Roseanne Barr

Baltimore has been site of many national political conventions

With the presidential convention season upon us, political and campaign junkies will most likely find Stan Haynes' recently published book, "The First American Political Conventions: Transforming Presidential Nominations, 1832-1872," a fascinating and entertaining look at the way these quadrennial gatherings used to be — before primaries and caucuses took all the drama and fun out of them.

The years covered by Haynes, a Semmes, Bowen & Semmes attorney and Ellicott City resident, marked a critical time in the nation, with issues that included the Panic of 1837, slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction.

It is a little-known fact that in the history of the...