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Force, Peter

Peter Force, 1790–1868, American journalist and historian, b. near Paterson, N.J. He served in the War of 1812 and afterward established himself in Washington, D.C., as a printer. Entering local politics, he was at different times president of both the city council and the board of aldermen and was mayor of Washington (1836–40). His National Journal, established in 1823 to support John Quincy Adams for the presidency, continued as a daily from 1824 to 1831. He issued for many years the National Calendar, a yearbook of historical and statistical information, and edited four volumes of rare documents, Tracts and Other Papers Relating Principally to the Origin, Settlement, and Progress of the Colonies in North America (1836–46). His project for publishing early American documents, national, state, and private, dealing with colonial and American history down to 1789, was authorized by Congress but was discontinued before completion. The resulting American Archives (9 vol., 1837–53), the work by which Force is chiefly known, covers only the years 1774–76 but has proved indispensable to students of the American Revolution. Force's large collections were purchased by the Library of Congress.

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