1795, his is one of the few accounts of Senate floor activity in the early Congresses. This website offers excerpts from the 1891 edition of his diary edited by Edgar S. Maclay, a descendant. It also contains biographical information on Maclay.

Letters of delegates to the Continental Congress , 1774-1789

National Constitution Center: Independence Mall, Philadelphia, PA

This website is a program of the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach. Tourist information includes a virtual tour of the museum, calendar of events, a multi-media archive, ticket-purchasing, directions and hours. Educational resources include curriculum, lesson plans and current events for the classroom.

Back to Top