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The Early Federal Workforce

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How did Americans govern themselves during the Constitution’s first tumultuous decades? 

This question is animating a book and digital project by Washington University in St. Louis professor of history, Peter Kastor. Kastor, who teaches at Brookings Executive Education’s Daring to Lead course observes that although there are a plethora of books on the Founding Fathers, there is scant information about what the early federal government did and who did it. He is addressing this void through a careful analysis of the Founders’ correspondence and a massive digital archive of the federal workforce. The project, Creating a Federal Government, is providing answers about the early days of the federal government and the men and women who served. For more information visit for an introduction to the project and its goals. For more insights, read Kastor’s paper on the early federal workforce.

About the Author: peter Kastor

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Peter Kastor is professor and chair of the Department of History as well as professor of American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.  He is the author or editor of six books, include The Nation’s Crucible: The Louisiana Purchase and the Creation of America and William Clark’s World: Describing America in an Age of Unknowns.  A 2013-2014 Digital Innovation Fellow at the American Council of Learned Societies, Professor Kastor is currently at work on The Founding Fathers’ Government, a project that combines a book about policymaking during the early republic with a major digital archive that reconstructs the early federal workforce.

“A regular guest on St. Louis Public Radio, Kastor has spoken with numerous media organizations about the history of American politics and has written for outlets including The Huffington Post, The Conversation, and Fortune.

In addition to his work with Brookings Executive Education, he has worked with groups from the St. Louis Public Schools, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and the Air War College.

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