Defining Documents in American History: Political Campaigns, Candidates, & Debates (1787-2017) Review

CHOICE Editors’ Top 75 Community College Resources for April 2019

“This is the latest addition to Salem Press’s growing ‘Defining Documents in American History’ series. This two-volume collection of significant primary source documents related to U.S. electoral politics includes 64 debates, speeches, correspondence, pamphlets, advertising, music, legal opinions, legislation, and even an infamous piece of fake news. Authors of these documents include expected figures such as William Jennings Bryan and Barack Obama, as well as lesser-known figures such as US Governor Samuel J. Tilden and Virginia Statehouse Delegate Danica Roem. Each document is accompanied by a short summary, a ‘defining moment’ that provides valuable historical context, a biography of the document’s author, the full text of the document (accompanied by a brief glossary), a scholarly analysis of the document, identification of essential themes, and a bibliography and list of additional readings. Documents are organized into eight historical sections referred to as ‘party systems.’ Volume I covers the first, second, third, and fourth party systems, spanning from 1797 to 1932. Volume II includes the fifth, sixth (in two parts), and seventh party systems, roughly covering the years 1932-2017. This title isn’t comprehensive, but it’s not meant to be. It highlights moments most representative of a period in our nation’s history, moments that may have marked a turning point. Summing Up: ⋆⋆ Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.”