In honor of Independence Day, we feature three books emblematic of the nation’s growing pains. The first, written near the country’s beginnings as a democracy, is a seminal work that helped define our legislative branch. The second, written thirty-four years later in 1821, provides detailed descriptions of the lives of Native Americans of that time before so much changed in their world. And the third selection provides a rare contemporaneous account of the Underground Railroad. Ironically, all three of these editions were published in the United Kingdom.
For this Fourth of July, along with your fireworks and hot dogs, find a little time to explore our country’s history in books!
A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America
1787, London. Printed for C. Dilly, in the Poultry
First Edition. In original binding.
Adams intended to write a single volume. The first, published in London, was so successful that Adams was encouraged to write a second volume, and then a third. The book promotes a mixed government, in which “the rich, the well-born and the able” are separated into a senate, unable to dominate a lower house of representatives.
Our copy is in remarkable condition, considering its age and historical importance. The book is fragile but complete. There is an owner inscription from 1787, and a presentation inscription from 1909. Continue reading