Although the general literature available on Daniel Webster is enormous, the scholarly literature has been thin until quite recently. When I began this study, George T. Curtis's two-volume authorized biography ( 1872), Claude Fuess's two-volume biography ( 1930), and Richard Current carefully done Daniel Webster and the Rise of National Conservatism ( 1955), the only book-length study of Webster from a modern scholarly point of view, were the most reliable accounts of Webster's life. Since that time, four more specialized studies have appeared and I have profited from them all. Maurice Baxter's Daniel Webster and the Supreme Court ( 1966) deals authoritatively with an aspect of Webster's career that I have chosen to leave largely undeveloped. Norman Brown Daniel Webster and the Politics of Availability ( 1969) is a useful close analysis of Webster's role in the election of 1832. The scholarly, well-written monographs of Sydney Nathans and Robert Dalzell , Daniel Webster and Jacksonian Democracy ( 1973) and Daniel Webster and the Trial of American Nationalism ( 1972) deal with the middle and latter parts of Webster's political career in much fuller detail than I have been able to do here.
As the notes indicate, all of the books mentioned above along with hundreds of other articles and secondary works relating to Webster have contributed to my own work. At the same time I have tried to base this book as closely as possible on the manuscript record. When I began my research a small fraction of Webster's correspondence was available in Vols. 1, 2, and 16 of The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster ( Bos