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Part 2: 1750-1805
Part 3: 1791-1831
Part 4: 1831-1865

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Historical Documents
A Tobacco Plantation
1788

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A Tobacco Plantation

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A Tobacco Plantation was the title page for the 1788 publication The Federalist. Authored by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, The Federalist is a collection of essays that is considered, even today, the "foremost commentary on the United States Constitution."

The Federalist covers such topics as "Showing the Utility of the Union to Political Prosperity," "Discussion of Dangers from Foreign Forces and Influences," "Taxation," and "System of Checks and Balances." The publication, designed to win support for the newly proposed U.S. Constitution, does not deal with slavery, or even agriculture, much less a tobacco plantation. The title page image, therefore, is meant to illustrate prosperity in the United States. The image also infers how accepted slavery was among most whites at the time.

Image Credit: Arents Collections The New York Public Library Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations




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