American History

Discover a rich collection of classic works in American history that illuminate the guiding principles of the American founding era for scholars and students alike. From our authoritative edition of The Federalist to our award-winning and meticulously compiled multivolume collections of primary source documents, these works illustrate the struggle and perseverance of liberty throughout the origin and growth of American society.

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  • The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context

    by Barry Alan Shain

    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.

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  • Democracy, Liberty, and Property

    by Merrill D. Peterson

    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…

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  • Democratick Editorials

    by William Leggett

    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. Lawrence H. White is Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia.

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  • E Pluribus Unum

    by Forrest McDonald

    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. Forrest McDonald is Professor Emeritus of American History at the University of Alabama and author of States’ Rights and the Union.

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  • Empire and Nation

    by John Dickinson and Richard Henry Lee

    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. Forrest McDonald is Professor Emeritus of American History at…

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  • An Essay on the Life of the Honourable Major-General Israel Putnam

    by David Humphreys

    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…

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  • Essays by “The Free Republican,” 1784–1786

    by Benjamin Lincoln, Jr.

    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. The essays deal primarily with the problem of mixed government in a republic. Lincoln writes, “Two distinct and different orders of men seems incident to every society,” and these “two contending interests,” fed by a…

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  • Exploring the Bounds of Liberty

    by Jack P. Greene and Craig B. Yirush

    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…

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  • Fame and the Founding Fathers

    by Douglass Adair

    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…

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  • The Federalist

    by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison

    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…

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  • The Founders’ Constitution

    by Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner

    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…

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  • The Founders’ Constitution

    by Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner

    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. In cooperation with the University of Chicago Press, Liberty Fund has prepared a new online edition of the entire work at: http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/ Philip B. Kurland was the William R. Kenan, Jr.,…

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