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Early Republic

John Brown

The Legend Revisited Merrill D. Peterson

Few figures hold as mythic a place in America's historical consciousness as John Brown. A fervent abolitionist, his New England reserve tempered by a childhood on the Ohio frontier, Brown advocated arming fugitive slaves to fight for their freedom, an idea that impressed Frederick Douglass, Ralph... More

The Papers of George Washington
Revolutionary War Series, Volume 13
December 1777-February 1778 George Washington. Edited by Philander D. Chase

Volume 13 of the Revolutionary War Series documents a crucial portion of the winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, when the fate of Washington’s army hung in the balance. The volume begins with Washington’s soldiers hard at work erecting log huts to the general’s specifications and... More

The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison

David B. Mattern and Holly C. Shulman

From modest Quaker beginnings as the child of financially insecure parents and the wife of a stolid young lawyer to the excitement and challenges of life as the nation’s first First Lady—arguably the most influential role in the American government’s formative years—Dolley Payne Todd Madison (1768-... More

Saving Monticello

The Levy Family's Epic Quest to Rescue the House that Jefferson Built Marc Leepson

How a Jewish navy veteran and his descendants saved one of America's most recognizable architectural landmarks

The Papers of George Washington

August 1792-January 1 George Washington. Edited by Philander D. Chase

Volume 11, which covers the closing months of Washington's first presidential term, opens with Washington at Mount Vernon, tending to both public and private affairs. The implementation of a federal excise tax on domestically produced whiskey provoked opposition that became violent in western... More

The Revolution of 1800

Democracy, Race, and the New Republic James J. Horn, Jan Ellen Lewis, and Peter S. Onuf, eds.

George W. Bush and Al Gore were by no means the first presidential hopefuls to find themselves embroiled in a hotly contested electoral impasse. Two hundred years earlier, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams endured arguably the most controversial and consequential election in American history.... More

A History of Household Government in America

Carole Shammas

What is household government? To the vast majority of those living in America from the seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century it was the government. The head of a household, invariably an adult male, had authority over the property, labor, and mobility of not only his minor children but also his... More

The Papers of James Madison
Secretary of State Series, Volume 6
1 November 1803-31 March 1804 James Madison. Edited by Mary A. Hackett, J. C. A. Stagg, Ellen J. Barber, Anne Mandeville Colony, and Angela Kreider

In the five-month period covered by this volume of the Secretary of State Series, Madison and Jefferson work jointly to acquire final possession of, and establish a preliminary government for, the territory acquired in the Louisiana Purchase of May 1803 while simultaneously dealing with merchants'... More

South by Southwest

Planter Emigration and Identity in the Slave South James D. Miller

Between 1815 and 1861 thousands of planters formed a unique emigrant group in American history. A slaveholding, landholding elite, southerners from Georgia and South Carolina uprooted themselves from their communities and headed for their society’s borderlands with a frequency and intensity... More

The Tyranny of Printers

Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic Jeffrey L. Pasley

Although frequently attacked for their partisanship and undue political influence, the American media of today are objective and relatively ineffectual compared to their counterparts of two hundred years ago. From the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century, newspapers were the republic's... More

American Exceptionalism, American Anxiety

Wages, Competition, and Degraded Labor in the Antebellum United States Jonathan A. Glickstein

The mythology of nineteenth-century American economic exceptionalism trumpeted the positive work incentives prevailing in a society of scarce labor, weak class barriers, and abundant opportunity. This ideology agreed with the optimistic vein of political economy, in which high wages went hand in... More

Martha Washington

Ellen Mcallister Clark

In many ways Martha Dandridge Custis Washington represented the ideal woman of the new American republic. She was not born of the aristocracy, but she gained the admiration and respect of all classes of people. She was devoted to her family and home, but she readily made personal sacrifices to join... More

The Papers of George Washington

March-August 1792 George Washington. Edited by Philander D. Chase

Volume 10 of the Presidential Series continues the fourth chronological series of The Papers of George Washington. The Presidential Series, when complete, will cover the eight precedent-setting years of Washington's presidency. These volumes present the public papers written by or sent to... More

George Washington

First in War Dave R. Palmer. Foreword by General Colin L. Powell

George Washington’s long career as soldier began with defeat as a young line officer in the bloody frontier skirmishes of the French and Indian War; it culminated in the role of commanding general of the Continental army in victory over the British army. This soldier’s life included long years of... More

George Washington

Pioneer Farmer Alan Fusonie. Foreword by Nancy Kassebaum Baker

This volume provides a fresh historical focus on George Washington as a pioneer farmer actively engaged in a new approach to agriculture: one based on a more scientific attitude toward crops, farm animals, and the land. As Alan and Donna Jean Fusonie examined his correspondence and diaries, the... More

The Presidency of George Washington

Jack D. Warren, Jr. Foreword by George H. W. Bush

In the first specialized study of the Washington presidency published in a generation, the historian Jack D. Warren Jr. outlines the first president’s practical accomplishments: the establishment of the executive as an energetic and effective branch of government; the resolution of the new nation’s... More

Slavery at the Home of George Washington

Philip J. Schwarz, ed.

George Washington inherited his first slave at the age of eleven, and he was the only founding father to free his slaves in his will. This highly readable selection of articles focuses on Washington’s changing attitudes toward the institution of slavery and his everyday relationships with the... More

Bathed in Blood

Hunting and Mastery in the Old South Nicolas W. Proctor

The hunt, like the church, courthouse, and family, played an integral role in southern society and culture during the antebellum era. Regardless of color or class, southern men hunted. Although hunters always recognized the tangible gains of their mission—meat, hides, furs—they also used the hunt... More

The Papers of George Washington
Revolutionary War Series, Volume 12
October-December 1777 George Washington. Edited by Philander D. Chase

Volume 12 of the Revolutionary War Series documents Washington's unsuccessful efforts to capitalize on the American victory at Saratoga and his decision to encamp the Continental army for the winter at Valley Forge. The volume opens with the British forces at Philadelphia, where they had returned... More

Parlor Politics

In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government Catherine Allgor

When Thomas Jefferson moved his victorious Republican administration into the new capital city in 1801, one of his first acts was to abolish any formal receptions, except on New Year's Day and the Fourth of July. His successful campaign for the presidency had been partially founded on the idea that... More

Principle and Interest

Thomas Jefferson and the Problem of Debt Herbert E. Sloan

In this acclaimed work, available here for the first time in paperback, Herbert E. Sloan examines Thomas Jefferson's complex and obsessive relationship to debt—its roles in his life and political career, and in the formation of republican ideology. As party leader in the 1790s, and later as... More

Coming to Terms with Democracy

Federalist Intellectuals and the Shaping of an American Culture, 1800–1828 Marshall Foletta

William Tudor, Willard Phillips, and Richard Henry Dana were not their fathers' Federalists. When these young New England intellectuals and their contemporaries attempted to carve out a place for themselves in the rapidly changing and increasingly unfriendly culture of the early nineteenth century... More

The Papers of George Washington
Revolutionary War Series, Volume 11
August-October 1777 George Washington. Edited by Philander D. Chase

Volume 11 of the Revolutionary War Series contains correspondence, orders, and other documents covering one of the most militarily active periods of the war. The volume begins with Washington's army camped about twenty miles north of Philadelphia. Having planned to march toward the Hudson River to... More

Founding Friendship

George Washington, James Madison, and the Creation of the American Republic Stuart Leibiger

Although the friendship between George Washington and James Madison was eclipsed in the early 1790s by the alliances of Madison with Jefferson and Washington with Hamilton, their collaboration remains central to the constitutional revolution that launched the American experiment in republican... More

George Washington Reconsidered

Don Higginbotham, ed.

George Washington, heroic general of the Revolution, master of Mount Vernon, and first president of the United States, remains the most enigmatic figure of the founding generation, with historians and the public at large still arguing over the strengths of his character and the nature of his... More