The Northeastern Political Science Association was established in 1968, and hosted its first annual meeting in 1969, but its origin stretches back to 1966 when, in the fall of 1966, the New England Political Science Association passed a resolution to explore the possibilities of organizing a new political science journal. Among other charges, the resolution stipulated that … [the associations] “should explore the possibility that New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey associations might have an interest in working out some sort of cooperative basis for sponsorship so that the regional basis for launching this venture could be broadened beyond the New England States proper.”

In the spring of 1967, a planning group with representatives from the New York and New England associations met in Albany, NY and proposed the creation of a general political science journal. It was recommended that the journal be called Politeia, Journal of the Northeastern Federation of Political Science Associations. As discussions continued between New York, New England, and Pennsylvania, the name of the journal was changed to Polity: The Journal of the Northeastern Political Science Association and it was agreed that the journal would be published by the University of Massachusetts. Dues for the new organization were set at $8.00 per year ($6 to support the journal, $1 to constituent organizations, and $1 to the fledgling Northeastern Political Science Association).

The 1st annual meeting was held in Hartford, CT November 6-8, 1969 and consisted of 5 panels held throughout Friday, followed by a dinner Friday evening with Karl Deutsch, then President of APSA, as the speaker. This established the practice NPSA still follows today of inviting the APSA President to be guest speaker at the organization’s dinner.

Originally, the new journal and the new association (NPSA) were staffed by representatives of the constituent associations. As time progressed, and the organization grew both the journal and the NPSA developed distinct editorial and executive boards from the regional associations; although the regionals continued to supply, on a rotating basis, the Program Chair for the NPSA’s annual meeting until the new constitution was adopted in 2012.

Despite Polity’s and NPSA’s regional origins, from the very beginning it was made clear that submissions were not limited to those who resided, or taught in the region. The journal and the association were always open to non-regional professionals. This practiced has continued over the years with NPSA board members, section chairs, and conference participants coming from all across the US and around the world.

In 1989, the Northeastern Political Science Association continued it develop its own identity independent from the regional associations by filing for, and being granted federal non-profit 501 c(4) status.

In 2012, the NPSA drafted a new constitution formally establishing itself as an organization linked to the regional associations, but independent of them.

In 2015, the NPSA filed for and was awarded LLC status as a nonprofit 501 c(4) type organization.