This is a Web page detailing the context, range and availability of the "Political Power in Boston, Massachusetts and Charleston, South Carolina, 1828-1843" dataset hosted by the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), based at the UK Data Archive University of Essex (formerly part of the Arts and Humanities Data Service - AHDS). The data is available to order from the HDS as text files (transcriptions). From this Web page you may download a PDF of images of the study documentation. To make use of this dataset you must first register with the HDS, and further information is supplied giving instructions; only UK residents may access this resource. This study examined public records from two major port cities on the east coast of the United States in order to understand how urban centres functioned in antebellum America. The history, culture, and inhabitants of both cities were examined to compare the mechanisms of urban decision-making as they related to national economic and political circumstances. Demographic information was collected on a broad spectrum of individuals from both cities to gather as complete a picture as possible of those who wielded influence or power in the decisions undertaken in Boston and Charleston in response to the economic conditions of the period from 1828 to 1843. Variables in the dataset include the names of individuals; their gender; marital status; occupation; residence; location of business; birth and death dates; place of birth and nationality; political affiliation; church membership; fire and militia company association; professional, religious and/or philanthropic interests; business and corporate affiliations; property holdings; educational experiences; political offices served. The principal investigators emphasize that the arrangement and nature of the variables differ between the two cities.