The Revolutionary Era: Primary Documents on Events from 1776 to 1800

By Carol Sue Humphrey | Go to book overview

Introduction

The last quarter of the eighteenth century was a time of great change for the United States. Symbolically, the period stretched from Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, adopted on July 4, 1776, to his first inaugural address, delivered on March 4, 1801. Jefferson’s words framed the era both in reality and in his reflection of the issues and debates of the era. His Declaration of Independence discussed tyranny and liberty, issues that Americans debated as they fought for their freedom from Great Britain in the 1770s and 1780s. And his inaugural address discussed what it meant to live in a republic, the issue that had riveted many people’s attention through the 1780s and 1790s. In a nutshell, from 1776 to 1800, the United States went from being a fantastic dream to a stable reality. The process of national growth and maturation proved difficult in many ways, but most Americans of any influence seemed basically satisfied with the nation they saw as Thomas Jefferson became the third president in March 1801.

Newspapers reflected all of these issues in the materials they printed. Increasingly, newspapers became a major source of information about people and events outside the local community. Even before the Revolution, people took an avid interest in happenings in the other colonies and across the Atlantic in Europe. The war with Great Britain accelerated this interest as people sought to determine which side was winning and what impact that might have on their own future. Strong interest in national and international events continued and increased as the United States took shape in the 1780s and sought its place in the world in the 1790s.

-ix-

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The Revolutionary Era: Primary Documents on Events from 1776 to 1800
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Chronology of Events xix
  • Chapter 1 1
  • Chapter 2 33
  • Chapter 3 49
  • Chapter 4 67
  • Note 79
  • Chapter 5 81
  • Chapter 6 93
  • Chapter 7 105
  • Chapter 8 119
  • Chapter 9 127
  • Chapter 10 137
  • Chapter 11 161
  • Chapter 12 181
  • Chapter 13 189
  • Chapter 14 201
  • Note 210
  • Chapter 15 211
  • Chapter 16 223
  • Chapter 17 233
  • Chapter 18 243
  • Chapter 19 253
  • Chapter 20 263
  • Chapter 21 277
  • Chapter 22 295
  • Chapter 23 303
  • Chapter 24 313
  • Chapter 25 323
  • Notes 335
  • Chapter 26 337
  • Selected Bibliography 349
  • Index 353
  • About the Author 359
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