The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections, 1788-1790, Volume III

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9780299106508: The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections, 1788-1790, Volume III
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The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections, in four volumes, will bring together the relevant documents concerning these elections—source materials essential for all historians and researchers of eighteenth-century American history. This third volume covers the elections in New Jersey and New York.
    Contemporaries understood that the first federal Congress would “flesh out” the Constitution, and that the first federal elections were therefore an important step in the continuing struggle to shape, influence, and control the central government. The elections also provided the states with an unusual opportunity to experiment with electoral forms. The Constitution and the Confederation Congress allowed the states wide latitude in choosing Senators and in framing their laws for the election of the first presidential Electors and Representatives. This latitude encouraged experimentation and a lively public discussion about the entire electoral process.
    The documents presented have been collected from a wide range of sources: state legislative journals, records of debates, compilations of state laws, executive and judicial records, and other official sources, as well as from unofficial sources such as personal letters, diaries, newspapers, pamphlets, and broadsides. The subjects include preelection public and private speculation about all aspects of the elections, the official and unofficial actions of each of the states in establishing the mechanics of the elections for presidential Electors, Representatives, and Senators; election results; and contemporary commentary. Biographical sketches of the principal candidates for office and maps of the electoral districts in each state are provided, and the historical context of the documents is sketched in introductions and editorial notes.
    Volume I, edited by Merrill Jensen and Robert A. Becker, was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 1976. It contains the documents concerning the first federal elections in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, as well as the Confederation Congress’s actions related to the Constitution and the elections. Volume II, published in 1984, covers the elections in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia. Volume IV will cover the election of the president and vice president and the elections in North Carolina and Rhode Island.

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Gordon DenBoer, editor of this present volume, received his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he studied with Professor Merrill Jensen. DenBoer is also editor of Volume II and IV of this series, and was research associate for the Atlas of Early American History (Princeton University Press, 1976). His work has appeared in the Journal of American History. Lucy Trumbull Brown, associate editor of this volume, is also associate editor for Volume II and IV. She is assistant editor of the Complete Works of Captain John Smith, and was for three years associated with the Institute for Early American History and Culture. Charles D. Hagermann served as editorial assistant for the current volume, as he did for Volume II and IV.

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