Until the founding of the American republic, the state church had been the dominant form of religious organization. After the War for Independence, an alternative began to emerge: the ""voluntary church,"" characterized by independence from state control, freedom of conscience, and voluntary support from the faithful. It was a phenomenon that could not but attract the attention of observant foreign visitors to these shores, and there is a wealth of literature recording their impressions of the whole thing. This book anthologizes the most important and the most interesting of those impressions, including the reactions of the incisive Mrs. Frances Trollope, of the admiring Tocqueville, and of a host of other less colorful but more objective writers, politicians, and private citizens: Thomas Coke, Achille Murat, Francis Grund, Camille Ferri-Pisani, etc. The selections Cover the period from 1740, when the new church first began to emerge, until 1865, when its spirit had spread so far and wide that it was no longer a curiosity. This is a book for those interested in the miscellanea of the history of religion in America and is an interesting gift idea for the minister, priest, or amateur historian.