Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns, 1787-1825

The new issue of Common-Place, an excellent online journal of early American history and culture which I've blogged about before, is devoted to politics in early America, with a special emphasis on voting.

In his introductory essay, historian Jeff Pasley highlights a wonderful new database of early American election returns titled "A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns, 1787-1825."

Compiled by Philip Lampi and sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society and Tufts University Digital Collections and Archives (with funding by NEH), the database offers a fascinating look at early American elections. As Pasley notes in his essay,

"The New Nation Votes project aims to make available to scholars and the public the life's work of Philip Lampi, an AAS employee who has been collecting early American election returns for more than four decades, most of that in his spare time. Elections before 1828 were long considered the "lost Atlantis" of American political history because there was no complete set of election returns to study. Lampi set out to map those lost coastlines, amassing his collection by hand, from old newspaper reports and local records. In recent years, working with my Beyond the Founders coeditor Andrew Robertson, Krista Ferrante, and others, Lampi has also been trying to correct the cultural myths he believes have emerged about the politics of the founding era in the absence of real electoral data."

Lampi has created a great blog highlighting some of the discoveries he's made compiling the data.