Democracy, Liberty, and Property (Paperback)

Subtitle The State Constitutional Conventions of the 1820s

Edited by Merrill D. Peterson

Foreword by G. Alan Tarr

[Peterson] Democracy, Liberty, and Property 978-0-86597-789-1978-0-86597-789-1
ISBN: 978-0-86597-789-1
List price: $17.50
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Edited by Merrill D. Peterson

Foreword by G. Alan Tarr

Publication Date 2010. 6 x 9. 444 pages.


Foreword, suggested further reading, introduction, selected bibliography, historical introduction to each of the conventions, chronologies, headnotes, analytical tables, index.


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.

The debates excerpted in Democracy, Liberty, and Property focus on the conventions of Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia, and they include contributions from the principal statesmen of the founding era, including John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Marshall.

Merrill D. Peterson (1921–2009) was Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Virginia and a noted Jeffersonian scholar.

G. Alan Tarr is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for State Constitutional Studies at Rutgers University–Camden.

Table of Contents:

Foreword to the Liberty Fund Edition, with Suggested Further Reading, by G. Alan Tarr ix
General Introduction xxi
Selected Bibliography xxv
Editor's Note xxix

The Massachusetts Convention of 1820-1821

Introduction 3
Chronology 17

1. The Test Oath19
2. The Third Article 30
3. The "Poll Parish" 45
4. Tax Exemption 49
5. The Suffrage 55
6. The Basis of Representation 62
7. Joseph Story on Representation 71
8. Daniel Webster on Representation 83
9. "Address to the People" 97

1.1 The Massachusetts Counties in Relation to Legislative Representation 107
1.2 The Division of the Vote by Counties on Two Questions in the Massachusetts Convention 108

10. Statement of the Votes for and against the Articles of Amendment, in the Several Counties 110

The New York Convention of 1821

Introduction 115
Chronology 131

11. The Council of Revision and the Veto Power 133
12. The Term of the Governor 149
13. The Appointive Power 157
14. The Senate and the Suffrage 169
15. The Negro and the Suffrage 192
16. Blasphemy and Libel 208
17. Reform of the Judiciary 222

2.1 The Vote by Districts on the Convention Bill, Suffrage, and Judicial Reform, and the Revised Constitution, in the New York Convention 238
2.2 The Vote of Radicals and Conservatives on Selected Questions in the New York Convention 239

The Virginia Convention of 1829-1830

Introduction 243
Chronology 257

18. Cooke on Democractic Representation 259
19. Upshur on Majorities and Minorities 275
20. Doddridge in Rebuttal 295
21. Leigh on Power and Property 300
22. Randolph on the Federal Issue 312
23. Marshall on Compromise 320
24. Summers on the Gordon Plan 324
25. Gordon on the Gordon Plan 330

The Suffrage
26. The Non-Freeholders' Memorial 336
27. The Freehold Suffrage Defended 344
28. The Reformers' Rebuttal 351

Structure and Change
29. The Executive 363
30. The County Courts 373
31. The Amendment Article 383
32. The Question of Ratification 388

3.1 Population and Representation in Virginia by Districts, 1820-1830, and the Vote on Ratification of the Constitution of 1830 393
3.2 The Sectional Division on Selected Questions in the Virginia Convention 394

Index 397

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