The Letters of Pierce Butler, 1790-1794 (Hardcover)
Nation Building and Enterprise in the New American Republic
University of South Carolina Press, 9781570036897, 370pp.
Publication Date: January 1, 2008
List Price: 39.95*
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Enlivened by Irish humor and colorful turns of phrase, this collection of Pierce Butler's letters offers a new perspective on the most enigmatic of South Carolina's signers of the Constitution and on the formative years of the American republic. Describing Butler as an intriguing question mark among the founding fathers, Terry W. Lipscomb presents a cache of correspondence that covers the senator's service during the First, Second, and Third Congresses of the United States. In the first major collection of Butler's writings to be published in book form, Lipscomb offers a detailed biographical sketch of the man and explains the value of his letters - including correspondence to such contemporaries as George Washington, John Adams, George Mason, Richard Henry Lee, Wade Hampton, Andrew Pickens, Charles Pinckney, James Gunn, and Archibald Maclaine. Irish-born officer in the British army to his marriage into the lowcountry's Middleton family. More Virginian than Charlestonian in his political views, Butler holds a place of notoriety as the delegate who pushed for the adoption of an electoral college and who allegedly wrote the Constitution's fugitive slave clause. Lipscomb shows Butler to have been a strict constitutional constructionist, a persistent advocate of religious liberty, and an admirer of the French Revolution. He also favored making government actions more transparent and pioneered the tactic of leaking privileged information. its business behind closed doors, these letters present a new resource on the history of the young republic.
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