Chesapeake Politics, 1781-1800

By Norman K. Risjord | Go to book overview

Preface

THIS IS THE STORY of political developments after the American Revolution in three state's -- Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. Similar in economic and social structure, tied together by the Chesapeake Bay, these states formed a regional unit. And they were important enough to have a decisive impact on the national politics of the period. By examining three states I hoped to avoid the provincialism that characterizes most studies of individual states. At the same time, the focus on one region of the country permitted a close, detailed examination of the way in which government functioned in the formative years of the republic.

Because the three states were similar in agricultural development, trade patterns, and social structure, they easily lent themselves to comparative treatment. Each faced similar problems in the post-Revolutionary era -- debt, depression, and western uprisings. Each wrestled with church disestablishment, public education, and demands for the amelioration of slavery. A comparison of the way each reacted to these questions offers a new dimension to the story of early American politics.

The basic theme is the evolution of political parties after the Revolution. I am not concerned with the subtle distinction between

-vii-

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