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This comprehensive study highlights the importance of legislative and extralegal committees in the political and institutional development of early American history, showing how the colonial experience modified a basic British institution, using it in the cause of legislative supremacy and, eventually, independence. The book illuminates the role played by committees in the growth of colonial self-government, tracing the committee system to its origins in the parliamentary committees of medieval England, then following the permutations of the committee system through the decades in which self-government emerged in South Carolina. Solid, penetrating, the book offers new depths of insight into an important process that had vital importance to the growth of representative government in America.