Michigan History: Politics & Government

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

The History of Suffrage in Michigan

Ann Arbor: 1898
Adams, Mary JoiceGo to Book

Chapter headings and subsections are:

I. Historical Introduction

II. History of Special Classes
1. Aliens
2. Indians
3. Negroes
4. Women

III. Miscellaneous
1. Disabilities of Electors
2. Privileges of Electors
3. Length of Residence
4. Gaining or Losing Residence
5. Place of Voting
6. School Franchise
7. Municipal Franchise

IV. Conclusion

Chart I. Territorial Qualifications
Chart II. General State Qualifications
Chart III. School Qualifications
Chart IV. Qualifications Proposed by the Convention of 1867

Preliminary Report of the State Commission of Inquiry into County, Township and School District Government, State of Michigan

Detroit: 1932
Ayres, Clarence L.Go to Book

Politics and government, Education-Finance, Local government

Citizenship in Detroit; A Supplementary Reader in Community Civics

Detroit: Detroit Board of Education 1938
Barnes, C. C.Go to Book

Politics and government-Study and teaching, Civics-Study and teaching, Michigan-Detroit

Local Government in Michigan and the Northwest

Johns Hopkins Studies in Historical and Political Science

Baltimore: Johns Hopkins 1883
Bemis, Edward W.Go to Article

Political science paper that first contrasts the different types of local government prevalent in different sections of the country. Then the author focuses on styles of local government throughout Michigan’s history as part of New France, British-ruled Northwest Territory, and after the influx of settlers beginning around 1820.

Local government, United States-Northwest, Old

Laws of Michigan Relating to Women

Lansing: State Printer 1916
Bradrick, Charles W., comp.Go to Book

Women-Legal status, Law

The Michigan Township: An Outline of the Structure and Functions of Township Government

East Lansing: Michigan State University 1962
Brake, D. HaleGo to Book

Politics and government, Local government

The Government of Michigan; Its History and Jurisprudence …

Kalamazoo, Moore & Quale 1874
Brown, Charles R.Go to Book

(title continued) ” … Also, a Brief Outline of the Government of the United States”

Intended as a textbook for students to learn Michigan civics, this volume is still useful as a concise reference book for the structure and functions of State and local government in the 1870s. It also contains fairly brief texts of several dozen laws; including:

-Of Weights and Measures
-Of the Support of Poor Persons
-The Internal Police of the State
-Of the Observance of the Sabbath
-The Law of the Road, Conduct of Drivers
-Trespass upon Cranberry Marshes, Destruction of Canada Thistles
-Of Crimes and Misdemeanors, Treason, Murder, Duels
–Of the Protection of Game, Song Birds, and Musk-Rats

Also useful is: Encyclopedias, Encyclopedia Guides & Year Books

Michigan government, civics, justice system, U.S. government, local government, history of Michigan, 19th century, free online library

Outlines of the Political History of Michigan

Detroit: Schober 1876
Campbell, James ValentineGo to Book

Dunbar and May found that, “James V. Campbell, Outlines of the Political History of Michigan, and Thomas M. Cooley, Michigan: A History of Governments, are of special interest because the authors were Michigan’s most distinguished jurists of the nineteenth century.” Willis F. Dunbar and George S. May, Michigan: a History of the Wolverine State, Eerdmans 1995.

“This book is well described by its title: it presents in full outline the political history of Michigan from the earliest times to the centennial year, 1876. Other topics and materials are used only in so far as they serve to illustrate the long series of political facts. Michigan is, therefore, seen under French, British, and American jurisdiction, and under American in three territorial forms before it finally became a state. The author was long a member of the state Supreme Court, and much of the history of the later period fell under his own observation. The book is a solid contribution to the history of Michigan and of the old Northwest.”
– Literature of American History; a bibliographical guide (1902)

Michigan history, political history, legal history, 19th century, books online, public domain

How Michigan Makes Her Laws

Lansing: Michigan State Government 1953
Chase, Fred I. Go to Book

Legislation, Michigan Legislature

Michigan: A History of Governments

Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1885
Cooley, Thomas M. Go to Book

See the note at Campbell, Outlines of the Political History of Michigan, above on this web page.

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

history of Michigan, state history, political history, online books free

Michigan History: Politics & Government

The Politics of Michigan, 1865-1878

NY: Columbia University 1912
Dilla, Harriette M.Go to Book

Unpublished PhD Dissertation in Political Science at Columbia U.

Politics and government

“Report of the Governor and Judges of Michigan Territory to Congress; Detroit, Oct 10, 1805”

Historical Collections Vol 36, 1908, 100-111

Lansing: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society
Hull, William (Governor)Go to Article

The title paper is preceded here by a “Prefatory Explanation” by historian Clarence M. Burton. When Michigan Territory was formed in 1805, William Hull was appointed by President Jefferson as the first Territorial Governor. Several months later Governor Hull and two of the three judges appointed as the Territorial Legislature arrived in Detroit, to encounter a scene of total destruction. The entire town, with the exception of one house, had recently burned to the ground. The residents were living in tents and neighboring farmhouses.
Governor Hull’s report to Congress describes the situation he found and the action that he and the Judges took to re-establish a new town of Detroit, in which the residents would acquire new properties. Their actions, including sale of land titles to the residents, required the approval by Congress before they could be finalized. The report also described some of the earlier legal history of Detroit under the French and British, and potential issues of property ownership that could arise for titles granted under the previous governments. Issues about title to Indian lands in several locations are also discussed.

Governor William Hull, history of Michigan, history of Detroit, Michigan Territory, Michigan government history, free ebook

Guide to Michigan Politics

East Lansing: Michigan State University 1960
LaPalombara, JosephGo to Book

Politics and government

“The Boundaries of Michigan”

Historical Collections Vol 30, 1906, 1-27

Lansing: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society 1906
Larzelere, Claude S. Go to Article

Professor Larzelere, Professor of History at Central State Normal School in Mount Pleasant, traced the many changes in borders of the various territorial governments within the Northwest Territory; with special attention to changes in Michigan borders. Most of his story took place in the U.S. Congress, and follows the history of proposals, discussions and legislation that created the various territorial and state governments in the region from the early 1780s through statehood of Wisconsin in 1846. The article is illustrated with a series of maps; beginning with Thomas Jefferson’s 1784 proposed division of the Territory into states. Congress adopted Jefferson’s map but not all his suggested state names, or northern Michigan would now be known as ‘Cherronesus’ and the southern part of the state as ‘Metropotamia’. His proposal did include the name ‘Michigania’ though, for present-day central Wisconsin.

Northwest Territory, Michigan borders, statehood, Wisconsin Territory, Cherronesus, online books

Government of Michigan

Hillsdale, MI: Hillsdale School Supply 1946
Larzelere, Claude SheldonGo to Book

Politics and government-Study and teaching, Local government

The Government of the Detroit Metropolitan Area

Detroit: Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research 1934
Leonard, J. M. and Upson, Lent D.Go to Book

A volume in the Michigan Commission of Inquiry into County, Township and School District Government, by chairman Clarence L. Ayres.

Michigan-Wayne County, Detroit, Politics and government

A History of the Michigan State Constabulary

Detroit: Michigan State Constabulary Association 1919
Michigan State Constabulary Association Go to Book

Police, Michigan

Michigan State and Local Government

Lansing: Hammond 1907
McKone, William JamesGo to Book

Chapter headings are:

1. The School District
2. The Township
3. Township Officers
4. Elections
5. Road Making
6. Township Boards
7. Taxation
8. Villages
9. Cities
10. Counties
11. Board of Supervisors
12. Circuit Court
13. Miscellaneous County Affairs
14. The State
15. Legislative Department
16. Executive Department
17. Judicial Department
18. Court Proceedings
19. Municipal Courts
20. Probate Courts
21. General Judicial Matters
22. Educational Affairs
23. Libraries
24. Military Affairs
25. State Departments – Elective Officers
26. State Departments – Appointive Officers
27. State Boards – Ex-Officio
28. State Boards – Appointive
29. State Institutions

Politics and government, Authors, Michigan

Daily Journal of the Convention to Form a Constitution (Monday, May 11, 1835 – Friday, June 19, 1835)

Michigan Territorial GovernmentGo to Book

In early 1835 the Acting Territorial Governor of Michigan issued an Enabling Act authorizing the people of Michigan to form a constitution and state government, in conformance with procedures laid down by the federal government. The Michigan Territorial Council, the unicameral governing body of Michigan Territory, called a constitutional convention, which ran from May 11, to June 24, 1835. This document appears to be the official record of that convention. The proposed constitution would be overwhelmingly approved by the voters in October, 1835. Statehood, which required U.S. Congressional approval, was delayed until 1837 due to a dispute with Ohio over the location of the border between the two states.

See related historical documents at: Michigan History: Documents & Collections of Records

Michigan constitution, constitutional convention, Michigan Territory, statehood, online library

Laws of the Territory of Michigan, comprising the acts, of a public nature …

Detroit: Sheldon & Wells 1827
Go to Book

(title continued) “… revised by commissioners appointed by the First Legislative Council and passed by the Second Council, the acts and resolutions of the first and second councils; and the acts, now in force, adopted by the Governor and judges of the Territory; together with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and certain acts of Congress relative to said Territory.”

This book of almost 700 pages appears to contain complete texts of all Territorial laws, although that cannot be verified because the introductory pages have been lost. There is an index at the back for all laws contained within.

Also see: Swan, Gustavus, A Compilation of Laws, Treaties, Resolutions … in Ohio History Politics & Government;
Philbrick, Francis S. ed., The Laws of Indiana Territory 1801-1809 in Indiana 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

Michigan Territory, legal history, legislation, First Legislative Council, Territorial laws, ebooks online

Michigan History: Politics & Government

Michigan State Police; A Twenty-five Year History

East Lansing: Michigan Police Journal Press 1942
Olander, Oscar G.Go to Book

Reconstruction in Michigan

Lansing?: 1919
Perry, Stuart HoffmanGo to Book

This is the March 1919 report of the “Michigan Reconstruction Committee”, which was appointed by the Governor to prepare a survey of post-war reconstruction problems in Michigan. It was an effort to identify economic and social issues in the state.

Reconstruction (1914-1939)

Township Government and the Exploitation of Timber and Wild Land Resources in Northern Michigan

Lansing: Michigan Local Government Series 1933
Ramsdell, W.F.Go to Book

Local government, Economic history, Forests and forestry, Politics and government

“The Penal System of Michigan”

The Republic Vol. 1, 1873, 394-398

Washington, D.C.
RepublicGo to Article

This article describes recent recommendations of a commission that was set up by Governor Bagley to reform the prison system in Michigan along principles then considered progressive.

Michigan Under British Rule: Law and Law Courts 1760-1796

Lansing: Michigan Historical Commission
Riddell, William RenwickGo to Book

History of the Michigan State Highway Department, 1905-1933

Lansing: 1933
Rogers, Frank FosterGo to Book

Roads, Michigan Department of State Highways

“The International Boundary Line of Michigan”

Historical Collections Vol 26, 1896, 597-631

Lansing: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society
Soule, Annah MayGo to Article

This is a fairly extensive history of the conflict and negotiation between countries over the boundary between the U.S. and Canada, and in particular that part of the boundary that borders Michigan. Many historical sources were consulted. Included are numerous hand-drawn maps that illustrate the discussion.

“The Michigan-Indiana Boundary”

Historical Collections Vol 27, 1897, 341-345

Lansing: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society
Soule, Annah MayGo to Article

Setting the boundary between Indiana and Michigan was a contentious issue for both governments and the populations of Indiana and Michigan. The author was a historian and provides a well-documented narrative of the issue and its resolution.

“The Southern and Western Boundaries of Michigan”

Historical Collections Vol 27, 1897, 346-390

Lansing: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society
Soule, Annah MayGo to Article

This thoroughly documented and well-explained history of the establishment of borders was written by a historian, and is accompanied by a number of maps and many footnotes and references.

Under the Oaks; Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Republican Party, at Jackson, Michigan, July 6, 1854

Detroit: Detroit Tribune 1904
Stocking, WilliamGo to Book

(title continued) ” … Comprising a History of the Party in Michigan; the proceedings of the anniversary celebration, and portraits of leading Michigan Republicans”

Republican Party (U.S. 1854-)

Political Parties in Michigan, 1837-1860 …

Lansing: Michigan Historical Commission 1918
Streeter, Floyd BenjaminGo to Book

(title continued) ” … An Historical Study of Political Issues and Parties in Michigan from the Admission of the State to the Civil War”

This book was derived from the author’s doctoral dissertation. The Table of Contents contains beneath each of the chapter headings (listed below) a detailed outline of all subject matter in that chapter. There is a useful annotated bibliography.

-State Politics, 1835-1843
-Anti-Slavery Movement and the Organization of the Liberty Party
-Effect of Territorial Extension and the Tariff Issues
-Political Controversy Over the Mexican War
-Compromise of 1850
-Tendency of the Free Soil and Whig Parties to Unite 1848-1852
-Foreign Element in Michigan Politics
-Organization of the Know-Nothing and Republican Parties
-The Churches in Michigan Politics
-River and Harbor Improvement Issue
-Growth of Dissatisfaction in the Republican Party, 1857-1858
-Democratic Decline and Republican Advance, 1858-1860

Michigan political history, political parties, statehood, anti-slavery, Liberty party, Republican party, public domain

The Facts and Historical Events of the Toledo War of 1835, as connected with the first session of the court of common pleas of Lucas County, Ohio

Toledo: Job. 1869
Way, Willard V. Go to Book

For more works on the “Toledo War” (boundary dispute between Michigan and Ohio) see: Ohio History Politics & Government

See related historical documents at: Michigan History: Documents & Collections of Records

Michigan-Ohio boundary dispute, Toledo War, political history, books online free

Municipal Government in Michigan and Ohio: A Study in the Relations of City and Commonwealth

NY: Columbia University 1896
Wilcox, Delos F.Go to Book

A volume in the Series Studies in History, Economics and Public Law.

Municipal home rule, Municipal government, State-local relations

“The Republican Party – the True History of its Birth”

Historical Collections Vol 28, 1900, 479-481

Lansing: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society
Williams, AlbertGo to Article

The author was present at the mass meeting in Jackson, MI of July 6, 1854 in which the Republican Party was formed. He describes the meeting and related political events, and confirms that Jackson, MI was indeed the site of the founding of the national Republican party. Many names of early representatives from around the state are included.

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