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Francis J. Bremer has spent his entire career broadening our understanding of America’s colonial founders. Now, in this eminently readable collection of biographies, Bremer brings us a surprisingly varied and dynamic group of characters who continue to guide and influence America today. With its cast of magistrates, women, clergy, merchants, and Native Americans, First Founders underscores the breadth of early American experience and the profound transatlantic roots of our country’s forebears. Bremer succeeds in bringing little-known figures out of the shadows, while allowing us to appreciate better known figures in an entirely new light.
This is a truly fascinating look at the Puritans with keenly drawn portraits and the insight that only a lifetime of scholarship can achieve. It should become the standard introduction to the field. Written in the mold of Joseph Ellis’s Founding Brothers and Gordon Wood’s Revolutionary Characters, the book will appeal to general readers, students, and scholars alike.
About the Author
Table of ContentsPreface
John Winthrop and the Struggle to Lead a Godly Life
John Endecott: Godly Magistrate
John Wilson: Puritan Pastor
Thomas Dudley and Thomas Shepard: Hammers of Heretics
Four Dissenting Women: Anne Hutchinson, Mary Dyer, Lady Deborah Moody, and Anne Eaton
The Troubled Keaynes
Stephen Winthrop: Soldier of the Lord
Hugh Peter: Regicide
John Davenport and the Middle Advent
Samuel Winthrop: From Puritan to Quaker
John Sassamon: A Puritan between Two Cultures
John Leverett: Defending the Ways of the Fathers
Anne Bradstreet: Puritan Wife and Mother
Samuel Sewall: The Conscience of a Puritan
Conclusion: Civil Society and the Godly Kingdom
Sources and Further Readings
What People are Saying About This
“First Founders brings the colonial Puritan world alive in all its complexity through these sensitive and insightful biographies of those who hoped to create a godly society in a new world. Bremer’s mastery of the subject shines through in his new interpretations of familiar figures like John Winthrop and Anne Bradstreet, but readers will also be fascinated by the lives and passions of the ordinary men and women he introduces. This is history at its best.”
“This book is the kind of accomplishment it takes a career to be able to achieve. While First Founders is at once an eminently readable study of people whose lives demonstrate the richness and diversity of Puritan thought, it is much more. Bremer unpacks complex theology and intricate historical situations through stories that are so interesting, the depth of knowledge he conveys seems effortless. Only a master of the field and of his craft could tell such stories so well.”