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Emancipating New York Cover

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Emancipating New York

The Politics of Slavery and Freedom, 1777–1827

David N. Gellman

An innovative blend of cultural and political history, Emancipating New York is the most complete study to date of the abolition of slavery in New York state. Focusing on public opinion, David N. Gellman shows New Yorkers engaged in vigorous debates and determined activism during the final decades of the eighteenth century as they grappled with the possibility of freeing the state's black population. The gradual emancipation that began in New York in 1799 helped move an entire region of the country toward a historically rare slaveless democracy, creating a wedge in the United States that would ultimately lead to the Civil War. Gellman's comprehensive examination of the reasons for and timing of New York's dismantling of slavery provides a fascinating narrative of a citizenry addressing longstanding injustices central to some of the greatest traumas of American history.

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Empire and Nation

Forrest McDonald

Two series of letters that have been described as "the wellsprings of nearly all ensuing debate on the limits of governmental power in the United States" are collected in this volume. The writings include Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania—the "farmer" being the gifted and courageous statesman John Dickinson and Letters from the Federal Farmer—he being the redoubtable Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. Together, Dickinson and Lee addressed the whole remarkable range of issues provoked by the crisis of British policies in North America, a crisis from which a new nation emerged from an overreaching empire. Dickinson wrote his Letters in opposition to the Townshend Acts by which the British Parliament in 1767 proposed to reorganize colonial customs. The publication of the Letters was, as Philip Davidson believes, "the most brilliant literary event of the entire Revolution." Forrest McDonald adds, "Their impact and their circulation were unapproached by any publication of the revolutionary period except Thomas Paine's Common Sense." Lee wrote in 1787 as an Anti-Federalist, and his Letters gained, as Charles Warren has noted, "much more widespread circulation and influence" than even the heralded Federalist Papers. Both sets of Letters deal, McDonald points out, "with the same question: the never-ending problem of the distribution of power in a broad and complex federal system." The Liberty Fund second edition includes a new preface by the editor in which he responds to research since the original edition of 1962.

Forrest McDonald is Professor of History at the University of Alabama and author also of E Pluribus Unum, among other works.

Empires of the Imagination Cover

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Empires of the Imagination

Transatlantic Histories of the Louisiana Purchase

edited by Peter J. Kastor and François Weil

Empires of the Imagination takes the Louisiana Purchase as a point of departure for a compelling new discussion of the interaction between France and the United States. In addition to offering the first substantive synthesis of this transatlantic relationship, the essays collected here offer new interpretations on themes vital to the subject, ranging from political culture to intercultural contact to ethnic identity. They capture the cultural breadth of the territories encompassed by the Louisiana Purchase, exploring not only French and Anglo-American experiences, but also those of Native Americans and African Americans.

Empowering Words Cover

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Empowering Words

Outsiders and Authorship in Early America

Karen A. Weyler

Standing outside elite or even middling circles, outsiders who were marginalized by limitations on their freedom and their need to labor for a living had a unique grasp on the profoundly social nature of print and its power to influence public opinion. In Empowering Words, Karen A. Weyler explores how outsiders used ephemeral formats such as broadsides, pamphlets, and newspapers to publish poetry, captivity narratives, formal addresses, and other genres with wide appeal in early America.

To gain access to print, outsiders collaborated with amanuenses and editors, inserted their stories into popular genres and cheap media, tapped into existing social and religious networks, and sought sponsors and patrons. They wrote individually, collaboratively, and even corporately, but writing for them was almost always an act of connection. Disparate levels of literacy did not necessarily entail subordination on the part of the lessliterate collaborator. Even the minimally literate and the illiterate understood the potential for print to be life changing, and outsiders shrewdly employed strategies to assert themselves within collaborative dynamics.

Empowering Words covers an array of outsiders including artisans; the minimally literate; the poor, indentured, or enslaved; and racial minorities. By focusing not only on New England, the traditional stronghold of early American literacy, but also on southern towns such as Williamsburg and Charleston, Weyler limns a more expansive map of early American authorship

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Era of Experimentation

American Political Practices in the Early Republic

Daniel Peart

In Era of Experimentation, Daniel Peart challenges the pervasive assumption that the present-day political system, organized around two competing parties, represents the logical fulfillment of participatory democracy. Recent accounts of "the rise of American democracy" between the Revolution and the Civil War applaud political parties for opening up public life to mass participation and making government responsive to the people. Yet this celebratory narrative tells only half of the story.

By exploring American political practices during the early 1820s, a period of particular flux in the young republic, Peart argues that while parties could serve as vehicles for mass participation, they could also be employed to channel, control, and even curb it. Far from equating democracy with the party system, Americans freely experimented with alternative forms of political organization and resisted efforts to confine their public presence to the polling place.

Era of Experimentation demonstrates the sheer variety of political practices that made up what subsequent scholars have labeled "democracy" in the early United States. Peart also highlights some overlooked consequences of the nationalization of competitive two-party politics during the antebellum period, particularly with regard to the closing of alternative avenues for popular participation.

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

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 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.”

William C. Dowling is a Professor of English at Rutgers University

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The Evolution of the Southern Backcountry

A Case Study of Lunenburg County, Virginia, 1746-1832

By Richard R. Beeman

The Evolution of the Southern Backcountry is the story of an expanding frontier. Richard Beeman offers a lively and well-written account of the creation of bonds of community among the farmers who settled Lunenburg Country, far to the south and west of Virginia's center of political and economic activity.

Beeman's view of the nature of community provides an important dynamic model of the transmission of culture from older, more settled regions of Virginia to the southern frontier. He describes how the southern frontier was influenced by those staples of American historical development: opportunity, mobility, democracy, and ethnic pluralism; and he shows how the county evolved socially, culturally, and economically to become distinctly southern.

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The Federalist Papers

The Gideon Edition

George Carey

The Federalist, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, constitutes a text central to the American political tradition. Published in newspapers in 1787 and 1788 to explain and promote ratification of the proposed Constitution for the United States, which up to then were bound by the Articles of Confederation, The Federalist remains today of singular importance to students of liberty around the world.

The new Liberty Fund edition presents the text of the Gideon edition of The Federalist, published in 1818, which includes the preface to the text by Jacob Gideon as well as the responses and corrections prepared by Madison to the McLean edition of 1810. The McLean edition had presented the Federalist texts as corrected by Hamilton and Jay but not reviewed by Madison.

The Liberty Fund Federalist also includes a new introduction, a Reader’s Guide outlining—section by section—the arguments of The Federalist, a glossary, and ten appendixes, including the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Virginia Resolution Proposing the Annapolis Convention, and other key documents leading up to the transmission of the Constitution to the governors of the several states. Finally, the Constitution of the United States and Amendments is given, with marginal cross-references to the pertinent passages in The Federalist that address, argue for, or comment upon the specific term, phrase, section, or article of the Constitution.

Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804) was secretary and aide-de-camp to Washington in 1777–81, a member of the Continental Congress in 1782–83 and 1787–88, a representative from New York to the Annapolis Convention in 1786 and to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, first U. S. secretary of the treasury in 1789–95, and inspector general of the army, with the rank of major general, from 1798 to 1800. His efforts to defeat Aaron Burr for the presidency in 1800-01 and for the governorship of New York in 1804 led to his fatal duel with Burr.

John Jay (1745–1829) was a member of the Continental Congress in 1774 through 1779 and its president in 1778–79, drafter of New York’s first constitution in 1777, chief justice of the New York supreme court from 1777 to 1778, U. S. minister to Spain in 1779, a member of the commission to negotiate peace with Great Britain in Paris in 1787, U. S. secretary of foreign affairs from 1784 to 1789, Chief Justice of the United States from 1789 to 1795, and governor of New York from 1795 to 1801.

James Madison (1751–1836) was a member of the Virginia legislature in 1776–80 and 1784–86, of the Continental Congress in 1780–83, and of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, where he earned the title “father of the U. S. Constitution.” He was a member of the U. S. House of Representatives from 1789 to 1797, where he was a sponsor of the Bill of Rights and an opponent of Hamilton’s financial measures. He was the author of the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 in opposition to the U. S. alien and sedition laws. He was U. S. secretary of state in 1801–09, President of the U. S. in 1809–17, and rector of the University of Virginia, 1826–36.

George W. Carey is a professor of government at Georgetown University and the editor of several works on American government. He is the author of In Defense of the Constitution, published by Liberty Fund.

James McClellan (1937-2005) was James Bryce Visiting Fellow in American Studies at the Institute of United States Studies, University of London, and the author of Liberty, Order, and Justic

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The First Prejudice

Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early America

Edited by Chris Beneke and Christopher S. Grenda

In many ways, religion was the United States' first prejudice—both an early source of bigotry and the object of the first sustained efforts to limit its effects. Spanning more than two centuries across colonial British America and the United States, The First Prejudice offers a groundbreaking exploration of the early history of persecution and toleration. The twelve essays in this volume were composed by leading historians with an eye to the larger significance of religious tolerance and intolerance. Individual chapters examine the prosecution of religious crimes, the biblical sources of tolerance and intolerance, the British imperial context of toleration, the bounds of Native American spiritual independence, the nuances of anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism, the resilience of African American faiths, and the challenges confronted by skeptics and freethinkers.

The First Prejudice presents a revealing portrait of the rhetoric, regulations, and customs that shaped the relationships between people of different faiths in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century America. It relates changes in law and language to the lived experience of religious conflict and religious cooperation, highlighting the crucial ways in which they molded U.S. culture and politics. By incorporating a broad range of groups and religious differences in its accounts of tolerance and intolerance, The First Prejudice opens a significant new vista on the understanding of America's long experience with diversity.

Forging American Communism Cover

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Forging American Communism

The Life of William Z. Foster

Edward P. Johanningsmeier

A major figure in the history of twentieth-century American radicalism, William Z. Foster (1881-1961) fought his way out of the slums of turn-of-the-century Philadelphia to become a professional revolutionary as well as a notorious and feared labor agitator. Drawing on private family papers, FBI files, and recently opened Russian archives, this first full-scale biography traces Foster's early life as a world traveler, railroad worker, seaman, hobo, union activist, and radical journalist, and also probes the origins and implications of his ill-fated career as a top-echelon Communist official and three-time presidential candidate. Even though Foster's long and eventful life ended in Moscow, where he was given a state funeral in Red Square, he was, as portrayed here, a thoroughly American radical.

The book not only reveals the circumstances of Foster's poverty-stricken childhood in Philadelphia, but also vividly describes his work and travels in the American West. Also included are fascinating accounts of his early political career as a Socialist, "Wobbly," and anarcho-syndicalist, and of his activities as the architect of giant organizing campaigns by the American Federation of Labor, involving hundreds of thousands of workers in the meatpacking and steel industries. The author views Foster's influence in the American Communist movement from the perspective of the history of American labor and unionism, but he also offers a realistic assessment of Foster's career in light of factional intrigues at the highest levels of the Communist International.

Originally published in 1998.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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