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!)