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"It is probable," Charles M. Wiltse writes in his guide to this collection, "that no man of his time had greater impact upon the development of American institutions than Daniel Webster."

As a politician, lawyer, writer, and orator, Webster's contributions to the development of American life were substantial. For students in American history, law, and political science, this collection will provide valuable background information for research into such areas as:

  • Webster's lasting contributions to American diplomatic efforts as secretary of state
  • his impact on political thought as the voice of American nationalism at a time when the weight of authority was on the side of state sovereignty
  • the lasting value of his legal reasoning as demonstrated in constitutional interpretations, that are still valid today

The 16,000 items in the Papers of Daniel Webster date from 1798-1852, and comprise the most comprehensive collection of Webster materials ever assembled. These papers feature personal and political correspondence, including his resignation as secretary of state. Also among these materials are poems, essays, and orations he wrote while at Dartmouth College, drafts of editorials for the National Intelligencer, legal papers, and Congressional and diplomatic documents.

This collection is conveniently arranged in chronological order within the broad categories of General Correspondence, Business Papers, Congressional Papers, and State Department Papers. Items already available on microfilm such as official files of the Department of State, or items published separately such as legal papers and courthouse records, are excluded.

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