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For over 4 generations, from the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1607 to the American Revolution in 1776, not a single English Bible was printed in America. It was illegal.

The copyright to the Authorized Version rested with the British Crown, which turned down repeated requests for American printings of the Bible. And with the War of Independence, the importing of Bibles stopped.

Robert Aitken decided to do something. Aitken was the official publisher for the Congress of the States. In 1777, he produced an American “home-grown” edition of the New Testament. Ten thousand copies were printed, but by then cheaper imported Bibles were again available.

In a desperate attempt to recoup his investment, Aitken asked Congress to sanction and support his Bibles. For the first and last time in our nation’s history, a Bible was printed with the approval of Congress.

The resolution, adopted September 12, 1782, said: “WHEREUPON RESOLVED: That the United States in Congress assembled highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion, as well as an instance of the progress of arts in this country, and… they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation…