The Librarian's Mantra
THE FEDERALIST PAPERS were written by Alexander Hamilton (who formulated the idea to write the series), James Madison, and John Jay (both of whom Hamilton selected to help him). The Federalist Papers not only ably served their purpose in defending the Constitution, but in explaining its passages and intent. It continues to be widely acknowledged as one of (if not the) most authoritative writings on the Constitution.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was born in Massachuesetts, but ran away during his youth to Pennsylvania, which he adopted as his home for the remainder of his life. Franklin is famous for his writing and ingenious inventions, as an entrepreneur, statesman, and diplomat. He helped frame the Pennsylvania Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution, and signed the latter two. In addition to serving as a delegate to congressional bodies and committees, he served as a foreign diplomat during the War for Independence, and helped win America's favor before the French government. He also recommended for the Continental Army foreign veterans like Marquis de Lafayette and Baron von Steuben, who helped the American cause.
JOHN DICKINSON was born in Maryland, to a Quaker family, who soon moved to Delaware and Pennsylvania. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress, and while he is known for his pamphlets explaining the rights of Americans, he refused to sign the Declaration of Independence, fearing that America would be divided and destroyed from within, without the uniting power of Great Britain. However, he served as a militia officer during the War, on the American side. He is the author of "The Liberty Song." After the Revolution, he participated in the Constitutional Convention as a delegate from New Jersey, and he signed the Constitution which that gathering produced.
- An Essay on the Constitutional Powers of Great Britain over the Colonies of America; with the Resolves of the Committee for the Province of Pennsylvania, and their instructions to their Representatives in Assembly (1774)
- Political Writings of John Dickinson (1801); volume 1, volume 2
- Digital Collections of Dickinson's Writings from Dickinson College
- Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States (ed. Paul L. Ford)
- Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania (Dickinson) v. Letters from a Federal Farmer (R. H. Lee) (ed. Forrest McDonald)
The Constitutional Convention of 1787 met in the city of Philadelphia, in the very room where the Declaration of Independence had been signed eleven years earlier. It was attended by 55 delegates from all of the original thirteen united states, Rhode Island excepted. This Convention produced the United States Constitution, which was signed by 39 of the delegates on September 17, 1787. Below are the records of the debates, the notes taken by the several delegates of the Convention, and other records of the documents which led up the Constitution of the United States of America.
- The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 (edited by Max Farrand), 3 volumes
- Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (edited by Jonathan Elliot), 4 volumes
- Letters of the Delegates to Congress
- A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U. S. Congressional Documents and Sessions (1774-1875)
- Library of Congress: American Memory
- The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: The American Constitution
- U. S. Constitution Online (website)
- Notes of the Convention (by delegate; Madison's Notes by day)
- Sketches of the Delegates, by Delegate William Pierce of Georgia
- United States Constitution (Federali.st)
- The Federalist Papers (coming soon!)
- The Anti-Federalist Papers (coming soon!)
EDMUND BURKE was a member of the British Parliament, well-known for his support for the cause of the American colonies before and during the American Revolutionary War, and his strong opposition to the French Revolution. He is a widely-acknowledged influence on the ideals of American conservatism.
The Works of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke
ELIAS BOUDINOT was an American Founding Father from New Jersey. He was one of the Presidents of the Second Continental Congress, as well as an influential delegate from New Jersey in Congress. He was a mentor of Founder Alexander Hamilton, with whom he frequently corresponded, along with other noted Founders. He was the brother-in-law of Richard Stockton (signer of the Declaration of Independence), a trustee of Princeton University, and the First President of the American Bible Society. his writings are a history of his deep involvement in the Founding, and of the Founding Era in general.
- Works by Elias Boudinot (Internet Archive)
- The Age of Revelation (1801)
- The Second Advent (1815)
- A Star in the West (1816)
- Journal, Or, Historical Recollections of American Events during the Revolutionary War (Google Books)
WILLIAM BRADFORD was governor of Plymouth Plantation in what is now the state of Massachusetts. He was a leader of the Separatist congregation, known as the Pilgrims, who arrived on the shores of Cape Cod in 1620. William Bradford recorded the history of this congregation and of Plymouth Plantation, which was one of the first American settlements in the northern colonies, and the group of men and women which framed the Mayflower Compact, an early American founding document.
- Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation (The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1912)
- The History of Plymouth Plantation (1620-1647), volume 1 and volume 2
- Selections from Early American Writers: William Bradford
SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE was a famed English jurist, known most for his four-volume Commentaries on the Laws of England, which are widely recognized as the British common law (which had previously been oral) in written form. In the years preceding and during the American Founding Era (1760-1805), Blackstone's Commentaries were one of the most widely-read volumes in America. They were one of the few sources quoted most-often by the Founding Fathers (along with the Bible, Montesquieu, and Locke), and they all widely recommended their perusal. For generations after the Founding, Blackstone's Commentaries, along with the Bible, were required reading in American law schools.
FRANCIS BACON of England was one of the famed writers of the Enlightenment period whose works were read widely across Europe, and in America. He was quoted by several of the Founders, and Thomas Jefferson considered him one of the three greatest minds the world ever produced (Jefferson ranked Bacon along with Isaac Newton and John Locke).
FISHER AMES is best known as the one who drafted the final version of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. He was a native of Massachusetts, a Federalist member of the U. S. Congress where he represented his state. Ames had an extensive correspondence with several distinguished Founding Fathers, including John Adams, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton.
- The Works of Fisher Ames, Complied by a Number of His Friends, to which are prefixed, Notices of His Life and Character (by John Thornton Kirkland, 1869)
- The Works of Fisher Ames (edited by his son Seth Ames), volume I and volume II
SAMUEL ADAMS is known as the "Father of the American Revolution," for he organized the resistance to British tyranny in New England, forming the "Sons of Liberty," "The Committees of Correspondence," and was a ring-leader of the Boston Tea Party. It is he who coined one of the famous cries of the Revolution: "No taxation without representation!" His writings are a history of the cause, progress, and ideals of the American Revolution.
The Writings of Samuel Adams (edited by Henry Alonzo Cushing, 1904-1908)
ABIGAIL ADAMS was the wife of John Adams and John Quincy Adams. During the time that her husband was founding the United States, she wrote volumes of letters full of history, insight, personal information, and wisdom to her husband and to other figures. Her letters provide a huge insight into the times in which she lived and wisdom advanced for her time.
- Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams (Google Books)
- Familiar Letters of John Adams and His Wife Abigail Adams, during the Revolution (Google Books)
- Select Letters of Abigail Adams from 1761-1816 (Family Tales)
- New Letters of Abigail Adams (Internet Archive)
- Memoir of Mrs. Adams, by Charles Francis Adams (Internet Archive)
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS was a true son of the American Revolution. His father was John Adams, American Founding Father and statesman, and his mother was Abigail Adams, correspondent and writer. John Quincy Adams served with his father in foreign courts, as well as in the House of Representatives and as President. His writings are a rich legacy of the generation which proceeded from the Founding Fathers, and his words are the account of a man who grew up in the midst of the founding and lived to tell the proceeding generations about it.
- Selections from his Diary (Massachusetts Historical Society)
- Printed Voluminous Works (Internet Archive)
- Select Letters from 1779 -1831 (Family Tales)
- Poems of Religion and Society: with notices of his life and character (Making of America)
- Writings of John Quincy Adams (Google Books)
This is a plan for some updating I plan to do on this blog when I have the opportunity, that is, plenty of time to write and organize. But I don't think that I do today. Let me simply outline what I plan to do.
- Make a list of old books which are available online, which have helped me in my research, and which, I am sure, will be of help to others.
- Instead of having a single post with the writings of the Founders, I would like to make a directory of names of authors on the side-bar, so that their respective writings are easily accessible to the public. I will have a widget on the sidebar, with names of the various authors listed in alphabetical order by last name, which will lead you directly to a page on this blog that I will prepare for each author. It will have a brief biographical sketch, with some information that makes their writings relevant to the study of the American founding and history.
JOHN ADAMS of Massachusetts, was a Founding Father of the United States of America. He served as a member of the First and Second Continental Congresses. He was one of the members of the Committee of Five that drew up the Declaration of Independence, a document which he also signed. Adams served as foreign minister to several European powers, including Great Britain, France, Holland, and Spain. He was one of the three American diplomats who negotiated the Treaty of Paris (1783) which officially ended the American Revolutionary War. He was first Vice-President of the United States, as well as its second President.
He left his country an invaluable store of writings, which his fellow countrymen would be wise to peruse.
- Autobiography (Massachusetts Historical Society)
- Correspondence with Abigail Adams, from 1762-1801 (Massachusetts Historical Society)
- Diary (Massachusetts Historical Society)
- Selected Writings of John Adams (Founding.com)
- Public Official Messages and Speeches (Avalon Project)
- Published Voluminous Works of John Adams (Internet Archive)
- John Adams Library (Boston Public Library)