Governing the Tongue explains why the spoken word assumed such importance in the culture of early New England. In a work that is at once historical, socio-cultural, and linguistic, Jane Kamensky explores the little-known words of unsung individuals, and reconsiders such famous Puritan events as the banishment of Anne Hutchinson and the Salem witch trials, to expose the ever-present fear of what the Puritans called "sins of the tongue." But even while dangerous or deviant speech was restricted, as Kamensky illustrates here, godly speech was continuously praised and promoted. Congregations were told that one should lift one's voice "like a trumpet" to God and "cry out and cease not." By placing speech at the heart of New England's early history, Kamensky develops new ideas about the complex relationship between speech and power in both Puritan New England and, by extension, our world today.