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Collection Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774 to 1789

Related Resources

At the Library of Congress

American Memory

  • African-American Pamphlets

    From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909 presents 396 pamphlets from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, published from 1822 through 1909, by African-American authors and others who wrote about slavery, African colonization, Emancipation, Reconstruction, and related topics. The materials range from personal accounts and public orations to organizational reports and legislative speeches. Among the authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Kelly Miller, Charles Sumner, Mary Church Terrell, and Booker T. Washington.

  • Elliot's Debates (The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution) 5 volumes

    The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution were compiled by Jonathan Elliot in the mid-nineteenth century. They stand today as the best source for materials for the period between the closing of the Constitutional Convention in September 1787 and the opening of the first Federal Congress in March 1789.

  • Farrand's Record (The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787) 3 volumes

    One of the great scholarly efforts of the early twentieth century was Max Farrand's gathering of the documentary records of the Constitutional Convention. Published in 1911, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 contained the materials necessary for a study of the workings of the Constitutional Convention. Farrand's Records remains the single best source for discussions of the Constitutional Convention.

  • Journals of the Continental Congress 34 volumes

    The Journals of the Continental Congress are the records of the daily proceedings of the Congress as kept by the office of its secretary, Charles Thomson. The Journals were printed contemporaneously in different editions and in several subsequent reprint editions.

  • Printed Ephemera

    The Printed Ephemera collection at the Library of Congress is a rich repository of Americana. In total, the collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history. The first release of the digitized Printed Ephemera Collection presented more than 7,000 items. This release presents more than 10,000 items. While the broadside format represents the bulk of the collection, there are a significant number of leaflets and some pamphlets. Rich in variety, the collection includes proclamations, advertisements, blank forms, programs, election tickets, catalogs, clippings, timetables, and menus. They capture the everyday activities of ordinary people who participated in the events of nation-building and experienced the growth of the nation from the American Revolution through the Industrial Revolution up to present day. A future final release will include thousands of oversize items in the collection.

  • The Thomas Jefferson Papers

    The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents ranging in date from 1606 to 1827. Correspondence, memoranda, notes, and drafts of documents make up two-thirds of the Papers. Jefferson's two administrations as president from 1801 to 1809 are well-documented, as are his activities as a delegate to the second Continental Congress, his drafting of the Declaration of Independence in June-July 1776, his service as governor of Virginia, 1779-81, his return to Congress as a representative, 1783-84, and his appointment as minister plenipotentiary in Europe and then minister to the Court of Louis XVI, 1784-89. Correspondence, drawings, maps, and notes document the building of Washington, D.C. Some of Jefferson's legal and literary commonplace books, miscellaneous bound volumes of notes and extracts, and manuscript volumes relating to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Virginia history were part of the personal library he sold to Congress in 1815 and are included in this collection.

  • George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799

    The online version of the George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress offers access to the complete collection from the Library's Manuscript Division. This consists of approximately 65,000 items (176,000 pages). Correspondence, letterbooks, commonplace books, diaries and journals, reports, notes, financial account books, and military papers accumulated by George Washington from 1741 through 1799 are organized into eight Series.

  • Words and Deeds in American History

    In honor of the Manuscript Division's centennial, its staff has selected for online display approximately ninety representative documents spanning from the fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Included are the papers of presidents, cabinet ministers, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, military officers and diplomats, reformers and political activists, artists and writers, scientists and inventors, and other prominent Americans whose lives reflect our country's evolution. Most of the selected items fall within one of eight major themes or categories which reflect the division's strengths. Each of these themes is the focus of a separate essay containing links to digital reproductions of selected documents. A detailed description accompanies each document, and additional information about the parent collections may be obtained by following links to catalog records and finding aids.


Selected Bibliography

Broadsides and Early Printing

  • Barnhill, Georgia, B. American Broadsides: Sixty Facsimilies Dated 1680-1800. Barre, MA: Imprint Society, 1971.
  • Evans, Charles. American Bibliography. New York: P. Smith, 1941-1959. 14 vols. Reprint in one volume -- Metuchen, NJ: Mini-Print Corp., 1967.
  • Thomas, Isaiah. The History of Printing in America, 1810. New York: Weathervane Books, distributed by Crown, 1970.
  • America During the Revolutionary Period

  • Bernstein, Richard B., with Rice, Kym S. Are We to Be a Nation? The Making of the Constitution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987.
  • Boatner, Mark M. Encyclopedia of the American Revolution. New York: D. McKay Co., 1966, 1974.
  • Burnett, Edmund Cody. The Continental Congress, 1941. Reprint -- Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975.
  • Commager, Henry Steele, and Morris, Richard B., eds. The Spirit of 'Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants. New York: Harper & Row, 1958, 1976.
  • Cresswell, Donald H., comp. The American Revolution in Drawings and Prints: A Checklist of 1765-1790 Graphics in the Library of Congress. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1975.
  • Farrand, Max, ed. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1911, 1986. 4 vols.
  • Hutson, James, ed. Supplement to Max Farrand's "The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987.
  • Gephart, Ronald M. Revolutionary America, 1763-1789: A Bibliography. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1984. 2 vols.
  • Jensen, Merrill. The Articles of Confederation. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1940, 1970.
  • ________. The New Nation: A History of the United States during the Confederation, 1781-1789, 1950. Reprint -- Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 1981.
  • Madison, James. Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1987. Paperback edition -- New York: W. W. Norton, 1987.
  • Morris, Richard B. The Forging of the Union, 1781-1789. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.
  • Prucha, Francis P. The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.
  • Rakove, Jack N. The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1982.
  • Rossiter, Clinton L. 1787: The Grand Convention. New York: W. W. Norton, 1987.
  • Rossiter, Clinton L., ed. The Federalist Papers: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay. New York: New American Library, 1961.
  • Sellers, John R. Manuscript Sources in the Library of Congress for Research on the American Revolution. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1975.
  • Smith, Paul H., ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1976-.
  • Wood, Gordon S. The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1969.

Books for Young Readers: Biography

  • Alderman, Clifford L. Samuel Adams, Son of Liberty. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1961.
  • Andrist, Ralph K., ed. George Washington: A Biography in His Own Words. New York: Newsweek. Distributed by Harper & Row, 1972.
  • Bishop, James, ed. John Adams; A Biography in His Own Words. New York: Newsweek. Distributed by Harper & Row, 1973.
  • Campion, Nardi Reeder. Patrick Henry, Firebrand of the Revolution. Boston: Little, Brown, 1961.
  • Eaton, Jeanette. That Lively Man, Ben Franklin. New York: W. Morrow, 1948.
  • Fleming, Thomas, ed. Benjamin Franklin: A Biography in His Own Words. New York: Newsweek. Distributed by Harper & Row, 1972.
  • Forbes, Esther. America's Paul Revere. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1946.
  • Gurko, Leo. Tom Paine, Freedom's Apostle. New York: Crowell, 1957.
  • Hall-Quest, Olga Wilborne. Guardians of Liberty: Sam Adams and John Hancock. New York: Dutton, 1963.
  • Holbrook, Stewart H. America's Ethan Allen. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949.
  • Judson, Clara Ingram. George Washington, Leader of the People. Chicago: Wilcox & Follett, 1951.
  • Kline, Mary-Jo, ed. Alexander Hamilton: A Biography in His Own Words. New York: Newsweek, 1973.
  • Moscow, Henry. Thomas Jefferson and His World. New York: American Heritage Publishing Company, 1960.
  • Peterson, Merrill D., ed. James Madison, A Biography in His Own Words. New York: Newsweek, 1974.
  • Sperry, Armstrong. John Paul Jones, Fighting Sailor. New York: Random House, 1953.
  • Thomas Jefferson: A Biography in His Own Words. New York: Newsweek. Distributed by Harper & Row, 1974.

Books for Young Readers: General History

  • Bliven, Bruce. The American Revolution. New York: Random House, 1958.
  • Commager, Henry Steele. The Great Declaration: A Book for Young Americans. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958.
  • Lancaster, Bruce. The American Revolution. Garden City, NY: Garden City Books, 1957.
  • Lens, Sidney. A Country Is Born: The Story of the American Revolution. New York: Putnam, 1964.
  • Mason, Van Wyck. The Winter at Valley Forge. New York: Random House, 1953.
  • Morris, Richard B. The First Book of the American Revolution. New York: Watts, 1956.
  • __________. Witnesses at the Creation, 1985. New York: New American Library, 1986.
  • Nolan, Jeannette Covert. The Shot Heard 'Round the World: The Story of Lexington and Concord. New York: J. Messner, 1963.
  • Russell, Francis. Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill. New York: American Heritage Publishing Company, 1963.