The University of Chicago provides thousands of primary source documents concerning the diverse contents of the Constitution. Documents underlying the proposed Constitution, as well as documents of the time debating the proposed Constitution are available and sorted by the major themes of the Constitution. Links to each part of the text of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are also available.
Primary source documents (letters) concerning the need for a central government written by Madison, Hamilton, Jay, and others.
The original text of a 1787 article in which James Madison discusses the failures of the Articles of Confederation. An interesting look at the problems with the states and with foreign countries.
The original text of a letter from Alexander Hamilton to Governor George Clinton of New York in 1778 complaining of inadequate material for the U.S. armed forces and perception of weakness by foreign powers.
This chapter introduction describes the historical context in which the issue of federalism was discussed by our nation's Founders. Discusses the Federalist and Anti-Federalist points-of-view.
The original text of The Virginia Plan presented at the Constitutional Convention. Discusses federal versus consolidated government.
With this address, Jefferson marked the first-ever peaceful transfer of power by election in the world. He used this address to calm the fears of the opposition Federalist party.
This speech, "The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of Pennsylvania to Their Constituents," contains some of the arguments for opposing the Constitution.
Read the words of John Adams at the Constitutional Convention where he is debating the meaning of "the people" in the Constitution.
The original text of official Resolutions by members of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 during the debate creating a new national U.S. Constitution.
The text of the Resolution of the Constitutional Convention authorizing the submission of the Constitution of the United States to the legislatures of the states to be ratified by state conventions.