Timeline of Historical Events and Laws leading to and influencing the United States Declaration of Independence: An Extensive Chronology with many citations and summaries; In great part to show the state of ‘Christendom’ before the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment.
Late 2nd Century AD/CE: 100 years had passed since the deaths of the apostles, the destruction of the Temple and the sack of Jerusalem by the Romans under Titus (70 AD). Jews and Christians had scattered from Jerusalem in great part but were not ceased or silenced.
284-305: Diocletian was Roman emperor, but the empire was dividing and subjected to constant struggles. By 297, Diocletian was requiring people to prostrate before him, in 303 he ordered the destruction of all churches and Christian texts. Thousands of Christians were persecuted, many to death. About that time Diocletian became seriously ill and in 305 abdicated the throne. However, before he retired, he split the Roman Empire into East and West with co-ruling emperors and a tetrarchy of four under them. Constantius I, was co-emperor from 293 to 306.
306 – 337: Constantine the Great, son of Constantius, was Roman emperor for about 30 years. In 312, after – according to legend – seeing a vision of a cross in the sky and hearing ‘in this sign you will conquer (win)’ – he and his troops entered Rome, put down his opposition and reunited the Empire. Constantine also moved his capital from Rome to Byzantium, which became Constantinople until the Muslims conquered the land, and later the Islamic Turks changed the name to Istanbul.
313: Edict of Milan (Milan Decree) under Constantine: “Constantine Augustus, and I, Licinius Augustus… meeting in Milan, and taking under consideration the whole range of public interest and safety, have come to the conclusion, that among all matters conducive to the public weal those ought to be settled in the very first place, by which the reverence due to the Deity is safeguarded – that we give to the Christians as well as to all – free permission to follow the religion which each one chooses, in order that whatever Deity there is on the heavenly throne may be propitiated and show itself favorable to ourselves and to all that arc under our power. Hence, listening to the demands of both public welfare and sound reason, we have thought it our duty to enact that leave shall be refused to no one whatever who has given his heart either to the teachings of the Christians or to that kind of religion which he himself feels to be the most suitable to him; so that the Supreme Divinity, worshipped by us with full freedom, may be able to show to us in all things its wonted favor and benevolence. The Lordship will therefore take notice of our pleasure that all the restrictions which are contained in former instructions concerning the Christians and which appear to be very ill advised and out of keeping with our clemency, are all and entirely cancelled; and that each and everyone desirous to observe the religion of the Christians may do so without any fear…”
325: First Council of Nicaea under Constantine met to bring solidarity to the Christian church and state. It did not establish any one Christian denomination, but did issue the famous Nicene Creed: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty… We believe in on Lord, Jesus Christ… our salvation…”
4th -7th centuries: Fall of the Roman Empire and rise of nation-states. Many religious councils and the rise of the Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe, with the continuing of the Orthodox Christian church in Eastern Europe and into Asia.
632-800: Muhammad died in 632 after saying he had met the angel Gabriel and had also received the Qu’ran (Koran) from God. He united and converted many Arab tribes to Islam. After his death, the Muslims were divided under separate caliphs, but conquered much of MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) and threatened Christendom in Europe and Asia.
768-814: Charles the Great (Charlemagne) – King of the Franks (France), king of the Lombards (Germany to Italy), and emperor of the Romans (800). Charlemagne united most of western and central Europe and is considered the founder of the Carolingian Empire, and ‘Father of Europe.’ Many emperors of the ‘Holy Roman Emperor’ were successors of Charlemagne. He they became protectors of the Roman Catholic Church and Christendom, while holding on to their kingdoms among nation-states and a volatile world.
782: Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae or Ordinances concerning Saxony under Charlemagne: “8. If any one of the race of the Saxons… shall have wished to hide himself unbaptized (as a Christian – Catholic), and shall have scorned to come to baptism and …wish to remain a pagan, let him be punished by death.”
9th-10th Centuries: A time of wars, conflicts and struggles continued throughout the world as tribes, peoples, city-states and nations were constantly subjected to political and social changes.
875-mid-900s: Carolingian king, Louis II die without a son to be heir. The throne went back to a son of Louis the Pious (son of Charlemagne, whose son king Lothair I died in 855 leaving the throne to his son Louis II) – Charles the Bald. After his death, Charles the Fat, great-grandson of Charlemagne ruled until 887. At that time Guy III was Emperor of the Romans and king of Italy until his death in 894. Guy was a Carolingian through his mother. Then his son Lambert ruled until his death in 898 – at the age of about 18 he had no children. Arnulf of Carinthia overthrew his uncle, Charles the Fat to become a disputed king. Then came Louis the Blind and Berengar, Carolingians through their mothers. Many of these last kings had weakened the kingdoms and empire and thus saw wars and rebellions.
940s: Otto, Duke of Saxony and King of Germany (East Francia 936-973) began to use the Catholic Church to claim ‘divine right’ to rule over the kingdom and the former Roman Empire of most of Western Europe.
February 962: At a Synod in Rome, Pope John XII crowned Otto the Great, Duke of Saxony, as Holy Roman Emperor. In return, Otto ratified the Diploma Ottonianum which gave the Papal States to the Pope.
973-1105: Otto II died after ruling ten years and Otto III reigned from 966 to 1002 as Holy Roman Emperor and King of Italy and Germany. Otto III, at 21 had no children, and his second cousin Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, took over all the rule of Otto III until his death in 1024. Though much older, he also had no known children and the crown was left to Conrad II, King of Burgundy. His ‘royal triad’ – Germany, Italy and Burgundy – kept close ties to the Roman Catholic Church. Conrad II’s son was Henry III, father of Henry IV who would rule the Holy Roman Emperor (and the ‘Royal Triad’) from 1056 to 1105.
1035-1066: William the Conqueror, became the Duke of Normandy – a duchy in north-western France, in 1035 when his father died returning from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It was said that William was moral, pious and cared for the Norman Church (Catholic). Between 1049 and 1053, William married his cousin and was excommunicated from the Catholic Church until a reconciliation in 1069. By 1063, though alliances and struggles, William became the most powerful ruler in northern France. In 1066, Edward died childless – with no heir. Edward the Confessor was King of England (former Britannia); he was one of the last Anglo-Saxon (of Germanic tribes that migrated to Britannia) kings of England. The Anglo-Saxons had ruled the land for over 600 years.
1054: The Great Schism in Christianity: The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church formally broke relations after centuries of disputes. Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael I excommunicated each other, as both claimed apostolic succession.
1056-1125: Henry IV, son of Henry III, was Holy Roman Emperor, followed by his son – Henry V.
October-December 1066: The Battle of Hastings was a result of two Dukes believing they had the right to succeed Edward as King of England. The French speaking Duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror invaded England and defeated King Harold II. Christmas Day 1066, William was crowned King.
1066-1087: William rules as King of England. Though the nobles and court most often spoke French, the Anglo-Saxon people spoke English. Also, the ecclesiastical (church) offices continued to be held by the same bishops. William returned to Normandy, but appointed earls and other rulers. The English continued to resist the new French ruler; and of course, there were revolts of earls and raids from other nations – namely the Danish. William ordered the building of castles, including the Tower of London.
1087-1199: William II reign from the death of his father until his death in 1100, when he was succeeded by his brother Henry I. Henry had at least two dozen sons and daughters. Yet, after a son drowning and two marriages with no other sons, he declared that his heir would come from his daughter Matilda. However, after civil war, his nephew, Stephen held the throne until his death in 1154, when Henry II, son of Matilda received the reign from 1154 to 1189. His son was Richard the Lionheart, who was a leader in the Third Crusade and who was killed in 1199 at a castle in modern France.
1125-1197: Henry V ruled until his death in 1125, leaving no children, Lothair III, king of Germany, eventually received the reign as Holy Roman Empire, the died shortly afterwards. From 1155 to 1190, Fredrick Barbarossa, King of Italy, Germany and Burgundy, reign as Holy Roman Emperor. He helped establishment Corpus Juris Civilis (Roman rule of law, as opposed to papal ecclesiastical laws) throughout Central Europe. Barbarossa was succeeded by his son, Henry VI (1191-1197).
1199-1216: John, son of Henry II and brother of Richard, was King of England, though he lost his Duchy of Normandy to Philip II, son of King Louis VII of France. King John affixed his seal to the Magna Carta.
1215: After being confronted by about 40 barons in his kingdom, King John agreed to the Magna Carta Libertaum in order to avoid civil war in England. Weeks after Pope Innocent III nullified the agreement and thus caused years of internal war. The 1297 version (1 of 4 surviving copies) still exist.
The British Library notes: “Unlike most modern states, Britain does not have a codified constitution but an unwritten one formed of Acts of Parliament, court judgments and conventions… yet historically it has had a rich heritage of pioneering constitutional charters and documentation. First and foremost is Magna Carta (1215), the ‘Great Charter of the Liberties of England.’
Magna Carta (‘Great Charter’) in small part (translated into English from original Latin):
“JOHN, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitanine, and Count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his officials and loyal subjects, Greeting.
KNOW THAT BEFORE GOD, for the health of our soul and those of our ancestors and heirs, to the honour of God, the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom, at the advice of our reverend fathers… and other loyal subjects:
FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church’s elections – a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it – and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall obverse ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity… (63) IT IS ACCORDINGLY OUR WISH AND COMMAND that the English Church shall be free, and that men in our kingdom shall have and keep all these liberties, rights and concessions…”
This DID NOT change the fact that CHRISTIANITY was the State Religion, and that at the time the Catholic Church was ‘the holy Church;’ it only made clear that the Pope and bishops outside of England did not have authority over the heads, officials and bishops of England.
1347-1352: The Black Death bubonic plague originated in central Asia and was carried by fleas on rats and rodents on to Genoese trading ships which returned to Italy with the disease. It was also carried into Crimea by Mongol warriors. It is estimated that 30% to 50% of the populations died in the affected towns and cities. Some historians say about half of the European population was wiped out, between 25 and 30 million people and it would take over a century to recovery. The plague did help the poor workers get better wages, the ability to move up in class and was the turning point for the end of serfdom.
1366-1384: John Wycliffe (Johannis Wyclif; ‘Forerunner of the Reformation’), headmaster and a professor at Balliol College (University of Oxford) in England, head of Canterbury Hall, published ‘De Civili Dominio’ which had 18 theories opposing the wealth, corruption and governing methods of the Catholic clergy and stated that the king (of England) must know the Bible and govern in accordance with God’s law. Wycliffe said, “all Christian life is to be measured by Scripture… the Gospel alone (‘Scripture alone’ would be quoted by many Reformers) is sufficient to rule the lives of Christians everywhere…” He also said that “private confession (to a priest) was not ordered by Christ and was not used by the apostles.” Wyclif’s teachings became very popular with the English people but led to the Pope issuing ‘bulls’ against them. Years after his death, the Catholic Church would have his bones dug up and burned. About 1382 Wycliffe published what is said to be the first translation of the Bible in Middle English (against the Catholic Church ‘Latin’ only rule). https://ebible.org/pdf/engWycliffe/engWycliffe_all.pdf
1415: John Hus (Jan Husinec) of Bohemia (then controlled by Habsburgs) lived during the Great Schism of the Catholic Church (Western Schism 1378-1417; 3 men each claimed the status of Pope at the same time in France, Rome and Pisa). Hus, a preacher and teacher, was influenced by Wycliffe, and also rejected the indulgences and corruption of the Catholic Church and likewise preached to the Bohemians (Czechs) in the vernacular (their own language). For following ‘Wycliffism’ in Prague, Wycliffe’s works were gathered and destroyed, and Hus excommunicated by anti-pope Alexander V, and told he could not preach. Hus continued, and in 1415 he was burned at the stake under orders of Pisan Pope John XXIII. Wycliffe and Hus were significant influences on Luther, Calvin and a myriad that followed them. Hus had asked many times for a hearing where he could offer a defense but was denied fair process. Upon being condemned, Hus fell to his knees and asked God to forgive those that order his execution. As he was being burned, he was heard saying, “Christ, son of the Living God, have mercy on me.”
- 1440-1445: Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press in Germany. He produced also the 42-line Bible, the Gutenberg Bible and a Psalter. This invention would help fuel the Reformation. Gutenberg also printed the letter, Turkenkalender, a warning of a Turkish invasion after the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
1197-1493: After the death of the 31-year-old Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, Otto IV, King of the Romans, Italy and Burgundy, and rival king of Germany, would come to rule in 1209 until his death in 1215, when from 1220 to 1250 it was under Frederick II, son of Henry VI. Then his son, Henry VII ruled only one year and died, leaving the throne to Louis IV, son of Louis II and Matilda of Habsburg. Henry VII reigned for about 36 years and left 8 children. However, it was Charles IV, son of King John of Luxembourg and Queen Elisabeth of Bohemia, that succeeded and reigned from 1346 to 1378. Then, his oldest son, Wenceslaus became a king, but not Holy Roman Emperor, that was his brother Sigismund, King of Hungary, Croatia, Germany and Bohemia. Sigismund had no sons, so at his death in 1437 came Frederick III, son of the Hapsburg, Ernest the Iron and Cymburgis, Duchess of Austria. Frederick ruled for over 40 years and then his son, Maximilian I (of the House of Habsburg) became the Holy Roman Emperor.
1415-1485: Wars of the Roses, in England, was a series of civil wars between the House of York and the House of Lancaster, both were members of the Plantagenet family. At that time England was still suffering from the effects of the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) – fought over the control of France. In 1485, Richard III was killed in battle and the Tudors prevailed. In the end, England lost all its territory in France except Calais (until 1558), though many of its nobles became rich though the plundering of France. The war forced France to raise taxes to fund standing armies and to purchase new technology – gunpowder. These events also led to patriotism and a move towards nationalism.
1492: Christopher Columbus of Italy, funded and on behalf of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela of Spain, seeking a shorter passage to the West Indies in Asia (to avoid land travel through the Middle East), discovered the New World of the Americas (landed in the Bahamas, Caribbean).
1207-1509: After the death of John of England, his son Henry III reigned as King of England from 1216 to 1272. He agreed to rule according to the Great Charter of 1225, an amended and final version of the Magna Charter of 1215. Its clauses are on the Statute Book of the United Kingdom today. In 1216, the council of England shortened the Magna Charter from 63 to 42 clauses, removing those that dealt with temporary matters and certain political ones. In 1217, 4 clauses were added, and by 1225, it was ratified as the final version [(the 1628 Petition of Right and 1679 Habeas Corpus Act came from clause 39 of the 1215 version and influenced of the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights (1791) and Fourteenth Amendment (1868).]
Henry’s son Edward I reigned as King of England from 1272 to 1274; and he was succeeded by his son Edward II (1307-1327), and his son Edward III (1327-1377). Edward III’s oldest son died and his grandson Richard II reigned from 1377-1399, leaving no children, but leaving two wives: Queen Anne of Bohemia (died young – 28) and Queen consort Isabella (age 9 at his death), daughter of Charles VI.
This ended the House of Plantagenet and began the House of Lancaster as Henry IV, grandson of King Edward III took the reign from 1399 to 1413. He was followed by his son Henry V (1413-1422), and his son Henry VI (1422-1461) who become King of England and France before his first birthday (about 9 months old). He was followed by Edward IV (1461-1470), Duke of York and great-great grandson of King Edward III. Then was his son, Edward V, king for a year – for he died that year at age 13, when his brother Richard III became King of England (1483-1485), and then Henry VII (1485-1509), son of Edmund Tutor (half-brother to Henry VI) and Margaret – (beginning the House of Tutor).
1497-8: John Cabot of Italy, commissioned by King Henry VII claimed Newfoundland for England and then sailed toward Maine, as well as explored Labrador.
1500: Pedro Cabral of Portugal claimed Brazil for King Manuel I of Portugal.
(1500s; Mexica Empire; Aztec Empire included Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tiacopan)
1481: John II, King of Portugal, had the Fortress of St. George built at the gold mines of Mina (near Benin) Africa. Then part of modern Nigeria.
1494: The Treaty of Tordesillas was brokered between the Spain and Portugal. Due to Portugal’s colonies and Asia, it was agreed that Spain would get most of the New World. The treaty stipulated that if the land had a Christian king it would not be colonized, they knew that the Inca, Taino, Aztec and others were not Christians, and thus, the Spanish would soon conquer their nations (at first by trade and war, then unknowingly by disease). The treaty small part: “Don Ferdinand and Dona Isabella, by the grace of God king and queen… together with the Prince Don John, our …first-born son… (agree) In the name of God Almighty… in the year of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ 1494… grant… (lands) west of …Cape Verde Islands…. 370 leagues… a line shall be drawn north and south …from the Artic pole to the said Antarctic pole…”
1508-1806: Habsburg Holy Roman Emperors: Maximilian I (1508-1519); then his grandson Charles V, who was the last Holy Roman Emperor to be crowned by the Pope (1519-1556). He was followed by his brother Ferdinand I (1556-1564) who had over a dozen children, including Maximilian II who succeeded him (1564-1576); then his son Rudolf II (1576-1612). Rudolf only had one child and was succeeded by his brother Matthias (1612-1619); likewise, Matthias was succeeded by Ferdinand II (1619-1637) – his cousin and grandson of Ferdinand I. He was followed by his son, Ferdinand III (1637-1657); and his son Leopold I (1658-1705); and his son Joseph I (1705-1711); and his brother Charles VI (1711-1740) who was the last of the House of Habsburg. Next was Charles VII (1742-1745), who married Maria Amalia, daughter of Joseph I; Francis I (1745-1765), who married and reigned with Queen Maria Theresa daughter of Charles VI (only Female Habsburg Holy Roman Empress 1745-65); they had 15 children: their sons Joseph II (1765-1790) and Leopold II (1790-1792) succeeded Ferdinand. Then Leopold’s son, Francis II reigned from 1792 to 1806 when the Monarchy was abolished about 1,000 years after the coronation of Charlemagne. It ended after the creation of the Confederated States of the Rhine (états confédérés du Rhin), issued by Napoleon of France and 16 German rulers. This was done by the Treaty of Pressburg (1805), after Napoleon defeated Austria and Russia at Austerlitz. Ottoman – Habsburg Wars (Muslim Turks vs. Catholic Christians) were on going and sporadic from 1526 to 1791.
1509-: Kings of England: Henry VIII reign from 1509 to 1547 during the beginning of the Reformation and made revolutionary changes to the English Constitution and the Church of England, specifically appointing himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolving Catholic convents and monasteries in England. He was also known as ‘the father of the Royal Navy.’ Henry was followed by his son Edward VI (1547-1553) who died at age 15; then his mother Jane and sister Mary I both claimed the throne (1553-1558). ‘Bloody Mary,’ who was married to the Catholic Habsburg, King Philip of Spain, attempted to restore power to the Catholic Church in England. At her death, she was succeeded her sister by Queen Elizabeth I, the ‘Virgin Queen (she never married or had children),’ who ruled from 1558 to 1603. She was succeeded by her first cousin, James VI of Scotland (also called James I of England and Ireland; 1603-1625). Then his son, Charles I reigned (1625-1649) during a time of English Civil War. Then his son, Charles II was king until 1685, when his brother James II became king, briefly; he was the last Roman Catholic King of England. He was followed by King William III and his wife Queen Mary II (1689-1702). Prince William had come to England with an army and took the throne. William and Mary were crowned together, immediately he encouraged the passage of the Toleration Act of 1689. With no children, they were followed by Queen Anne, daughter of James II; then George I (1714-1727), her closet living Protestant relative. Then his son, George II, King of Great Britain (1727-1760); and George III (grandson of George II) who reign 1760 to 1820, during the American War of Independence.
1480-1492: In January 1492, before and eclipsed by Columbus’ discovery of the New World (though he claimed it was the West Indies), Muslim Moorish King Abu Muhammad XII Boabdil, ruler of Granada in Iberia (Spain), surrendered Granada to the Spanish. The Muslims had captured most of North Africa and ruled much of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) from 711 to 1492. In at least some part, the Jews and Muslims could CONVERT to Catholicism, LEAVE, or even DIE or be persecuted (lose property, etc.) – there were over a half million Muslims in Spain at that time, out of a population of about 7.5 million. It was a slow fade to this treated. Note: the Jews would lose their banks and businesses and lands and properties and loans and lessees and lives due from the Germans by way of the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.
The Treaty of the Kingdom of Granada (1491): “First, that the Moorish (Muslim) king and the military chiefs, jurists, judges, religious advisors, governors… and all of the commoners… shall, with love, peace and goodwill… within the next 40 days turn over …the fortress …all the Moors shall surrender… and without coercion …do what good and loyal vassals are obliged to do for their kings and natural lords… All of the Moors (Muslims of Moroccan, and Berbers – mixed Arab, Spanish, Amazigh) …from Granada and its lands… who want to go live in the Berber lands and any other place they wish may sell their estates, furniture and goods… to whomever they wish, and neither Their Highnesses nor their successors shall ever take away or permit to take away these things from those who purchased them… and shall give free and safe passage to those Moors… to go to the Berber Lands…. Moors are obliged to turn over… all of the Christian captives… without any ransom… (officials) shall not allow any Christians to enter in the mosques of the Moon where they pray, without the consent of their officials… Their Highnesses shall not permit Jews to have any power or authority over Moors… Moors shall be judged by Islamic law… and their judges… no Moor shall be forced to become Christian against his will…”
The Alhambra Decree (Decreto de la Alhambra) or Edict of Expulsion (1492): By Edict (law) the joint Catholic Monarchs ordered the expulsion of practicing Jews – over 200,000 Jews converted to Catholicism and approximately more than 70,000 were expelled. In small part the degree stated:
“King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, by the grace of God… to the… governors… councils… judges… bishoprics… dioceses… Whereas, we have been informed that in these our kingdoms there were some wicked Christians who Judaized and apostatized from our holy Catholic faith, the great cause of which was interaction between the Jews and these Christians, in the cortes which we held in the city of Teledo in the past year of… (1480), we Ordered the Separation of the said Jews in all the cities, towns and villages of our kingdoms…. and that they be given Jewish quarters and separated places where they should live… Now we knew that the true remedy for all these injuries and inconveniences was to prohibit all interaction between the said Jews and Christians and banish them from all our kingdoms…”
1478-1834 Spanish Inquisition: The JewishVirtualLibrary.org states that “the Inquisition …was actually instituted by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) in Rome… (And) Pope Gregory IX established the Inquisition, in 1233, to combat the heresy of the Abilgenes, a religious sect in France. By 1255, the Inquisition was in full gear throughout Central and Western Europe; although it was never instituted in England or Scandinavia.” However, the Inquisition is typically associated with the “Spanish Inquisition” whose principal movers were King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (who commissioned Columbus’ voyages); Pope Sixtus IV (who also was instrumental in the construction of the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Archives); and three Dominican’s (who were at the least part move by deceiving spirits) – Tomas de Torquemada, Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San Martin.
HistoryRevealed.com states, “Originally, the Inquisition was to ensure that those who had converted to Catholicism from Judaism or Islam had done so properly. This regulation intensified after two royal decrees were issued (in 1492 and 1501) ordering Jews and Muslims to choose baptism or exile. In the wake of the first decree, more than 160,000 Jews were forced to leave Spain. Anybody suspected of being a heretic was investigated, even those who had converted to Christianity. The Moriscos (former Spanish Muslims who had accepted baptism) faced persecution, as did followers of humanist scholar Desiderius Erasmus. The Inquisitor General (first – Torquemada) presided over the six members of the Council of the Suprema… Fourteen tribunals fed into the Suprema… two inquisitors and a prosecutor sat in each… with one inquisitor, the Alguacil, being responsible for detaining, jailing and physically torturing the defendant… methods of torture (varied from mild to extreme) …women, children… and the aged were not exempt. A popular torture method was the rack, which would stretch victims, while others involved suspending a person from the ceiling by the wrists… (also water boarding) so they felt like were drowning. Punishments ranged for wearing a penitential garment… (for the rest of their life in some cases), to acts of penance (including paying fines or bribes), lashings or, in the case of unrepentant or relapsed heretics, burning at the stake… estimates ranging from 30,000 to …300,000 (died)… however, some (say) …that just one percent of the 125,000 people believed to have been tried were executed… Napoleon’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte, King of Naples, Sicily and Spain (1808-1813) is credited with ending the Spanish Inquisition, although it wouldn’t be officially abolished by royal decree until July 1834.”
1513: Juan Ponce de León claims ‘Florida’ for Spain.
Now indulgences (method to remove part of the temporal punishment ‘in purgatory’ after death due to sins; of course none of this is biblical) were used and sold by priests and bishops for centuries; and approved by the Vatican of the Catholic Church; especially for the building of churches, such as being the primarily original funding for St. Peters Basilica. Around 1400, Geoffrey Chaucer (England) wrote ‘The Canterbury Tales,’ and here (c. 1476) a few decades after the printing press, the Satire was one of the most popular manuscripts in England and soon after parts of Europe. In “the Pardoner’s Tale” Chaucer wrote, “(With the disgusting Summoner is his friend… the even more corrupt Pardoner)… with him (Summoner) there rode a gentle PARDONER… hair as yellow as wax… his wallet lay before him in his lap bretfull of pardons (indulgences), come from Rome all hot… He muste preach and …he sang merrierly and loud… He said he had a gobbet of the sail that Sainte Peter had when that he went upon the sea, till Jesus Christ him hent. He had a cross of latten full of stone and in a glass …bones. But with these ‘relics’ when that he found a poore parson dwelling upon land, upon one day he go him more money than that the parson got in monthes… And thus, with feigned flattery and japes he made the parson and the people his apes…”
By the printing press, “Divine Comedy (written c.1320; printed 1472 by Angelini),” by Dante Alighieri (Italian), had much circulation (in 1871 translated by Longfellow). Dante mocked the teaching of Purgatory and the corruption of the Catholic Church, placing many in high positions in ‘the inferno’ of Hell. Dante uses Pope Boniface by name and speaks of the practice of selling indulgences or absolution saying, “Woe to thee… for gold and silver in adultery!… o Boniface! …so early dost thou surfeit with the wealth, for which thus fearedst not in guile to take… (Inf. Canto XIX)”
Thus, in a time of struggles between nations and religions, and of corruption, persecutions and past and current wars, but also increased education, expanding universities, city-states and towns, publication of books and news sources, trade between nations and other such progressions in culture, the Reformation came am burst open a door into the future that would never close. Through this door would flow a continued spirit of inventions, publications, platforms, profiteering, slave trading, explorations, striving for new borders and establishing of new political governments and religious denominations.
1517: The Augustinian monk (1505), Doctor of Theology (1512), and professor/lecturer at Wittenberg (1513-1516) Martin Luther, on October 31, 1517 (on All-hallows eve; Halloween; Eve of All Saints’ Day; Hallows = holy = kodesh and sanctus = saint), posted his 95 Theses at the University. The castle church in Wittenberg was loaded with relics of saints. [Note: Martin Luther changed his surname from ‘Luder;’ later Martin Luther King, Jr. changed from Michael] The 95 Theses translated in small part:
“Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements… those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
- When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent (Mt. 4:17),” He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance. 5. The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except by his own authority or canons. 10. Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory.
21, 27. Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved from every penalty and saved by papal indulgences… They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.
- Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.
- The treasures of indulgences are nets with which one now fishes for the wealth of men.
- Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love…
- Why does not the pope, whose wealth is today greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build this one basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers?
92, 94, 95. Away with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, ‘Peace, peace,’ and there is no peace (Jer. 6:14)!’ …Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, the Head, through penalties, death and hell. And thus, be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace (Acts 14:22).”
1518-1519: Luther posted the 95 Theses for his students, faculty and perhaps clergy in Wittenberg to debate or “dispute with him orally… (or) by letter (writing)” the “Truth” of these things. That never would happen – for instead, due to various parties, it became a fuse for an exploration. In 1518, the general chapter of the Augustinians of Heidelberg, Germany, met to speak on some of these topics. Luther’s superior, Johann Staupitz, gave Luther a chance to speak on the specific topics of sin, free will and grace. Luther presented 28 theological and 12 philosophical theses, and as agreed did not address indulgences or purgatory. It was here, the reformer Martin Bucer, heard and became a follower of Luther. On the other hand, Johann Eck defended the Catholic positions and pushed the issue into another Debate at Leipzig, July 1519. It was that Luther declared “Sola scriptura” (is the authority for Christian practice) and where he was labeled a heretic by Eck and thus, threaten with excommunication by Pope Leo X.
1520-22: Pope Leo X issued a bull, ‘Exsurge Domine,’ forbidding the preaching of Luther’s views and giving Martin Luther 60 days to recant or be excommunicated as a heretic. Even the all Catholic faculty at the University of Paris officially wrote against Luther. The debates and these things led to the Diet of Worms (near Frankfurt, Germany) which was called by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The assembly lasted for about 4 months. Luther again faced Eck, assistant of the Archbishop of the emperor. Only a few days did Luther speak. He was asked to recant but said that he apologized for the harsh tones of the writings, but not the substance and said, “If I recant these, I would be doing nothing but strengthening tyranny.” He concluded after several points of being pressed, “I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or (and) by clear reason, I am bound by the Scriptures… and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.”
Thus, Luther directly stood against or challenged the authority of the Pope over the Church and certain significant doctrines and traditions (required sacraments) of the Roman Catholic Church – teaching Salvation is by faith alone (sola fide) and through the Holy Scripture which stand as the highest order (sola scriptura) and should be open to the people in their own language.
The Edict of Worms declared Luther a heretic and he would have been killed if not for the protection of certain men of position; primarily his protector – Prince Frederick, who had Luther kidnapped and brought to Wartburg Castle, where he wrote the first German New Testament translation (1522).
1521: Ferdinand Magellan of Portugal, funded by King Charles V of Spain, sailed around South America and through the Pacific Ocean; and though he died that year, his crew completed the voyage and became the first to circumnavigate the globe.
1522: During the debates and decrees surrounding Luther, Thomas Muntzer of Zurich, Switzerland, and others laid the foundation for the Anabaptist Movement (while in Germany), and in 1522, Mantz, a friend of Huldrych Zuingli or Ulrich Zwingli (a leader of the Swiss Reformation), was jailed for preaching against the Catholic practice of infant baptism. Crowds of people were flocking to the preaching of the Reformers and opposed the Roman Catholic Church establishment in their lands.
1524-27: Thomas Müntzer, leader of the Swiss Anabaptists, moved the masses to revolting in Germany. At first Luther was with them, but then seeing their lack of control, he sought for peaceful resolve, but it was too late. The Princes and their land already recently had Revolts due to high taxes. Now, they had the Great German Peasant War, which was as much about class struggle and religious reform. Two of the peasant’s demands: to elect their own clergy and have the ‘great tithe (10%)’ go for public purposes after a reasonable pastor’s salary. The princes assembled their armies and hired mercenaries, in the end, tens of thousands on both sides were killed. The people did not get their demands but fueled the Reformation.
1522-25: Luther New Testament in German (1522); Jacques Lefevre French New Testament (1523); Zwingli Swiss New Testament (1525); William Tyndale’s English New Testament (1525).
1527: Henry VIII sought to divorce Catherine of Aragon for not giving him a son; he wanted his mistress Anne Boleyn. At the same time, the Holy Roman Empire attacked and destroyed part of Rome. Thomas Crammer and Thomas Cromwell, both Protestants, made the case that the King is not subject to the Pope. Crammer, Archbishop of Canterbury, granted the divorce; and in 1533, the pregnant Boleyn became queen of England. Boleyn gave birth to Elizabeth I. Henry moved on to adultery with Jane Seymour, but it was Anne that was executed for adultery and conspiracy against the king. Jane Seymour, in 1537 did produce a son – Edward VI, then Jane die of complications from the birth. Edward also died young leaving the reign to his Catholic half-sister, Mary I in 1544, then Elizabeth I in 1558 after Mary died of influenza.
1530: In 1530, during a period when the Muslims were attacking Austria, Emperor Charles V attempted to reunite the Reformers and the Roman Catholic Church. By this time Luther’s teachings had spread through much of Western Europe. The Lutherans did agree to meet at Augsburg, Germany. Luther was still wanted, so his associate Philip Melanchthon, of the University of Heidelberg, went in his place. They did not reunite with the Catholic, but seven Lutheran princes and representatives of two German cities produced the Augsburg Confession of the Lutheran faith and a statement concerning world affairs:
“…All Powerful Emperor, Caesar Augustus… Your Royal Majesty has called a council of the empire here at Augsburg to discuss what to do against the Turks, that most fearful and longtime enemy of our Christian name and religion… also to consider the disagreements about our holy religion and Christian faith… We …electors, princes and other leaders… (we write in) German and Latin… we are making every effort to bring about Christian harmony… and we remain firm in seeking support from Your Royal Majesty…
Chief Articles of Faith: Our churches are united in teaching what the Council of Nicaea decreed: …one divine being, but there are three persons… one divine God… He is eternal, has no body… He is the maker and preserver of all things… yet there are also three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit… Our churches also teach that since Adam’s fall into sin, all who … are born with sin… without the fear of God… and with evil desires. This disease, or original sin, truly is sin. It condemns and brings eternal death to those not born again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit… Our churches also teach that humans cannot be justified before God by their own power, merits or deeds. Rather, they are freely justified for Christ’s sake through faith… We teach that this faith must bring forth good fruits and one must do the good works commanded by God… The church actually is the gathering of all saints and true believers… About Baptism our churches teach that it is necessary for salvation, and that through Baptism God offers us His grace. Also, children ought to be baptized… We condemn the Anabaptists who reject the baptizing of children and say that children are saved without Baptism… our churches teach that the body and blood of Christ are truly present under the forms of the bread and wine and are given to those who eat the Lord’s Supper… For those who have fallen from faith after Baptism there is forgiveness of sins whenever they repent… We condemn the Anabaptists who say that those who have once been justified cannot lose the Holy Spirit… our churches also teach that at the end of the world, Christ will appear as a judge. He will raise up all the dead. He will give eternal life… to the elect. But He will condemn the ungodly… we condemn the Anabaptists who think that the punishment of demons and those people whom God condemns will not last forever… Human will …has no power, without the Holy Spirit, to produce righteousness… But this righteous is produced in the heart when the Holy Spirit is received through the Word… We agree that all people have a free will… with its human reason, but is cannot, without God… complete any godly things…”
1530-33: King Henry VIII had Parliament issue the Great Statute of Praemunire. In 1392, King Richard II, issued the Statute of Praemunire to limit the powers of the bishops of Rome. This was reaffirmed and strengthened by Henry VIII by the Act in Restraint of Appeals (1533). The Act drafted by Thomas Cromwell on behalf of the King. The Act forbade all appeals to the Pope or Rome. It was followed by the Act of Supremacy of 1534 which would forever separate England from any authority of the Vatican.
1532: Supplication against the Ordinaries: Henry VIII, still a Catholic, backed the Petition passed by House of Commons in Parliament against certain acts of clergy who commit a “breach of your peace within this your most Catholic realm” in England.
1534: According to www.parliament.uk concerning the Act of Supremacy 1534: “Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy which defined the right of Henry VIII to be supreme head on earth of the Church of England, thereby severing ecclesiastical links with Rome.”
1535: Henry VIII commands all foreign Anabaptists and Sacramentarians to leave the realm. That year about two dozen Anabaptists were arrested, and about 20 were condemned for heresy and burned at the stake in Smithfield, England. The Anabaptists were persecuted by the Catholics since at least 1527 and their published Schleitheim Confession of faith – now by Protestants as well. In 1539 a pardon was issued.
1536: On orders from King Henry VIII, Sir Thomas More and Bishop Stokesley, William Tyndale was tracked down as a heretic and killed in Antwerp after finishing the Old Testament in English. The year before in the dungeons at Vilvoorde, he wrote, “Faith Alone Justifies before God.” As he was being executed his last words were, “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.” Tyndale’s New Testament was translated from the Hebrew and Greek, the 1611 King James Version is over half from Tyndale’s translation, and he was the first to use “Jehovah” as God’s name; also, the word “mercy seat.”
1536: A few years after Civil War in his kingdom, King Christian III of Denmark and Norway separated from the Roman Catholic Church and proclaimed that Lutheranism was the state religion. [In 2020, about 75% in Denmark are registered Evangelical Lutheran, though less than a fifth are religious.]
1538: King Henry VIII issued a Royal Commission of bishops “to search for and examine Anabaptists, receive back into the Church such as renounce their error, hand over …and destroy all books of that detestable sect.” A month later Henry made a Proclamation “exiling Anabaptists, depriving married clergy, and removing Thomas a’ Becket, archbishop of Canterbury. In 1539 he pardoned the Anabaptists.
1539: Henry VIII, rejected Lutheranism and supported the Statute of Six Articles:
“This Act, introduced by the Duke of Norfolk, was passed in June 1539. Where the king’s most excellent majesty is, by God’s law, supreme head immediately under Him of this whole Church and congregation of England, intending the conservation of the same Church… of Christ’s religion… has commanded this his most High Court of Parliament… to be at this time summoned, and also a synod… of all bishops… assembled… thirdly, priests may not marry… fifthly… private mass may be continued… further…“
1539-1542: Hernando de Soto of Spain was exploring Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi; and became the first European to cross the Mississippi River. Some say his exploration mapped as many as is nine current U.S. states. In 1540, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) formed; in 1542 Roman Inquisition began.
1536-46: In 1536, John Calvin published Institutes of the Christians Religion (but he would continue to work and republish with additions and minor revisions until 1559); in 1540 Calvin publish his Commentary on Romans (and over some years produce his masses work covering the whole bible; one can see in his commentary on Hebrews 10:26 that he did not believe in ‘once saved always saved:’ saying: “For if we sin willfully, or voluntary. He shows how severe a vengeance of God awaits those who fall away from the grace of Christ; and for being without that one true salvation, they are now as it were given up to an inevitable destruction… fallen after baptism… wholly alienate themselves from Christ…” In 1541, the year after he married Idelette, a widow of an Anabaptist, Calvin was in Geneva establishing the Reformation Church. Calvin worked with and communicated with many such as Lefevre and Farel; he sought to work with Luther, but Martin was too ill and died in 1546 – years before Calvin’s death in 1564. Before Luther died, he left many works, including their Catechism and Liturgy reforms.
1545- (about 25 sessions to 1563): The Council of Trent: Catholic.com states “the 19th ecumenical council opened at Trent on December 13, 1545… closed December 4, 1563. Its main object was the definitive determination of the doctrines of the Church in answer to the heresies of the Protestants…” [ALTHOUGH ‘Heresies’ and ‘heretics’ are usually a matter of dispute and perspective.] Nevertheless, some bishops sought reform and others sought clarification of Catholic doctrines; and a compromise was reached. The Niceno-Constantinopolian Creed was accepted, the canonization of the Old and New Testaments were fixed, the number of sacraments were fixed at seven, and the majority ruled against Luther’s justification by faith alone. Basically, one could not be saved outside the Catholic Church and their sacraments.
CANON IX: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified… let him be anathema.”
1544-1550: Henry VIII sanctioned the first official Liturgy in English. The work was done by Archbishop Cranmer. In 1548, after the death of his father Henry VIII, Edward and Parliament approved The Order of Communion. January 1549, the Act of Uniformity passed by the House of Lords abolished the Latin mass in England; the Book of Common Prayer (drafted by Cranmer) was issued with the Act.
1550-56: About 1550, King Edward issued a commission “to search after all Baptists.” Joan of Kent, among others was burnt at the stake. During that same time, he commissioned England’s first Prayer book. In 1556, Thomas Cranmer was imprisoned by the Catholic Queen ‘bloody’ Mary I, and with as many as 300 other dissenters during her reign, he was executed, most burned at the stake, for heresy or not recanting and rejoining the Catholic Church. Henry VIII had executed about 81 people for heresy. Elizabeth I also executed scores of people. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was published in 1563 and detailed many of these accounts. It quickly became one of the most read works for centuries. Mary died in 1558.
1555: Treaty of Augsburg or Peace of Augsburg: a treaty between Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (predecessor of Ferdinand I), and the Schmalkaldic League (Protestant alliances).
1550s-1598: According to the Huguenot Society of America, “Protestantism was quickly embraced by members of the nobility, by the intellectual elite, and by professionals in trades, medicine, and crafts. It was a respectable movement involving the most responsible and accomplished people of France. It signified their desire for greater freedom religiously and politically. The names of Huguenot leaders at that time included the royal houses of Navarre, Valois and Conde’ …Marguerite d’Angouleme, whom scholars have called ‘the first modern woman,’ was an early supporter of reform in the Catholic Church. Marguerite (grandmother of Henry IV) influenced her brother, Francis I, to be lenient with the Huguenots. The Huguenot Church grew rapidly. At its first synod in 1559, 15 churches were represented. Over 2,000 churches sent representatives to the synod in 1561. In the beginning, the Huguenots were greatly favored by Francis I… However, 90% of France was Roman Catholic, and the Catholic Church was determined to remain the controlling power… Inevitably, there were clashes… many …into the shedding of blood…’
“Finally, Catherine de’ Medici (widow of Henry II, son of Francis I), with the Duke of Guise… (and the Catholic) Church organized a deadly act. Thousands of Huguenots were in Paris celebrating the marriage of Henry of Navarre to Marguerite de Valois… 1572… soldiers and organized mobs fell upon the Huguenots, and thousands of them were slaughtered… Civil wars followed… 1590, Prince Henry of Navarre led Huguenot forces against the Catholic League …in Normandy, resulting in a decisive victory. Then… 1598, as the newly crowned Henry IV, he issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted to the Huguenots toleration and liberty to worship in their own way… However, about 100 years later, 1685, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes… Huguenots were ordered to renounce their faith and join the Catholic Church. They were denied exit from France upon pain of death. And Louis XIV hired 300,000 troops to hunt the heretics down and confiscate their property. This revocation caused France to lose half a million of its best citizens. It was not until November 28, 1787, after the United States of America had gained its independence from England, that the Marquis de Lafayette, who was impressed by the fact that so many of the American leaders were of Huguenot descent, persuaded Louis XVI and the French Council to adopt an Edict of Toleration guaranteeing religious freedom to all in France.”
(Reformation Wall; Geneva, Switzerland: Farel, Calvin, Beza and Knox)
[William Farel, France (d.1565); John Calvin, France (d.1564); Theodore Beza (d.1605); John Knox (d.1572)]
1547-1560s: In 1547, the preacher John Knox was taken prisoner after the siege on St. Andrews, Scotland. He and others were released after a year and a half. He went to England for five years, from which under the Catholic Mary Tudor, was forced to flee through France to Geneva, where he met John Calvin. After working with other Protestant refugees in Germany, Knox made it back to Scotland in 1559, from where after the 1560 Treaty of Berwick & Treaty of Edinburgh (forces of England and France agreed to leave Scotland), he was commissioned by Scotland’s Parliament to write the Scottish: Confession of Faith, First Book of Discipline and the Book of Common Order. These, of course upon the Holy Bible, formed Scotland’s Presbyterianism, which was influenced by Calvin. As Knox preached in Edinburgh, he also wrote History of the Reformation of Religion in Scotland. In 1559, Theodore Beza (Théodore de Bèze), with John Calvin, founded the Geneva Academy, which Knox called “the most perfect school of Christ was ever on earth since the days of the apostles.” Theodore Beza, a disciple of Calvin, succeeded him after his death in 1564; and led the Reformed Church in Geneva until his death in 1605.
1565: St. Augustine, Florida became the first permanent European settlement in what would become the United States of America. It was settled by Pedro de Aviles of Spain.
1562-98: French Wars of Religion between Catholics and Protestants were eight (8) civil wars that were occasionally interrupted by breaks of temporarily peace. During this time, the Huguenot’s (French Protestants – Protest-ers of the Catholic Church, followers of Calvin: the Reformed Church of France) found that they could no longer trust in life, liberty and peace under the Catholic throne. In 1572, at the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, thousands of Huguenots were killed by Catholics. The Edict of Nantes would end the war, but not before between 2 to 4 MILLION were killed by war, famine or disease. The wars weakened the monarchy, but it would be another 200 years before the French Revolution.
1568: Eighty Years’ War between the Dutch and Catholic Spain began. After these revolts of the Seventeen Provinces (now Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg), with whom England, France and Scotland allied against Spain and Portugal, the United Netherlands or Dutch Republic received independence.
1575-76: During the 17th year of Elizabeth’s reign, 27 Baptist were imprisoned, and many were banished from England, two were burnt at the stake in Smithfield. In 1576, a Royal Proclamation stated that all Baptists and other heretics should leave England.
1584: Walter Raleigh landed at Roanoke Island in the New World and claims it ‘Virginia’ in honor of Queen Elizabeth (Virginia – after Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the ‘New World.’ The colony at Roanoke disappeared quickly.
1598: Edict of Nantes, signed by King Henry IV: translated in very brief part:
“Henri, by the Grace of God, King of France and Navarre, to all… after armed conflict and hostilities having ceased throughout the interior of the kingdom, we hope for equal success in what remains to be settled, and that by this means we shall attain to the establishment of a good peace… for which we have always hoped and prayed. …we have received from many of our Catholic provinces and cities, that the exercise of the Catholic religion was not universally reestablished as is stipulated by the edicts hitherto made for the pacification of troubles on account of religion; as well as supplications and remonstrances which have been made to up by our subjects of the so-called Reformed religion… in regard to what they wished to be added to these edicts for the practice of their religion, liberty of conscience, and the safety of their persons and property… (we do so) that that is please God, and (for) …His holy name and service, and to bring it about that He should be worshiped and adored by all our subjects; and if it has not yet pleased Him that this should be by one and the same form of religion, then it should be at least be with the same intention, and under such a rule that there should arise not tumult and disturbance on account of it among them, and that we and this kingdom may forever merit and preserve the tide of Most Christian, which has been held for so long and for such merits; and by the same means to take away the cause of evil and trouble which may arise on account of religion… On this occasion, having recognized the affair as one of GREAT IMPORTANCE and worthy of the very greatest consideration, after receiving the collections of complaints of our Catholic subjects and having also permitted our subjects of the so-called Reformed religion to assemble by deputies and draw up their own… remonstrances… and having reviewed the preceding edicts (laws), we have thought it necessary, at this time, to give to all our subjects a general law on all this, clear and precise and absolute, by which they might be governed with regard to all such differences as have hitherto sprang up, or may hereafter arise…
First, that the memory of everything which has occurred between one side and the other since the beginning of the month of March 1585… shall remain extinct… as though they had never happened…
(2) We forbid all our subjects… from renewing memory of those things, attacking, resenting, injuring or provoking one another… We command that he Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic religion shall be reinstated and reestablished in all places and parts of this our kingdom and the lands under our obedience where its exercise has been interrupted, that it may be peaceably and freely exercised without any disturbance or impediment. Expressly forbidding every person of whatever estate… under the above-mentioned penalties, from troubling, disturbing or molesting ecclesiastics and collection of the tithes, fruits and revenues of their benefices, and all other rights and duties belonging to them, and that all those who have taken possession of churches, houses, goods, and revenues belonging to the said ecclesiastics during the troubles, and who still hold and occupy them, place the ecclesiastics back in full possession and quiet enjoyment thereof, with such rights, liberties, and security as they had before they were dispossessed. Also expressly forbidding …the Reformed religion from preaching or otherwise exercising that religion in the churches, houses and habitations of the said ecclesiastics (said Catholics)…
(17) We forbid all preachers, readers, and others who speak in public from using any words, discourses, and terms tending to excite the people to sedition… (20) The so-called Reformed religion shall be required to keep and observe the feasts prescribed in the Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and shall not work, sell or open their shops on those days, neither shall artisans work outside their shops and in closed rooms and houses, on the said feast days, and other forbidden days…
(21) Books concerning the said so-called Reformed religion may not be printed and sold publicly except in the cities and places where the public exercise of the said religion is permitted…
(22) We order that there shall be no difference or distinction made with regard to the said religion in receiving students to be instructed in the universities, colleges and schools, as well as for the sick and poor in hospitals, sickhouses and public charities…
(23) Those of the so-called Reform religion shall be required to keep the laws of the Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church received in this our kingdom with regard to …marriages…
1607-1619: In 1606, King James I granted a charter to the Virginia Company of London to establish an English settlement in the Chesapeake region. December 1606, 104 ‘settlers’ sailed from London to the New World to build a secure settlement, find gold and seek a water route to the Pacific. May 1607, Captain John Smith landed at Jamestown Island near the Chesapeake Bay and after fighting famine, disease and Indians, they – with help from Powhatan Indians – survived and built until hundreds and then thousands immigrated into the Colony. The Church of England in America began that 1607. The Colony did begin to receive slaves, John Rolfe planted tobacco (1612) and in 1619 established the Virginia General Assembly or First Representative Assembly in North America; they elected officials in a church building. In 1619, Virginia sought to make the Church of England of the established religion of the colony.
1611: King James Bible (KJV) was translated into English from the Latin Vulgate of Jerome (397); Wycliffe Bible (1382); Erasmus’ Greek NT (1516); Martin Luther’s German Translation (1522); William Tyndale English N. T. (1527); Miles Coverdale Revision (1535); Geneva Bible (1560 – Middle English); and others.
1620: Mayflower Compact and Plymouth Colony: September 1620, the Mayflower left England and set sailed for Virginia, many to become indentured servants for the London Company. However, they were blow off course and landed near what is now Plymouth. About half of the 102 passengers had fled from persecution in Holland and separated from the Church of England. These separatists were called Pilgrims. Deciding to start a colony, they wrote the Mayflower Compact (adopted 11/11/1620):
“In the name of God, Amen. We… the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc., having undertaken, for the glory God, and the advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia…. combine ourselves together into a civil body politic… to enact… just and equal laws… constitutions… Anno Domini 1620.” They stated the first Congregational Church in America in Plymouth in 1620.
1618-1648: Thirty Years’ War was mainly fought in Germany primarily between the Holy Roman Empire with the Catholic League and Spanish Empire (Habsburgs), Hungary and Poland; versus the Dutch Republic, France and Sweden with help from England, Scotland and Russia. Denmark-Norway switch sides during the wars. After about 8 MILLION DEATHS the war ended with the Peace of Westphalia.
1624-30: Verrazano was the first European to discover New York Harbor (1524). Henry Hudson sailed up the ‘Hudson River’ for England. But it was the Dutch that founded the first permanent trading post about 1624. New Netherland colony was established by the Dutch West India Company, and ‘New Amsterdam’ in 1626 (changed 1674 to New York after British took it – for Duke of York, brother of King Charles II). John Winthrop gave “we shall be a city upon a hill” speech to fellow Puritans (1630; note Matthew 5:14).
1636: Harvard College (‘New College’) was founded in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature and Christian ministers for Christians; motto – truth. Reverend John Harvard donated the land and his library to the school. As stated by a founder: “After God had carried us safely to New England, and we had built our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the civil government; one of the next things we longed for, and looked after was an advance learning, and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” (Note: 1692, Increase Mather was awarded Harvard’s first Doctor of Divinity degree; 1776, 8 Harvard alumni signed the Declaration of Independence; 1787, John Q. Adams graduated.) NOTE: 1636: Roger Williams began Rhode Island Colony.
1639: In 1609, John Smyth and Thomas Helwys founded the first Baptist congregation in Amsterdam, Holland. After much persecution in Europe, many made their way to the New World. Roger Williams was one of those who fled the Old World, through England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631. After five years as a Separatist within the Church of England, he was banished from Massachusetts by the British for opposing the state-supported religion. William’s began a new colony in Rhode Island and in 1639 founded the first Baptist church in the Americas.
January 14, 1639: Connecticut adopted the “Fundament Orders” – the first constitution in colonies.
1640-42: The Virginia General Assembly (1619) created the House of Burgesses in Jamestown (1642), it is still in existence, but changed to the House of Delegates in 1776. The first book printed in America was the 1640 Bay Psalm Book of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1642-47: In 1642, Massachusetts Bay Colony (General Court) passed the first law in the Americas requiring that children be taught to read and write, that all “towns… maintain a grammar school.” In 1647, the Massachusetts (Puritan majority) legislature passed the Old Deluder Satan Act: “It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures… It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read… and …when any town shall increase to… 100 families or householders, they shall set up a grammar school…”
1648 Peace Treaty of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years’ War. The Austrian Habsburgs were unable to impose Roman Catholicism on their Protestant subjects in Bohemia. The war caused strife between Catholics and Protestants and arguments between themselves as well; more so, it involved so many lands: France against the Holy Roman Empire and Spain, the German princes against the emperor and each other, and the Swedes, Danes, Poles, Russians, Dutch and Swiss seeking to keep political control. In the end, Netherlands gained independence from Hapsburg Spain, Sweden and France gained territories, the German princes gained more sovereignty and the Protestants more freedom.
1642-1651: English Civil War: Primarily over who and how England would be represented and governed. The Parliamentarians won over the Royalists, Charles I was executed and Charles II exiled; and the English monarchy was replaced by the Commonwealth of England (1649-1659) and then the Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell (1653-1658) and the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660, who reigned until 1685.
1648: The Congregationalists in New England developed the Cambridge Platform in response to the Presbyterians the criticized certain religious beliefs of theirs. The platform followed much of the Westminster Confession of Faith (Church of England, 1646) and Puritan teachings of Richard Mather and John Cotton. According to ‘The Oxford History of Protestant Dissenting Traditions, Vol. III (2017),’ “Congregational and Presbyterian women were crucial to the three most important reform movements of the nineteenth century—antislavery, temperance, and missions.”
1649: Maryland Toleration Act 1649: In 1608, Captain John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay. In 1631, an English trading post was established on Kent Island, and in 1632, King Charles granted Maryland Charter to Calvert, second Lord Baltimore – a devout Catholic seeking a colony for Catholics (ironically it was mostly Protestant). In 1656, Maryland held a General Provincial Court. (Slavery was allowed by law in 1664). Due to mixed CHRISTIAN denominations and the desire for peaceful assembly, they passed the Maryland Toleration Act: “Forasmuch as in well governed and Christian Common Wealth matters concerning Religion and the honor of God ought in the first place to be taken, into serious consideration… Be it therefore ordered and enacted by the Right Honourable Cecilius Lord Baron of Baltimore… and consent of this General Assembly: that whatsoever person… blaspheme God, that is Curse him, or deny our Saviour Jesus Christ to be the son of God, or shall deny the holy Trinity the Father, Son and holy Ghost, or the Godhead… shall be punished with death and confiscation or forfeiture of all his or her lands and goods… (no) persons (shall) in a reproachful manner (act toward)… Creeks… puritan, Independent, Prespiterian, papist, Lutheran, Calvenist, Anabaptist… Separatist… relating to matter of Religion…”
1655-70: The Dutch captured the Swedish fort/colony (1638) and make it part of New Netherland. King Charles II established the Carolina Colony (1663). In 1664, the English took New Netherlands from the Dutch and renamed it New York. In 1670, Charleston, South Carolina was founded.
1679-82: New Hampshire Colony broke apart from Massachusetts and made its own colony. In 1680, the Portuguese founded a colony at Sacramento (California). Penn obtained territory in current Delaware in 1682; at that time De la Salle claimed Louisiana (New Orleans founded 1718) for France and named in honor of King Louis and Queen Anna of France; in 1803 the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon would double the size of the United States.
1681: William Penn (friend of Quaker founder George Fox) was granted a charter from King Charles II to establish the colony of Pennsylvania. Penn was a Quaker (‘quake’ at the name of God) and sought a place for Quakers (only Church of England/Anglican Church was legal in England) to settle and worship in peace. In the 1650s many Quakers made Boston their home until they were persecuted by the Puritans.
1670s-80s: The 1598 Edict of Nantes by Henry IV of France granting toleration to Protestants was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. This renewed persecution against the Huguenots (mostly Calvinist) and by 1690, more than 400,000 had emigrated to England, Prussia, Holland and America. From 1660 to 1714, about 50,000 fled to England during Louis XIV’s reign. It is reported that most French Canadians can trace their ancestry to the original settlers who arrived in New France between 1665 and 1739. In 1675, the Quakers had passenger ships arriving in Salem and Delaware Bay. By 1750, the would be one of the largest religious denominations in the American colonies. New Netherland grew from about 2,000 in 1648 to about 10,000 in 1660, about half were Dutch. In 1683, Dutch and German groups had bought land in Pennsylvania – to flee persecution in Europe (and parts of the colonies) – and founded Germantown, PA. Most of the German Palatinate would resettle in Ireland and America in 1709. It would not be until the 1800s that the Irish and Italians immigrate to the United States in any significant portion.
1687: Scottish Declaration of Toleration: “James VII, by the Grace of God, King of Scotland, England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, to all …our good subjects… We have taken into our royal consideration the many and great inconveniences which have happened to that our ancient Kingdom of Scotland of late years, through different persuasions in the Christian religion… (even) among professors …And being resolved to unite the hearts and affections of our subjects, to God in religion… we grant our royal toleration… we allow and tolerate the moderate Presbyterians to meet in their private houses, and there to hear all such ministers… In like manner, we do hereby tolerate Quakers to meet and exercise in their form, in any place appointed for their worship. And considering the severe and cruel laws made against Roman Catholics (papists)… allow our Roman Catholic subjects to exercise their religious worship in houses or chapels; and that they presume not to preach in the open fields, or to invade the Protestant churches by force… nor to make public processions in the high-streets…”
c.1688: The New England Primer was published by Benjamin Harris who fled to Boston in 1686 to escape persecution from Catholics in England during the reign of James II. According to The New-England Primer: A History of its Origin and Development (Ford, 1897), “The earliest of this combination of school book and catechism, so far discovered, was Bastingius’ “Catechisme of Christiane Religion’ …printed in Edinburgh in 1591. In 1631, Bishop Bedell’s catechism was printed in Dublin, in the same manner. ‘The A B C The Catechism… in 1636. Ten years later the ‘Catechism for young Children appointed by act of the Church of Scotland…’ In England more care had to be taken, for as late as 1666, one Benjamin Keach was tried for writing ‘The Child’s Instructor, or a New and Easy Primer,’ which contained a catechism with leanings towards Anabaptism… In 1670 George Foxe issued his ‘Primer and Catechism…’ intended to make a Quaker of the student. One of the gravest difficulties to the early Separatists in both Old and New England, was the question of what catechism to teach their children…’
“…Long after Cotton Mather asserted… that ‘few pastors of mankind ever took such pains at catechizing as have been taken by our New England divines… Benjamin Harris began printing in London… In 1692 he …became ‘Printer to His Excellency the Governor and Council (of Boston)… Before his flight in 1686 to Boston, ‘Mr. Harris… Printed the Protestant Tutor…’ no copy of his first edition of the New England Primer is known… It was between 1687 and 1690 that …the Primer was issued… When the United States became a fact, it was several times printed under the titles of ‘the American Primer.’ …For one hundred years this Primer was the schoolbook of the dissenters of America… It taught millions to read and not one to sin…“ The Primer included this pledge from the child: “I will fear God and honour the King. I will honour my Father and Mother. I will obey my superiors. I will submit to my elders, I will love my friends, I will hate no man. I will forgive my enemies… I will …keep all God’s Holy Commandments.”
1689: Act of Toleration: “Be it enacted by the King’s and Queen’s… with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons, in this present Parliament (Britain)… that (previous statutes) that required all those who did not have reasonable excuses to attend their parish church, chapel or other usual place where the common prayer is used…, nor any other law… made against papists… shall be construed to extend to any person or persons dissenting from the Church of England who shall take …these oaths… ‘ I do solemnly declare before God and the world, that I will be true and faithful to King William and Queen Mary; and …that no foreign prince, person, state… hath …any power …or authority ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm.’ And… ‘I profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His eternal Son, the true God, and in the Holy Spirit, one God blessed for evermore, and do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration’.”
1689-90: John Locke published Two Treatises of Government, and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). During the 1700s these works would be used in universities and influenced many of the drafters and signers of the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution. John Locke wrote, “All men by nature are equal in that equal right that every man hath to his natural freedom, without being subjected to the will or authority of any other man; being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.” Also: “…all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery.”
1701: Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges (Charter of Liberties, pre-constitution): “Be it known to all, I, William Penn, do declare that all Freeman, Planters, and Adventures in this territory have the following liberties and privileges: Because no people can be truly happy without having civil liberties, the right of freedom of conscience to practice their religious beliefs is guaranteed provided that they believe in one almighty God. They will not be made to do anything against their religious beliefs. All persons who are Christians may serve in the government… all criminals shall have the right to call witnesses to testify at trials. Because freedom of conscious is so important… I …Governor of Pennsylvania declare for myself and my heirs that these liberties will be held by the people forever.”
1703: Delaware: In 1610, Delaware Bay and River was named after Lord De La War, the governor of Virginia. In 1623, the Dutch rebuilt Fort Nassau on the banks of the Delaware River. In 1638, Adolphus, King of Sweden, purposed a colony in the Americas. Swedes and Finns traveled to the colonies that year and began the first permanent settlement on the Delaware – New Sweden Colony. In 1651, the Dutch built a fort on the Delaware, and in 1655 attacked and took the land – renaming it New Netherland. In 1664, the British drove the Dutch out and claim the land. The Dutch and English again each took it in 1673-74. In 1682, the Duke of York sold part of the land to William Penn and the English Quakers. Penn gave it to Peter Minuit. In 1701, Delaware was separate from Pennsylvania and in 1703 created its own legislature. December 7, 1787, Delaware was the first colony to be admitted to the union and become a state.
1707: The Parliaments of England and Scotland by Treaty signed the Acts of Union in which they agreed to be “United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain.” The United Kingdom of Great Britain was replaced by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (Acts of Union 1800) after Great Britain and Ireland merged.
1707-1719: The Presbytery of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Baptist Association both had their beginnings about 1707. The first general meeting of American Presbyterians was in 1716. The first members of the Brethren came to Germantown in 1719 and had their first meeting in 1723.
1732: Georgia: James Oglethorpe, having a vision for a place for released debtors and poor from Britain, was granted a colony charter from King George II and named the colony in honor of the king.
1643-1715: Louis XIV, king of France, was the longest reigning monarch in European history (72.3 years). He abolished the Edict of Nantes, thus forcing the Huguenots to convert to Catholicism or flee France.
1700 to 1780: about 280,000 Africa slaves were brought to the thirteen colonies.
1748: France’s Baron de Montesquieu published The Spirit of the Laws (1748), in which he coined the term ‘trias politica’ or ‘separation of powers.’ He classified governments into republican, monarchies, and despotisms; and purported that a successful government needs a division of functions: Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. Montesquieu’s theory and history shown that no one person or body should be vested with all powers. “In every government there are three sorts of power: the legislative; the executive in respect to things dependent on the law of nations… the second …makes peace or war, sends or receives embassies, establishes the public security… By the third, he punishes criminals or determines the disputes that arise between individuals. The latter we shall call the judiciary power… When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty …lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner. …Again, there is no liberty if the judiciary power by not separated from the legislative and executive. Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control; for the judge would be then the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with violence and oppression… the executive power should be exercised by the monarch…”
Those Washington and many, did not and would not accept a monarchy, Montesquieu did significantly influence the founding fathers. He, John Locke and Jean Rousseau were the most important political philosophers and influencers of the Founding Fathers in writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Montesquieu, Rousseau and Voltaire were influential to the French Revolution (1789).
1750s-1760s: After the world being plagues with hundreds of wars in the last centuries, again there were more striving for WAR: Wealth, Acquisition of lands and Rule or power. Just recently finishing the Ottoman Wars, War of the Quadruple Alliance (Great Britain, France, Holy Roman Empire and Dutch Republic) vs. Spain, Wars of Polish and Austrian Succession, Russian vs. the Ottoman Turks, and the First Carnatic War, we still find Great Britain and France at odds, in the Second Carnatic War (1749-1754), the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), and the Third Carnatic War (1757-1763). And of course, all able European and Asian powers were exploring and colonizing whatever they could take and control. Being spread out the British still sought to pridefully exercise their rule.
1751: The Parliament of Great Britain passed the Currency Act. This Act sought to reduce the instability of the varying worth of the bills that were not backed by silver or gold. It was to be a “more effectual preventing and remedying of the said inconveniencies…’ Yet stated, ‘it shall be unlawful for the Governor, Council or Assembly for the Time being… in the Colonies or Plantations of Rhode Island… Connecticut, the Massachusetts Bay, and New Hampshire, to… issue… Paper Bills or Bills of Credit… (few exceptions).”
1776/1850: According to A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada (1992; Noll), Congregations in 1766 the ‘Denominational Shares of Religious Adherents: the United States’ were: Congregationalists 20.4%, Presbyterians 19%, Baptists 16.9%, Episcopalians 15.7%, Methodists 2.5% and Roman Catholics 1.8% of the population (excluding slaves). By 1850, due to the Great Awakening, preaching, immigration and ‘populist democratization’ it changed: Methodists 34.2%, Baptists 20.5%, Roman Catholics 13.9%, Presbyterians 11.6%, Congregationalists 4% and Episcopalians 3.5%. At the start of the Civil War, about 69% of American church adherents were white Protestants with British backgrounds and 21% Roman Catholics; by 1890 it would reduce to just over 52% to 26%.
1737 to 1770s: In 1737, Brothers John and Charles Wesley (2 of 19 children of Anglican Rev. Samuel Wesley) sailed to Georgia to be missionaries, but after certain problems sailed back to England. Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns, many used by Anglicans, Methodists and others. John Wesley preached over 40,000 sermons, many written and record and read by colonists late 18th century. In 1740, George Whitefield arrived and began to preach in New England. In the 1740s-50s, Jonathan Edwards wrote, preached and in 1758 became President of the College of New Jersey at Princeton, the year he died. Of course, many other Protestants and Catholics were involved in shaping the future of America. In 1751, the first recorded Sunday School opened in St. Mary’s Church, in Nottingham, England. In 1785, about a quarter of a million English children were attending Sunday School. The structure would influence America, but it would not be until the 1790s that the American Sunday School systems would begin.
The Population of America at the first Census in 1790 was 3.93 million, including slaves; and 5.3 million ten years later in the 1800 census.
February 1763: The Treaty of Paris signed by Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal agreeing, ended the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War). Britain got east of Mississippi.
October 1763: Royal Proclamation of 1763: “Whereas We have taken into Our Royal Consideration the extensive and valuable Acquisitions in America, secured to our Crown by the late Definitive Treat of Peace, concluded at Paris… and being desirous that all Our loving Subjects, as well of our Kingdom as of our Colonies in America, may avail themselves with all convenient Speed, of great Benefits and Advantages which must accrue therefrom to their Commerce, Manufactures, and Navigation. We have thought fit… to erect, within the Countries and Islands ceded and confirmed to Us by the said Treaty, Four distinct and separate Governments… Quebec, East Florida, West Florida and Grenada, and limited and bounded, as follows. Quebec… East Florida, bounded to the Westward by the Gulph of Mexico… also… for the security of the Liberties and Properties… under our Great Seal of Great Britain… those Colonies and Provinces in America… agreeable to the Laws of England… And… for the use of the Indians, all the Lands and Territories not included within the Limits of Our said Three new Governments, or within the Limits of the Territory granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company, as also all the Lands and Territories lying to the Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea from the West and North West…”
(Colonist were prohibition from crosses the Appalachian Mountains).
April 1764: Parliament passed The American Revenue Act of 1764, a modified version of the Sugar and Molasses Act (1733). This Act reduced the tax on molasses; but listed foreign goods to be taxed: sugar, wines, coffee… etc. The enforced tax on molasses caused a decline in the rum industry in the colonies due to an economic depression the common America was suffering. It was in great part to reduce smuggling of molasses and sugar products. Samuel Adams and James Otis led protest, reporting to the Massachusetts Assembly… “if taxes are laid upon us in any shape without our having a legal Representation where they are laid, are we not reduced from the Character of free Subjects to the miserable State of tributary Slaves?”
September 1764: Again, the British Parliament passed a Currency Act, along with the ‘Sugar Act,’ to reduce the British national debt incurred in part from their colonization endeavors and to pay for the costs of stationing 10,000 additional British troops in the American colonies – either of which, the tax or troops, pleased the colonists. This Act prohibited the colonies from issuing new bills and ended the use of current bills pass their ‘call in’ or expiration date. At that time the government bills had an expiration date. This, of course, affecting the value of currency and the ability to trade.
February 1763 Treaty of Paris ended the French and War (France ceded territories, except New Orleans)
March 1765: Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which was another bill to help pay Great Britain’s massive national debt following the Seven Years War. The debt had grown from £72 million in 1755 to £129.6 million in 1764 (over $22 billion in terms of 2020 dollars). The Act stated in part that “for every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed, any declaration, plea… in any court of law within the British colonies and plantations in America, a stamp duty of three pence… (for) any will, inventory or renunciation in ecclesiastical (church) matters… a stamp duty of six pence… any note or bill of lading… or merchandise to be exported… four pence…”
May 15, 1765: Quartering Act: Required colonial authorities to provide British troops food and shelter and transportation to their stations (would result in the Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution).
May 30, 1765: Virginian Resolution: the Virginia assembly refused to comply to the Stamp Act.
October 1765: Representatives from 9 of the 13 colonies declared the Stamp Act unconstitutional because it was taxation without their consent or representation.
March 1766: The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, but declared it had the right to tax colonies.
1765: Sons of Liberty (Loyal Nine), and then Daughters of Liberty, formed in protest.
June 1767 Townshend Acts: The British parliament passes a series of Acts which imposed taxation on numerous items the colonies, such as tea, paper, paint and glass imported into the colonies. One of the Acts forbid the New York Assembly to pass any laws until they complied with the Quartering Act.
September-October 1768: 4,000 British troops were sent to Boston to keep order. They encamped on the Boston Commons and in claim use of the Court House and Hall. The Governor offered the troops the Manufactory House as a barracks. Yet those there refused to be evicted and the troops had to find other locations. British officers were accepted for the most part, but their soldiers did not help restore peace – many, often drinking rum and seeking prostitutes – which incited the Puritan population. At least one British soldier was publicly executed for desertion – which sickened many Bostoners.
March 5, 1770: By this time there were still about 2,000 British soldiers among Boston’s 16,000 colonists. In the midst of tensions between the colonists and Royal British troops sent to enforce the taxes at the Customs House, there was crowds of civilians unwilling to disperse on orders. At the high of commotion, many in the colonist crowds were yelling, ‘Fire and be damned;’ upon which British Captain Preston commanded, ‘don’t fire!’ Soldiers, most confused and alarmed, fired and 3 civilians died instantly and 2 later. Oct. 1770, (future President) John Adams defended Preston and the soldiers: 6 of 8 were acquitted.
May 1773: The British Parliament, not fully appreciating the opposition, passed the Tea Act, to help the struggling British East India Company (EIC). The Colonists had been buying tea smuggled in by the Dutch. The EIC had 17 million pounds in British storage, so Parliament allowed them duty-free shipping to the colonies in efforts to undercut the Dutch tea prices. Many colonists, protesting against British Tax Acts (especially without representation), opposed the delivery and in many places prevented it.
December 16, 1773: The most famous action against the Tea Act was the Sons of Liberty protest, which is now commonly called the Boston Tea Party. A large group (116+) of colonists, disguised as Indians, dumped 342 chests of EIC tea (about $2 million, 2020 dollars, worth of Chinese tea) in the harbor.
May/June 1774: In response to colonial actions, the British Parliament passed 5 (Intolerable) Coercive Acts: Boston Port Act, Massachusetts Government Act, Administration of Justice Act, Quartering Act and the Quebec Act. They fined Boston for the destruction of the tea and closed the harbor until the fines were paid. MA charter was rewritten giving more power to the Royal Governor. Governor could send indicted officials to London for trial. And British troops had to be shelter, even in private buildings.
September 5 – October, 26 1774 (12 of the 13 colonies): The newly formed First Continental Congress answered the British with a “Declaration and Resolves,” stating in part: “Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British parliament, claiming a power, of right, to bind the people of America by statutes in all cases whatsoever, hath, in some acts, expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others… for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in these colonies, established a board of commissioners, with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising with the body of a county… and estates and salaries (for) standing armies kept in times of peace… in the 35th year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treasons… committed in the colonies… in the last session of parliament, three statutes were made; one entitled, “An act to discontinue… the landing… shipping of goods… within the harbor of Boston… in New England…” all which statutes are impolitic, unjust and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American rights… assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people… and their dutiful, humble, loyal and reasonable petitions to the Crown for redress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt…
The good people of the several colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North- Carolina and South-Carolina, justly alarmed at these arbitrary proceedings of parliament and administration, have severally elected, constituted, and appointed deputies to meet, and sit in general Congress, in the city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties, may not be subverted: Whereupon the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these colonies, taking into their most serious consideration, the best means of attaining the ends aforesaid, do, in the first place, as Englishmen, their ancestors in like cases have usually done, for asserting and vindicating their rights and liberties, DECLARE… Resolved, N.C.D. 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty and property: and they have never ceded to any foreign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent. Resolved… 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, were at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, liberties and immunities of free and natural-born subjects, within the realm of England… 3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited …those rights… 4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council: and as the English colonists are not represented… in the British parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures, where their right of representation can alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal polity, we cheerfully consent to the operation of such acts of the British parliament, as are bonfide, restrained to the regulation of our external commerce… excluding every idea of taxation internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects, in America, without their consent… 8. …a right peaceably to assemble… and petition the king …9 That the keeping a standing army in these colonies, in times of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony… is against law…”
March 22, 1775: Edmund Burke presented ’13 Articles of Faith’ at Westminster Parliament.
March 20-27, 1775: To avoid conflict, the Second Virginia Convention met at what is St. John’s Church instead of the Capital in Williamsburg. On Saturday, the 23rd, Patrick Henry gave his famous speech: “…The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings. Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope… I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience… the conduct of the British …trust it not… Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? …Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No sir, she has none… Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded… There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free… we must fight! …An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!
…Will it be next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed at every house? …Three million of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us… Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable and let it come! …Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace, but the is no peace. The war is actually begun! …Why stand we here idle? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
March 23, 1775: Second Virginia Convention “Resolved” that “any ships of Great Britain …which shall be taken by any of the Vessells of War of these united Colonies, shall be deemed forfeited.” Patrick Henry introduced a resolution for “a well-regulated Militia … for the purpose of our Defense…”
March 25: VA Convention required each county to form a volunteer company of cavalry and infantry.
March 30, 1775: King George III, signed the New England Restraining Act, which required the New England colonies to trade exclusively with England and denied them fisheries in the North Atlantic.
April 1, 1775: The New York Assembly enacted and called for a militia; requiring all the males age 16 to 50 to enlist or be fined. The NY Assembly held its last session on the April 3.
April 3, 1775: David Leonard, in the Massachusetts Gazette (Boston Tory newspaper), last of 17 articles, “To the inhabitants of… Massachusetts” questioning their right to govern themselves.
April 8, 1775: North Carolina governor Josiah Martin dissolved the NC Assembly (temporarily).
April 17, 1775: Last ‘Novanglus’ letter in Boston Gazette by John Adams.
April 18, 1775: British General Thomas Gage, Governor of Massachusetts and Commander-in-Chief of the British forces, ordered 700 British soldiers to Concord to destroy the colonists’ weapons depot. Paul Revere and William Dawes ride that night to warm the American colonists; Revere warned Sam Adams and John Hancock before being captured about midnight.
April 19, 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord: Recorded as the “shot heard around the world,” an unordered shot began the American Revolution. British forces retreated to Boston; at that time, England had little response, seeing it as just another annoying protest.
April 22-25: The Rhode Island militia marched to Boston. And about 8,000 people in Philadelphia resolved to defend “with arms their property, liberty and lives.”
May 24, 1775: John Hancock was elected president of the Second Continental Congress, replacing Peyton Randolph. The British arrived in Boston with reinforcements.
June 12, 1775: British General Gage proclaims martial law in Massachusetts.
June 14-16, 1775: The Continental Congress established the Army; then appointed George Washington general and commander-in-chief. Congress allow approved taking an adding $2 million loan from Spain. They would borrow about $400 million from France, Spain and the Netherlands (about $2.5 billion in 2020 dollars). Haym Salomon, a Jewish securities dealer (banker), arrived in New York in 1772. He helped the Continental Congress broker foreign loans or bills of exchange.
June 17, 1775: The Colonists lose Bunker Hill but weakened the British forces.
June 30, 1775: The Continental Congress passed the Articles of War.
July 5-6, 1775: Congress adopts the Olive-Brach Petition seeking a way of restoration with Britain. However, they “resolved to die free men rather than live as slaves.”
July 29, 1775: Congress established the Army Chaplain Department
December 1775: The war was being fought into Quebec, Canada.
Second Continental Congress 1775
January 9, 1776: Thomas Paine wrote “Common Sense,” 150,000 copies sold quickly, saying in part:
“Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them… Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse (association), the other creates distinctions… Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is bus a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one… But as the Colony increases, the public concerns will increase likewise… I know it is difficult to get over local and long standing prejudices, yet if we will suffer ourselves to examine the component parts of the English constitution, we shall find them to be the base remains of two ancient tyrannies, compounded with some new Republican materials. First – the remains of Monarchical tyranny in the person of the King. Secondly – the remains of Aristocratical tyranny in the persons of the Peers. Thirdly – the new Republican materials, in the persons of the Commons, on whose virtue depends the freedom of England… To say that the constitution of England is a union of three powers, reciprocally checking each other, is farcical…’
‘…Mankind being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance: the distinctions of rich and poor may in a great measure be accounted for… but there is another and greater distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into Kings and Subjects… In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture chronology there were no kings; the consequence of which was, there were no wars; it is the pride of kings which throws mankind into confusion. Holland, without a king hath enjoyed more peace for this last century than any of the monarchical governments in Europe. Antiquity favours the same remark; for the quiet and rural lives of the first Patriarchs… which vanishes when we come to the history of Jewish royalty. Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom… The Jews, elate with success, and attributing it to the generalship of Gideon (when it was the Lord – see Judges 7:7), proposed making him a king, saying ‘Rule thou over us, you and your sons…’ Here was temptation in its fullest extent; not a kingdom only, but an hereditary one; but Gideon in the piety of his soul replied, ‘I will not rule over you, neither shall my son… The LORD shall rule over you.’ Words need not be more explicit… Gideon, in the positive stile of a prophet charges them with disaffection to their proper Sovereign, the King of Heaven. About 130 years after this, they fell again into the same error… (note: then Paine speaks about Samuel and Israel asking for a king and getting Saul, etc., 1 Sam. 8:5; Acts 13:21; and then speaks about how the Muslims – “Mahomet-like cram hereditary right down the throats of the vulgar” and back to the English ‘monarchy and succession’).
‘…Volumes have been written on the subject of the struggle between England and America… Arms as a last resource decide the contest… The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth. ‘Tis not the affair of a City, a County, a Province, or a Kingdom; but of a Continent – of at least one eighth (1/8) part of the habitable Globe. ‘Tis not the concern of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the contest, and will be more or less affected to the end of time…’ Now is the seed-time of Continental union, faith and honor… I am not induced by motives of pride, party or resentment to espouse the doctrine of separation and independence; I am clearly, positively and conscientiously persuaded that it is the true interest of this Continent to be so… Continental government… a republican government… Let the assemblies be annual, with a president only. The representation more equal, their business wholly domestic… Let each Colony be divided into… districts… of Delegates to Congress…. He that will promote discord, under a government so equally formed as this, would have joined Lucifer is his revolt… A government of our own is our natural right… I have never met with a man, either in England or America, who hath not confessed his opinion, that a separation between the countries would take place one time or other… ‘Tis not in numbers but in unity that our great strength lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world. The Continent hath at this time the largest body of armed and disciplined men of any power under Heaven… no single colony is able to support itself, (yet) the whole, when united is able to do anything…” http://calhum.org/files/uploads/program_related/TD-Thomas-Paine-Common-Sense.pdf
May 1776: France sent money, troops and armaments to the colonists.
June 7, 1776: Richard H. Lee of Virginia proposed “that these United Colonies are… free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown…” (Lee Resolution)
June 8-10, 1776: Delegates informed their Provincial Congresses (of their colony) that a vote for independence was expected soon.
June 11, 1776: The Second Continental Congress, at Philadelphia, appointed a “Committee of Five” to draft a Declaration [John Adams, lawyer and Congressman, MA; Benjamin Franklin, former editor and President College of Philadelphia, Congressman, ambassador, inventor, Postmaster General (July 1776), PA; Thomas Jefferson (took Richard Lee’s place, though at first he wanted Adams to write it and not be involved), lawyer, Congressman, VA; Robert Livingston, lawyer, Congressman, (Chancellor of NY 1777), NY; and Roger Sherman; lawyer, Justice of Sup. Ct. CT, Congressman, CT.]
June 28, 1776: The colonists or Patriots, repelled the British at Charleston, South Carolina.
July 1-2, 1776 (Monday, Tuesday): 12 of 13 colonies adopted Lee’s resolution for independence. Each colony had one vote, Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted no and New York abstained. South Carolina requested the vote be held Tuesday the 2nd. When they changed to a yes vote. Also, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania not reservations about independence. July 2, 1776: Declaration of Independence was formally declared. John Adams said that date would be “the most memorable epocha in the history of America.”
July 3-4, 1776: Congress deleted and revised over one-fifth of the Declaration of Independence; 86 changes.
July 4, 1776: It was moved that the vote should be Unanimous. The Final text of the Declaration of Independence was approved by all 13 colonies of Congress. Though South Carolina had opposed independence, they did not want to be the only colony voting against the Declaration.
July 4-8, 1776: John Dunlap printed about 200 copies of the Declaration (26 remain known). A Journal shows on the 5th, that President John Hancock signed ‘in Behalf of the Congress,’ with Sec. C. Thomson.
July 8, 1776: The Declaration was read in Philadelphia, where the crowd shouted, “God bless the free states of North America!”
August 2, 1776: “The Declaration of Independence, being engrossed, and compared at the table, was signed by the members.” Seven (7) signers were not Congressman until after July 4; there were some different representatives – than signers – for certain colonies.
The Declaration was a declaration of purpose and ideas, not of perfection; it was a work leading to the Constitution which had checks and balances and flexibility; but a foundation.
Declaration of Independence (in large part):
“The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness… But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them… He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people… He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments… He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands… In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.