An excellent addition to anyone’s primary source collection, the documents presented in this edition serve to understand the Declaration and the Revolutionary War against the backdrop provided by the hundreds of continental-level congressional state papers––declarations, petitions, resolutions, and proclamations––and the debates and correspondence of those in attendance at the first national congresses.
In one volume, Democracy, Liberty, and Property provides an overview of the state constitutional conventions held in the 1820s. With topics as relevant today as they were then, this collection of essential primary sources sheds light on many of the enduring issues of liberty. Emphasizing the connection between federalism and liberty, the debates that took place at these conventions show how questions of liberty were central to the formation of state government, allowing students and scholars to discover important insights into liberty and to develop a better understanding of U.S. history.
William Leggett (1801–1839) was the intellectual leader of the laissez-faire wing of Jacksonian democracy. His diverse writings applied the principle of equal rights to liberty and property. These editorials maintain a historical and contemporary relevance.
Having won independence from England, America faced a new question: Would this be politically one nation, or would it not? E Pluribus Unum is a spirited look at how that question came to be answered.
Two series of letters described as “the wellsprings of nearly all ensuing debate on the limits of governmental power in the United States” address the whole remarkable range of issues provoked by the crisis of British policies in North America out of which a new nation emerged from an overreaching empire.
David Humphreys was aide-de-camp to Washington during the American Revolution. His Life of Israel Putnam, originally published in 1788, has rightly been described as “the first biography of an American written by an American.” It is, as William C. Dowling observes, “a classic of revolutionary writing, very readable and immensely interesting in what it says about the temper of the new republic in the period immediately after the American Revolution.” The subject—General Israel Putnam—is remembered to history and legend as exclaiming: “Don’t fire ’til you see the whites of their eyes!” to American soldiers at the Battle of Bunker Hill. As Professor Dowling notes, “All the episodes are retold—Bunker Hill, the Battle of White Plains, the crossing of the Delaware, the Battle of Princeton—but from the perspective of one who was there throughout, and who always permits us to see Putnam as the sort of character by whom history is, in the last analysis, made.” Humphreys wrote the biography when formation of the Society of the Cincinnati, composed of men who were officers in the Revolution, “focused debate in the new republic about the competing claims of individual liberty and the good of the community.”
This is the first modern publication of ten essays published in the popular Boston newspaper The Independent Chronicle, a significant intellectual event in Massachusetts politics.
Exploring the Bounds of Liberty presents a rich and extensive selection of the political literature produced in and about colonial British America during the century before the American Revolution. Most colonial political pamphlets and broadsides were printed in London, but even in the mid-seventeenth century some writings were published in New England, which then had the only printing presses in British America. With the expansion of printing to most of the colonies during the last decade of the seventeenth and the first three decades of the eighteenth century, however, the number of political polemical publications increased exponentially throughout colonial British America, from Barbados to Nova Scotia. The number of publications dealing with political questions increased in every decade after 1710, to become a veritable flood by the 1750s.
The fifteen articles, essays, notes, and documents gathered in this collection are a permanent contribution to study of the American founding. As teacher, critic, and editor of the William & Mary Quarterly, Adair demonstrated what Trevor Colbourn—one of his principal students—describes as an “extraordinary ability to enter empathetically into the experience and ideology of the Founding Fathers while at the same time writing about them critically and movingly.” The volume also includes an affectionate reminiscence of Adair by Caroline Robbins and a bibliographical essay by Robert E. Shalhope.
The Federalist, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, constitutes a text central to the American political tradition. Written and published in newspapers in 1787 and 1788 to explain and promote ratification of the proposed Constitution for the United States, which were then bound by the Articles of Confederation, The Federalist remains of singular importance to students of liberty around the world.
A triumph of primary-source research, The Founders’ Constitution is a brilliant five-volume series that presents “extracts from all the leading works of political theory, history, law, and constitutional argument on which the Framers and their contemporaries drew and which they themselves produced.”
The documentary sources and inspirations of The Founders’ Constitution reach to the early seventeenth century and extend through those Amendments to the Constitution that were adopted by 1835.