Indiana History Politics & Government

The books and articles below are about the political and legal history of Indiana. See the right column for more info about this website.

Governors Messages and Letters: Messages and Papers of Jonathan Jennings, Ratliff Boon, William Hendricks 1816-1825

Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Commission 1924
Go to Book

In addition to the documents mentioned in the title, the editor has included a number of documents of explanatory value. Among these are the annual reports of the state treasurer, bank reports, and committee reports on education and roads.

Indiana governors, political history, government administration, archives, education history, finance, online library

Historic Documents Relating to the Organization of the State of Indiana: …

Terre Haute, IN: The Board 1917
Go to Book

(title continued) “…papers showing the transfer of ownership of what is now the State of Indiana, from the State of Virginia to the United States government. Also the laws and ordinances showing the organization of the territory, and later the State of Indiana. For use by the Terre Haute Public Schools

Documents in this brief collection are;

-Two Acts of Virginia (1783 and 1788) pertaining to Virginia’s cession of the Northwest Territory to the Federal Government
-The Ordinance of 1787, “for the Government of the Territory of the United States North-west of the River Ohio”
-An Act of 1789 providing for government of the Northwest Territory
-An Act of 1800 dividing the Northwest Territory into two governments
-An Act of 1809 dividing the Indiana Territory into two governments
-An Act of 1816 to enable the people of Indiana Territory to form a State Government
-An Indiana Ordinance of 1816 accepting the Federal Act of 1816 above

See related historical documents at:
Great Lakes Region History: Documents & Collections of Records
Indiana History: Documents & Collections of Records

Indiana history, statehood, Northwest Territory, Ordinance of 1787, Indiana Territory, books free

Indiana Government Documents in the “Indiana Memory Digital Collections” website, hosted by the Indiana State Library

Go to Website

This collection contains the published records of the Indiana General Assembly from 1817 to 1900. Included are the Brevier Legislative Reports, the Documentary Journals, the Senate Journals, and the House Journals. These publications document the debates and proceedings of both houses of the legislative branch, messages from the Governor, and reports from the various state agencies.

Indiana Memory Digital Collections, archives, government administration, state legislature, Indiana General Assembly, history

Indiana History Politics & Government

“The Criminal Code of the Northwest Territory”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 9, Issue 4, 1913, pp 234-246

Bloomington, IN: Indiana University
Banta, David D.Go to Article

Northwest Territory, legislation, free article, history magazine

Brown’s Government of Indiana: including the history, resources, and jurisprudence of the state …

Kalamazoo, MI: Governmental Publishing 1875
Brown, Charles R.Go to Book

(title continued) “… also, a brief outline of the history and government of the United States”

This volume was intended as a citizenship textbook, to provide all that an educated Hoosier should know about his government. Parts of the book, and a summary description of some of the chapters within the parts, are:

Part 1 – History of Indiana
-Explorations, French posts, conflict between French and English, Ordinance of 1787, Government of the Northwest Territory, Early Legislation, Organization of State Government, State Capital in Indianapolis, State Bank, Internal Improvements, Governors of Indiana.

Part 2 – Government and Law
-Of Laws and their Necessity, Organization of Government, Different forms of Government, Government of Indiana, Elections, How President of the U.S. and Senators are elected.

Part 3 – Executive Department
-Duties of Governor, Lt. Governor, State Officers; Duties of Counties and County Officers, Townships, Cities and Villages.

Part 4 Judicial Department
-Establishment and Jurisdiction of Courts.

Part 5 – Education and Educational Institutions
-Commons Schools, School districts, Directors, Examination of Teachers, State Board of Education, School Terms; Universities, Academies, Female Seminaries; The State University, Purdue University, the State Normal School.

Part 6 – Benevolent, Penal, and Reformatory Institutions

Part 7 – Crimes and Misdemeanors
Necessity for Punishment, Abstract of Criminal laws.

Part 8 – Revenues of the State

Part 9 – Real Estate and Personal Property

Part 10 – Domestic Relations
-Marriage, Relations concerning husband and wife, Apprentices.

Part 11 – Sundry Matters affecting Civil Rights
-Money and Interest, Weights and Measures, Salaries of Officers.

Part 12 – Indiana in the War of the Rebellion

Part 13 – Government of the United States

Also useful is: Encyclopedias, Encyclopedia Guides & Year Books

history of Indiana, state government, civics textbook, Indiana citizenship, education history, legislature, Indiana judiciary, Indiana state institutions, Indiana taxes, Civil war, online book

“Indiana Territorial Expenditures, 1800-1816”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 39, Issue 3, 1943, pp 237-262

Bloomington, IN: Indiana University
Carmony, Donald F.Go to Article

Indiana Territory, government administration, Indiana history, online history journal

Indiana History Politics & Government

“Hoosier Justice: The Journal of David McDonald, 1864–1868”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 62, Issue 3, September 1966, pp 175-232

Bloomington: Indiana University
Dewey, Donald O.Go to Article

McDonald was a U.S. judge for the District of Indiana during these years, and the diary entries “relate the day-to-day activities of an active participant and penetrating observer of the Indiana courts and bar during the last year of the Civil War and the first three years of Reconstruction.”

Indiana courts

Four Years of Public Welfare in Indiana 1936-1940

Indianapolis: State of Indiana 1941
Department of Public Welfare, State of IndianaGo to Book

Indiana: A Redemption from Slavery

Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1905
Dunn, J. P. Jr. Go to Book

Author Jacob Piatt Dunn (1855-1924) was a journalist, ethnologist and historian who grew up in Indiana and published his first book on history in 1886. Among his publications were a history of Indianapolis and a dictionary of the Miami language. He served as the recording secretary of the Indiana Historical Society for over 35 years, and served four years as the state librarian of Indiana. Other Indiana books by Dunn can be found on this website.

In the Preface the author wrote that most people did not know that slavery had ever existed in Indiana, or if they did, they “…regarded it merely as one of the incongruities of frontier life, – an unlawful condition which nothing but the imperfection of government permitted to exist. A like haziness has enveloped the petitions of Indiana for the further admission of slavery.” “The historical fact that the local slavery question was the paramount political influence in Indiana, up to the time of the organization of the state government, has never been hinted at.”

This is a later edition of a volume originally published in 1888, with the addition of one chapter. Chapter headings are:

-The First White Man
-The French Posts
-The Oldest Inhabitant
-The Hannibal of the West
-The Ordinance of 1787
-The Slavery Proviso
-The Northwest Territory
-The Governor and Judges
-The Second Grade
-The Harmony of Discord
-The Aristocrats and the People
-The Emancipation
-The Growth of the Commonwealth

history of Indiana, slavery in Indiana, public domain, abolition, Indiana Territory, free online books

Governors Messages and Letters: Messages and letters of William Henry Harrison

Indianapolis : Indiana Historical Commission 1922
Esarey, Logan, ed.Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

This is a two-volume edition covering the period during which Harrison was Governor of Indiana. Vol. 1 1800-1811; Vol. 2 1812-1816. Included are messages and letters of Governors John Gibson and Thomas Posey.

See related historical documents at:
Great Lakes Region History: Documents & Collections of Records
Indiana History: Documents & Collections of Records

Indiana history, Indiana government, Indiana governors, William Henry Harrison, Governor John Gibson, Governor Thomas Posey, administration, archives

The Laws of Indiana Territory, 1809-1816

Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau 1934
Ewbank, Louis B. and Riker, Dorothy L., edsGo to Book

The History and Civil Government of Indiana

NY: MacMillan 1908
Hendricks, Eldo L. Go to Book

Author Eldo Hendricks was the Superintendent of Schools at Delphi, IN. This book was intended for teaching civics to students, and is organized around the Constitution of the State of Indiana. Chapter headings and some of the topics within are:

-The Relation of State and Federal Government
Formation of State Constitutions, Federal powers and State powers.

-The History of Indiana

-The Constitution and Government
The Bill of Rights, Suffrage, Distribution of Powers, Legislative, Executive, Administrative, Judicial, Education, State Institutions, Finance, Corporations, the Militia.

-Local Government
County, Township, Town, City.

Ordinance of 1787, Enabling Act of 1816, State Ordinance of 1816, Official List of Governors, Salaries of State Officers, Salaries of County Officers.

history of Indiana, Indiana government, civic education, Indiana constitution, local government, Ordinance of 1787, free books

Indiana History Politics & Government

Mental Defectives in Indiana

Indianapolis: 1916
Indiana Committee on Mental DefectivesGo to Book

(title continued) ” … Report of the Committee on Mental Defectives appointed by Governor Samuel M. Ralston”

Prisons in Indiana 1827-1847

Indiana House Journal, Senate Journal and House Reports 1827-47
Indiana General Assembly Go to Book

Collected excerpts from reports and journals of the Indiana State Legislature.

“Indiana Constitution”

The Indiana Historian 2002

Indiana Historical Bureau
Indiana Historical BureauGo to Article

16-page overview on the creation of the State Constitutions of 1851. Also a bibliography.

“Indiana Statehood”

The Indiana Historian September 1999

Indiana Historical Bureau
Indiana Historical BureauGo to Article

16-page overview of the road to Statehood, including the Constitutional convention. Also a bibliography.

Municipal Government in Indiana: Third Class Cities

Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Records survey 1942
Indiana Historical Records Survey, Works Projects Administration Go to Book

“Third Class” cities had populations between 20,000 and 35,000. In Indiana they were Bloomington, Elkhart, Kokomo, Lafayette, Logansport, Marion, Michigan City, Mishawaka and New Albany.

Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Indiana Industrial School for Girls and the Indiana Woman’s Prison

Indianapolis: Burford 1900
Indiana Industrial School for Girls Go to Book

(title continued) ” … for the year ending October 31, 1899″

“Daniel Wolsey Voorhees”

Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol VI, 1919-20, 532-55

Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Mississippi Valley Historical Association
Jordan, Henry D.Go to Article

This is a profile of Voorhees as a Democratic party Congressman representing Indiana during the Civil War. Raised on a farm in Fountain county, IN, he was a U.S. District Attorney in Terre Haute when he was elected to Congress in 1860.

Political Recollections, 1840 to 1872

Chicago: Jansen, McClurg 1884
Julian, George W. Go to Book

Author George W. Julian (1817-1899) began practicing law in 1840 in Greenfield, IN. He was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1845, and to the U.S. House in 1848. He was one of the founders of the Free Soil Party and a leading opponent of slavery.

The author wrote in the Preface that this volume is “…devoted mainly to facts and incidents connected with the development of anti-slavery politics from the year 1840 to the close of the work of Reconstruction which followed the late civil war.” “…I have deemed it proper to state my own attitude and course of action respecting various public questions, and to refer more particularly to the political strifes of my own State.” Chapter headings are:

-The Harrison Campaign – The Beginning of Anti-Slavery Politics
-Campaign of 1844 – Annexation and Slavery
-Campaign of 1848 – its Incidents and Results
-Reminiscences of the Thirty-first Congress
-The Thirty-first Congress (continued)
-The Evolution of the Republican Party
-The Republican Party (continued)
-Progress of Republicanism
-The New Administration and the War
-The New Administration and the War (continued)
-Incidents and End of the War
-Reconstruction and Suffrage – The Land Question
-Mineral Lands and the Right of Pre-emption
-Reconstruction and Impeachment
-Grant and Greeley
-Concluding Notes

history of Indiana, American history, political history, anti-slavery, George W. Julian, memoir, presidential campaigns, Republican party, antebellum politics, Free Soil Party, free ebooks

Constitution Making in Indiana; A Source Book of Constitutional Documents, with Historical Introduction and Critical Notes Vol. 1 1780-1851

Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Commission 1916; In Indiana Historical Collections Vol 2, part 1, 1916
Kettleborough, Charles, PhD.Go to Book

“The documents comprised in these two volumes are designed to illustrate and interpret the constitutional growth and development of the State of Indiana from the beginnings of its institutional history to the present. For the hundred years from 1816-1916, an attempt has been made to include every document of a constitutional character.”
– from the Preface

Part 1: Cession of the Northwest Territory to the United States and the Organization and Development of the Territorial Government – (1780-1860). This part begins with a 230-page introduction by Kettleborough. This is followed by 33 documents, each with an introduction by Kettleborough that provides background. Altogether there are 152 documents, with introductions, in the four parts.
Part 2: The Organization of a Constitutional Government.
Part 3: Amendment of the Constitution of 1816.
Part 4: The Constitutional Convention of 1850.

See related historical documents at:
Great Lakes Region History: Documents & Collections of Records
Indiana History: Documents & Collections of Records

Indiana statehood, Indiana constitution, Northwest Territory, constitutional convention, historical documents, books online free

“Personal Politics In Indiana 1816 to 1840”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 19, Issue 1, 1923, pp 1-56; Volume 19, Issue 2, 1923, pp 132-168; Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 241-281

Bloomington, IN: Indiana University
Leonard, Adam A.Go to Part 1|Go to Part 2|Go to Part 3

Indiana political history, Indiana politics, Indiana statehood, Indiana Magazine of History, free history journal

Indiana History Politics & Government

Courts and Lawyers of Indiana

Indianapolis: Federal 1916
Monks, Leander J. ed., and others Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2|Go to Vol 3

Governors of Indiana 1816-1916

Indianapolis: Oval & Koster 1916
Oval, Charles Joseph Go to Book

This thin centennial volume contains one-page biographies of the governors, with portraits.

For biographies and memoirs of early 19th century governors in the Great Lakes states, see:
– Edwards, Ninian Wirt, History of Illinois, from 1778 to 1833; and Life and Times of Ninian Edwards in Illinois History Politics & Government
St Clair, Arthur and Smith, William H., ed., St. Clair Papers: The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair in Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History;
Esarey, Logan, ed., Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison in Biographies & Memoirs in Indiana History;
Alvord, Clarence W. ed., Governor Edward Coles in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Reynolds, John, My Own Times, Embracing also the History of my Life in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Hemans, Lawton Thomas, Life and Times of Stevens Thomson Mason in Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History;
McLauglin, Andrew C., Lewis Cass in Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History

Indiana history, governors of Indiana, biography, portraits, free online library

The Laws of Indiana Territory 1801-1809

Springfield, ILL: Illinois State Historical Library 1930
Philbrick, Francis S. ed. Go to Book

Chapter headings summarized are:

-Laws adopted by the Governor and Judges at their first sessions, 1801
-Laws adopted at 2nd and 3rd sessions, 1802 and 1803
-Laws passed at the first session of the First General Assembly, 1805
-Laws passed at the second session of the First General Assembly, 1806
-Laws of the Indiana Territory, including previous acts and acts passed in 1807 [this section is 400 pages long]
-Acts of Assembly passed at the second session of the Second General Assembly, 1808

Also see: Laws of the Territory of Michigan in Michigan History: Politics & Government;
Swan, Gustavus, A Compilation of Laws, Treaties, Resolutions … in Ohio History Politics & Government;
Alvord, Clarence W. ed., Laws of the Territory of Illinois 1809-1811 in Illinois History Politics & Government;
Pease, Theodore C., The Laws of the Northwest Territory, 1788-1800 in Great Lakes History Politics & Government

Indiana Territory, legislative history, early Indiana laws, Second General Assembly of Indiana, statehood, online book

The Government of the People of the State of Indiana

NY: Hinds, Noble 1906
Rawles, William A., PhD Go to Book

Chapter Headings:

-Historical Sketch of Indiana
-The State Government
-County and Township Government
-Municipal Government
-Party Organization and Elections
-Public Education

Indiana state government, county government, township government, municipal government, political parties, Indiana public education, ebooks free

Indiana History Politics & Government

“James Noble”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 9, Issue 1, 1913, pp 1-13

Bloomington, IN: Indiana University
Reid, Nina K.Go to Article

political history, national road, U.S. Senate, Indiana lawyer, internal improvements, Northwest Territory, public land sale, biography, James Noble, free online magazine

A Manual of Civil Government of Indiana; township and county, town and city

Covington, IN: Manual 1913
Sanders, LeroyGo to Book

“Describes the legislature at work. The machinery of political parties. The law of contracts, etc. Told in the language of the schoolroom for citizens large and small.”
– from the title page

Indiana government, civics manual, local government, Indiana constitution, public domain, free books

“”Henry S. Lane and the Formation of the Republican Party in Indiana”

Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol VII, 1920-21, 93-112

Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Mississippi Valley Historical Association
Sharp, Walter RiceGo to Article

In the turbulent decade of the 1850s there was a sharp political division within Indiana on the slavery issue. “The northern half, peopled from New England and the middle states, was predominantly anti-slave in it its interests and sympathies. The southern section, or practically all the territory south of the old National road through Indianapolis, was, on the contrary, strikingly southern in thought and ideals, for it was settled almost entirely by immigrants from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas”. Given this environment, the author examines the new Republican party in Indiana to see how its positions were developed and to see how Indiana Republicans may have influenced the party outside the state.

The Northern Boundary of Indiana

Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society 1928
Sheehan, Mrs. Frank J.Go to Book

Township Government in Indiana

Bloomington: Indiana University 1932
Snider, Clyde F. Go to Book

(title continued) ” …An analysis of the Indiana township as a governmental unit, and of its financial operations as exemplified by the townships of Monroe County “

The author was an instructor in Political Science.

Annual Report of the Indiana State Board of Agriculture

Indianapolis: State Board of Agriculture
1851-1907Go to Periodical

Indiana, 1930

Fort Wayne: Board of Public Printing 1930
State of IndianaGo to Book

History of the Indiana Democracy, 1816-1916

Indianapolis: Indiana Democratic 1917
Stoll, John B.Go to Book

Biographical Sketches and Review of the Bench and Bar of Indiana …

Indianapolis: Bench and Bar 1895
Taylor, Charles W.Go to Book

(title continued) “… containing biographies and sketches of eminent judges and lawyers of Indiana, together with a history of the judiciary of the state and review of the bar from the earliest times to the present, with anecdotes, reminiscences, etc.”

This 850 page volume provides sketches of judges and lawyers in Indiana both present (as of publication in 1895) and past, including over 250 portraits. Biographical sketches are in the second section, and make up most of the book. The first section, entitled “Historical Sketches of the Bench and Bar” contains the following chapters and topics (some as brief as one page), written by W. W. Thornton and others:

-United States Circuit Court for the District of Indiana
-United States District Court for the District of Indiana
-The General Court of the Northwest Territory
-The General Court of Indiana Territory
-Sketch of the Old Supreme Court
-The New Supreme Court of Indiana
-Supreme Court Commissioners
-Sketches of the Old Indiana Supreme Court Bar
-The Appellate Court
-The Circuit Courts
-Courts of Common Pleas
-Superior Court
-Courts of Impeachment
-Old Chancery Court
-Probate and Orphans’ Court
-Criminal Courts
-Courts of Conciliation
-Masters in Chancery and Master and Probate Commissioners
-Mayor’s, Police and City Courts
-Court of Claims
-Justices of the Peace
-Board of County Commissioners
-Session Laws and Statutes of the Northwest and Indiana Territory and the State of Indiana
-Law Writers of Indiana
-Attorneys at Law
-When the Lawyers Rode the Circuit
-The Indianapolis Bar of 1839
-A Justice’s Trial
-Right of Trial by Jury
-State Law Library
-Law Schools of Indiana

Indiana legal system, biographies, lawyers, judges, Northwest Territory, statehood, Indianapolis Bar, Justices of the Peace, Courts, Probate court, Criminal courts, circuit lawyers, free online books

Indiana History Politics & Government

History and Government of Indiana: A Supplement to the Indiana Edition of the Elementary American History and Government

NY: Longmans, Green 1916
Woodburn, James AlbertGo to Book

This is a 60-page illustrated textbook for students, with review questions at the end of each chapter.

government of Indiana, Constitution of Indiana, textbook, state government guide, online books

Executive Journal of Indiana Territory 1800-1816

Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society 1900
Woollen, William W., Howe, Daniel W. and Dunn, Jacob Piatt, ed.Go to Book

An extensive introduction by the editors provides an account of the changing boundaries of the Indiana Territory throughout this period, and explains how the Acts that established territorial governments were implemented. The Executive Journal, reproduced here, provides an account of all official actions of the Governor’s office. The editors provide explanatory footnotes throughout the Journal. Note that there are two indexes at the end – one for subjects and one for persons.

Indiana Territory, Territorial government, administration, executive journal, official records, archives, public domain

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