Walter Dean Burnham is widely regarded as the greatest living student of American voting behavior. He pioneered the collection and publication of historical American election statistics and his many essays and books on them are read around the world. His compilation of voting statistics for the famous 1975 Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970 was a landmark in the field. It presented the first reasonably complete data series on voting turnout in presidential elections, as well as the partisan split and other details of other, mostly federal, elections. But it was by no means complete, even for national elections. Returns from many areas, especially in the South and for much of the U.S. before 1824, were not included. Nor was there reliable turnout data for elections below the presidential level. Now, at last, his new work fills the gigantic holes at the heart of American history. Based on his own research into many local archives across the United States as well as state censuses from the 19th century, Burnham presents a complete series of presidential voting returns by state, together with state level data for governors and Congressional representatives. The series includes not only partisan splits, but turnouts, which makes this the first complete record of voting turnout in US federal elections ever published. Burnham also presents his estimates of the voting population for each state, which scholars have long awaited.
He also includes a number of other series of great interest, including results for primaries in the South after the Civil War. These were the "real" election, but the data have been unavailable until now.
“This is a reference essential work in American politics and history. I hope that public libraries as well as research libraries add this title to their collections. My hat is off to everyone involved with publication. The Kearns, Beschlosses ,Schlesingers and Meachams of this world all owe Burnham an immense debt of gratitude.”
Professor Paul du Quenoy,AUB
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