"Conceptually sophisticated and immensely illuminating."—Journal of American HistoryHistorians have emphasized the founding fathers' statesmanship and vision in the development of a more powerful union under the federal constitution. In The Origins of the Federal Republic, Peter S. Onuf clarifies the founders' achievement by demonstrating with case studies of New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Virginia that territorial confrontations among the former colonies played a crucial role in shaping early concepts of statehood and union and provided the true basis of the American federalist system.
"He shows a mastery of the sources: primary, secondary, and, most impressively, documentary histories."—William and Mary Quarterly
"An important explanation of why the Union was unstable during the early nineteenth century."—Reviews in American History
Peter S. Onuf is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History, University of Virginia. He is the author of Jefferson's Empire: The Language of American Nationhood and coeditor of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: History, Memory, and Civic Culture.