BGAV Bibliography: Early Baptists and their Allies on the Meaning of Religious Liberty

This bibliography has been provided by the Religious Liberty Committee of Virginia Baptists


Backus, Isaac. Isaac Backus on Church, State, and Calvinism: Pamphlets, 1754-1789.  Ed. William G. McLoughlin.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1968.

Busher, Leonard, et al. Tracts on Liberty of Conscience and Persecution, 1614-1661. Edited & introduced by Edward B. Underhill. London: J. Haddon, 1846 (online at

Georgia Baptist Association. “Remonstrance” (1785). In Samuel Boykin. History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia. Atlanta, GA: Jas. P. Harrison, 1881, pp. 261-63 (online at

Helwys, Thomas. A Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity (1611/1612). Edited & introduced by Richard Groves.  Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1998.

Jefferson, Thomas. “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom” (6/18/1779) (online at

Leland, John. The Writings of the Late Elder John Leland. Ed. L. F. Greene. N.Y.: G. W. Wood, 1845 (online at

Madison, James. “Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments” (1785) (online at

“Return of the Town of Granville, Massachusetts” (1780). In The Founding Fathers and the Debate over Religion in Revolutionary America: A History in Documents.  Ed. Matthew Harris & Thomas Kidd. N.Y.: Oxford Univ. Press, 2011, pp. 57-58 (online at

Stillman, Samuel. “The Duty of Magistrates.” In The Patriot Preachers of the American Revolution, 1766-1783. Ed. Frank Moore. N.Y.: Charles T. Evans, 1862, pp. 258-88 (online at

Tennent, William. “Writings of the Reverend William Tennent, 1740-1777.” Ed. Newton B. Jones. South Carolina Historical Magazine, 61 (October 1960): 189-209.

Vindex [Patrick Allison]. “Candid animadversions, respecting a petition to the late General Assembly of Maryland” (1783). Gale ECCO, 2010 rep. of 1783 ed.

Washington, George. “Letter to the United Baptist Churches in Virginia” (5/10/1789) (online at

Williams, Roger. On Religious Liberty: Selections from the Works of Roger Williams. Ed. James C. Davis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2008.



Barry, John M. Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul. N.Y.: Penguin Random House, 2012.

Gaustad, Edwin S. Liberty of Conscience: Roger Williams in America. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Pub., 1991.

Hall, Timothy L. Separation of Church and State: Roger Williams and Religious Liberty. Champaign: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1998.

James, Sydney. John Clarke and His Legacies: Religion and Law in Colonial Rhode Island, 1638-1750. Ed.

Dwight Bozeman. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 1999.

Little, David. “Roger Williams and the Puritan Background of the Establishment Clause.” In No Establishment of Religion: America’s Original Contribution to Religious Liberty. Ed. T. Jeremy Gunn & John Witte, Jr. N.Y.: Oxford Univ. Press, 2012, pp. 100-24.

McBeth, H. Leon. English Baptist Literature on Religious Liberty to 1689. N.Y.: Arno Press, 1980.

Maston, T. B. Isaac Backus: Pioneer of Religious Liberty. Rochester, NY: American Baptist Historical Society, 1963.

Miller, Nicholas P. The Religious Roots of the First Amendment: Dissenting Protestants and the Separation of Church and State. N.Y.: Oxford Univ. Press, 2012.

Morgan, Edmund S. Roger Williams: The Church and the State. N.Y.: W. W. Norton, 1967.

Munoz, Vincent P. “James Madison’s Principle of Religious Liberty.” American Political Science Review, 97 (Feb. 2003): 17-32.

Pinson, William M., Jr. Baptists and Religious Liberty: A Baptist Doctrine and Heritage Study for Life Today. Dallas, TX: BaptistWay Press, 2008.

Richards, Peter J. “’A Clear and Steady Channel’: Isaac Backus and the Limits of Liberty.” Journal of Church and State, 43 (2001): 447-82.

Shurden, Walter B. “Baptist Freedom and the Turn toward a Free Conscience: 1612/1652.” In Turning Points in Baptist History. Ed. Michael E. Williams, Sr. and Walter R. Shurden. Macon, GA: Mercer Univ. Press, 2008, pp. 22-33.

Tuck, William P. “Religious Liberty” in Our Baptist Tradition. Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2005.

Vedder, Henry C. Baptists and Liberty of Conscience. Cincinnati, OH: J. R. Baumes, 1884 (online at

For questions or comments about this bibliography, contact Ellis West