The Early Republic
Documents Decoded
by John R. Vile
March 2016, 309pp, 8 1/2 x 11
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4346-4
$98, £76, 86€, A135
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4345-7
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Students of history can better understand the key events of the early American republic through primary source documents.

From distinguished author John R. Vile comes a new history of the American early republic period, presented through primary documents that are illuminated and explained in context.

This new book in the Documents Decoded series provides readers with an understanding of the key documents and debates in the early American republic—from the presidency of George Washington through that of John Quincy Adams. With more than 50 edited primary documents relevant to American history from 1789 through 1828, the primary source material is organized in sections that will help readers to identify and appreciate multiple perspectives on key issues.

The primary documents in this reference volume include laws, sermons, presidential speeches, court decisions, proclamations, treaties, and debates that will illuminate key issues such as the structure of government, the protection of individual rights, slavery, and the respective rights of the state and national governments. Examples subjects include Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson’s debates, the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the Monroe Doctrine, and the Missouri Compromise of 1820.


  • Highlights and explains a wide range of key documents that range from Washington's Inaugural Address to John C. Calhoun's 1828 protest against the "Tariff of Abominations"
  • Provides an engaging overview of the Early Republic of the United States that identifies the critical points in this historic period
  • Presents core curriculum material for students in a way that allows them to see how scholars interact with primary sources and critically evaluate them
John R. Vile, PhD, is professor of political science and dean of the University Honors College at Middle Tennessee State University. He is author and editor of numerous books, including ABC-CLIO's Founding Documents of America: Documents Decoded; The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of America's Founding; Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789–2015; Great American Lawyers: An Encyclopedia; Great American Judges: An Encyclopedia; A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments; The United States Constitution: Questions and Answers; and Reframers: 170 Eccentric, Visionary, and Patriotic Proposals to Rewrite the U.S. Constitution. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Omicron Delta Kappa, Vile is the recipient of the 2000 Congressional Neal Smith Award for contributions to legal education and of MTSU's 2010–2011 Career Achievement Award.


"The Early Republic is a clear must-have for any academic library’s reference collection, let alone a historian who specializes in this era of American history."—ARBA, September 8, 2016

"The author's clear and engaging writing style makes the volume accessible to a wide general audience and beginning students. Summing Up: Recommended. High school, community college, and undergraduate students; general readers."—Choice, January 4, 2017
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