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The 2012 presidential nominating conventions of the Democratic and Republican parties in Charlotte and Tampa, at which President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were nominated as the standard-bearers of the parties, continued a long and colorful American political tradition. This book, by Stan M. Haynes, explores the history of conventions.

For almost two centuries, Americans have relied upon political conventions to provide the nation with choices for new leadership.  As quintessentially American spectacles, modern conventions continue many of the traditions and rules developed during the first conventions held in the mid-nineteenth century.  The First American Political Conventions analyzes the birth of the convention process in the 1830s and follows its development over forty years, chronicling each of the presidential elections from 1832 to 1872, including campaigns that involved the giants of the era, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and Abraham Lincoln.  For each election, the leading candidates, key issues, and memorable speeches and events that occurred on the convention floors are evaluated.  The book also analyzes backroom deal-making, "dark horse" candidacies, and the meeting halls, accompanying parades, rallies, and other political hoopla that took place in the convention cities.  By exploring the first political conventions, this volume sheds new light on a political ritual that is still the focal point of the modern American presidential campaign.