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Uncommon Sense

By Holly White · October 06, 2020

Reading on Elections in Vast Early America

Ben Franklin's World 6 min read

Want to learn more about elections and voting in early America? We’ve compiled a list of suggested books, articles, and online resources that you might find helpful. We either used these works ourselves for production research or they were suggested by our guests. Happy researching!


Richard R. Beeman, The Varieties of Political Experience in Eighteenth-Century America

Christopher M. Bonner, Remaking the Republic: Black Politics and the Creation of American Citizenship

Robert Dinkin, Voting and Vote-Getting in American History 

Jay K. Dow, Electing the House: The Adoption and Performance of the U.S. Single-Member District Electoral System

Stanley Elkins & Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism

Joanne B. Freeman, Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic 

Edward B. Foley, Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States

Martha S. Jones, Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America

Martha S. Jones, Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

Alexander Keyssar, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States

Alexander Keyssar, Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?

James Kloppenberg, Toward Democracy: The Struggle for Self-Rule in European and American Thought 

William McLoughlin, Cherokee Renascence in the New Republic

Jeffrey L. Pasley, The First Presidential Contest: 1796 and the Founding of American Democracy, American Presidential Elections

Julie L. Reed, Severing the Nation: Cherokee Sovereignty and Social Welfare, 1800-1907

George William Van Cleve, We Have Not a Government: The Articles of Confederation and the Road to the Constitution 

 Fay Yarborough, Race and the Cherokee Nation: Sovereignty in the Nineteenth Century

Rosemarie Zagarri, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic

Articles or Chapters

Edward Andrews, “Creatures of Mimic and Imitation: The Liberty Tree, Black Elections, and the Politicization of African Ceremonial Space” Radical History Review 

R. B. Bernstein, “A New Matrix for National Politics: The First Federal Elections, 1788-90,” in ed. Kenneth R. Bowling and Donald R. Kennon, Inventing Congress: Origins and Establishment of the First Federal Congress 

Patricia Bonomi, “Political Patterns in Colonial New York City: The General Assembly Election of 1768,” Political Science Quarterly 

Elizabeth Ellis, “Petite Nation with Powerful Networks: The Tunicas in the Eighteenth Century,” Louisiana History

Luke Feder, “No Lawyer in the Assembly: Character Politics and the Election of 1768 in New York City” New York History

Joanne B. Freeman, “A Qualified Revolution: The Election of 1800,” in A Blackwell Companion to Thomas Jefferson, edited by Francis D. Cogliano

Joshua D. Hawley, “The Transformative Twelfth Amendment,” William & Mary Law Review 

K. Tsianina Lomawaima, “The Mutuality of Citizenship and Sovereignty: The Society of American Indians and the Battle to Inherit America,” Studies in American Indian Literatures

Michael McCoy, “Working People and the Making of the Philadelphia Election Riot of 1742,” Pennsylvania History

Gary Nash, “The Transformation of Urban Politics, 1700-1765,” Journal of American History

Theda Perdue, “Clan and Court: Another Look at the Early Cherokee Republic,” American Indian Quarterly

Theda Perdue, “The Conflict Within: The Cherokee Power Structure and Removal,” The Georgia Historical Quarterly

Theda Perdue, “John Ross and the Cherokees,” The Georgia Historical Quarterly

Theda Perdue, “Rising from the Ashes: The Cherokee Phoenix as an Ethnohistorical Source,” Ethnohistory

Theda Perdue, “Traditionalism in the Cherokee Nation: Resistance to the Constitution of 1827,” The Georgia Historical Quarterly

Shlomo Slonim, “The Electoral College at Philadelphia: The Evolution of an Ad Hoc Congress for the Selection of a President,” Journal of American History 

Amy Watson, “The New York Patriot Movement: Partisanship, the Free Press, and Britain’s Imperial Constitution, 1731–39” The William and Mary Quarterly 

Shane White, “It was a Proud Day: African Americans, Festivals, and Parades in the North,” Journal of American History 

Michael Witgen, “Seeing Red: Race, Citizenship, and Indigeneity in the Old Northwest,” Journal of the Early Republic

Online Resources

Mapping Early American Elections

Web Exhibit, Continental and Confederation Congress, History, Art, and Archives

Online Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present

A New Nation Votes


[…] Election Series Bibliography […]
Episode 287: Elections in Early America: Presidential Elections & the Electoral College - Ben Franklin's World  •  October 27, 2020
[…] Election Series Bibliography  […]
Episode 286: Elections & Voting in Early America: Native Sovereignty - Ben Franklin's World  •  October 20, 2020
[…] Election Series Bibliography […]
Episode 285: Elections & Voting in the Early Republic - Ben Franklin's World  •  October 13, 2020
[…] also be providing reading lists and other resources on the OI Reader—be sure to check them […]
Elections in Early America Podcast Series Releases TODAY! - Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture - Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture  •  October 06, 2020

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