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CONTROVERSIAL DOCUMENTS THAT CHANGED HISTORY

The Development of the American Character

First Acts of Congress 1789

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Franklin

  • Author: First Congress of the United States
  • Date: 1789
  • Document No.: 0069
  • Comment: Contains first octavo printing of the Bill of Rights

Short Description

The Acts of the first U.S. Congress include officially ratifying the Constitution as well as George Washington’s election, making him the first U.S. president. The first Congress also passed much of the basic legislation for the machinery of government, regulating such functions as customs, judiciary, postal service, and the mint.

Remnant Trust Description

The Acts of the first Congress of the United States, containing much of the legislation fundamental to the establishment of government under the Constitution. The first Congress met in New York on March 4, 1789, and continued until the end of September. It officially ratified the Constitution and Washington’s election as first U.S. president, and passed much of the most basic legislation for the machinery of government, regulating the Customs, Judiciary, Post Office, Mint, and the like. Much time was spent on the Bill of Rights, which appears here in what is the first octavo public printing, still including twelve amendments (the first two, relating to the numbers in a congressional district and congressional salaries, were later omitted). All of these things make this volume a foundation work in the history of American government.

Federalist on the Constitution

Federalist on the Constitution

  • Authors: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, et al.
  • Date: 1818
  • Document No.: 0122
  • Comment: First edition

Short Description

The Federalist is a compilation of eight articles and 85 essays known as The Federalist Papers, which collectively advocated ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The works here outlined the philosophy and motivation for our modern-day system of government, including suggestions to shape future interpretations of the Constitution.

Remnant Trust Description

Volume II uncut in original boards. This is the most famous and influential American political work. When Hamilton invited his fellow New Yorker Jay and Madison, from Virginia, to join The Federalist, it was to meet the immediate need of convincing the reluctant New York State electorate of the necessity of ratifying the newly proposed Constitution of the United States. The eighty-five essays, under the pseudonym “Publius”, were designed as political propaganda, not as a treatise of political philosophy. In spite of this, The Federalist survives as one of the new nation’s government. The Federalist exerted a powerful influence in procuring the adoption of the Federalist Constitution, not only in New York but also in the other states. There is probably no work in so small a compass that contains so much valuable political information. The true principles of a republican form of government are here unfolded with great clearness and simplicity.

Essay on Human Understanding

  • Author: John Locke
  • Date: 1690
  • Document No.: 0199
  • Comment: First edition (bears Locke’s signature)

Short Description

This essay was the first attempt on a great scale to estimate the foundation of human knowledge and understanding. Locke’s authority as a philosopher was unrivaled in England, and he was called “the unquestioned founder of the analytic philosophy of mind.”

Remnant Trust Description

Bearing Locke’s signature. The foundation of liberalism Two Treatises of Government, The foundation of the principles of democracy. English philosopher. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, Locke was a lecturer in Greek rhetoric, and philosophy at that university and apparently practiced medicine, though he never received a medical degree. He became confidential secretary to the Earl of Shaftesbury, who, as one of the proprietors of Carolina, induced Locke to write a well-known constitution of the colony in 1669. Suspected of complicity in Shaftebury’s plot against the government, Locke was forced to leave England, and he lived in the Netherlands from 1684 to 1689. He returned to England at the accession of William and Mary and was appointed commissioner of appeals. First edition, first issue, with an inlaid leaf at the front bearing Locke’s signature. First issue, with the cancelland title, the dedication undated. Inlaid at the front is an endpaper leaf bearing Locke’s full signature above the bookplate of Richard Palmer. With the bookplates of the renown Johnsonian collector R.B. Adam and the great collector of literature and Americana, Roderick Terry. With several contemporary ink corrections and additions. “The Essay Concerning Humane Understanding…was the first attempt on a great scale, and in the Baconian spirit, to estimate critically the certainty and the adequacy of human knowledge”. “[Locke’s] design… covers a remarkably wide field of investigation into human knowledge; it is the first modern attempt to analyse it”. “Locke’s authority as a philosopher was unrivaled in England during the first half of the eighteenth century… His spiritual descendant, J.S. Mill, indicates his main achievement by calling him ‘the unquestioned founder of the analytic philosophy of mind’”. An extraordinary copy of a landmark book, rare in the first edition, containing Locke’s signature and with a superb provenance.

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