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The Penn Press list for spring 2021 includes hardcover releases, first-time paperbacks, and ebook editions intended for scholars, students, and serious general readers worldwide. Click here to explore our forthcoming books, grouped by subject area.

Alexander James Dallas
Lawyer, Politician, Financier, 1759-1817

Raymond Walters, Jr.

256 pages | 5 1/4 x 8
Cloth 1943 | ISBN 9781512813890 | $79.95s | Outside the Americas £64.00
Ebook 2017 | ISBN 9781512813906 | Buy from Combined Academic Publishers £64.00
An Anniversary Collection volume

Through Alexander James Dallas one can read the story of what were probably the most crucial years in American history. In this period immediately following the Revolution, when the political pattern of America was being established, Dallas played a leading role in shaping the future of the nation.

As a young lawyer from England he quickly established himself in the new capital of Philadelphia and, in subsequent years, both as a private citizen and as Secretary of the Commonwealth, was largely responsible for building up the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican party in the state. He took an active part in the Whiskey Rebellion and led the campaign against the Jay Treaty. Later, as United States Attorney General for Eastern Pennsylvania, he entered more closely into national affairs and finally, as Secretary of the Treasury under Madison, he saved the government from bankruptcy following the War of 1812 and was a prime mover for the foundation of the second Bank of the United States.

A polished member of Philadelphia society, Dallas was politically a true democrat, with a keen conception of the practical application of the principles of the Declaration of Independence. In his law practice and in numerous astute writings, through his friendship with many leaders of his day, he helped to formulate and define the character of the new country. Dallas emerges from this book as one of those truly enviable public figures—a man of charm and wisdom who used his creative energies with untiring vigor for the common good. His life story as told in this highly readable book is of national significance and should be of especial interest to Pennsylvanians.

Raymond Walters, Jr. was a historian and retired editor of the New York Times Book Review.

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