This blog post will be an initial attempt to link people to solid resources to help study original meaning behind the documents leading us to govern under American Federalism. Whenever possible we should strive to read original documentation as well as study the daily life during the times we are researching. This helps us gain better insight into the meaning of the words left for us to learn from. A few links to get this post started are provided. Add your favorites as comments to the post and eventually we will all have a place we can go to find some of the best of the best for helping us study, discuss, and grow in our understanding.
Links to solid resources:
The Founder’s Constitution: This fabulous resource is a cleanly linked, web-based version of the 5 volume set many scholars rely on for studying source documents. From the introduction; “This is an anthology of reasons and of the political arguments that thoughtful men and women drew from, and used to support, those reasons. We believe that those reasons and political arguments have enduring interest and significance for anyone who purports to think about constitutional government in general and the Constitution of the United States in particular.”
Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: Perhaps no better insight into our country after 40+ years of living under the complex Federalist Republic established with the passing of the U.S. Constitution. You will enjoy seeing our country through this traveler’s eyes as he compared what he found in America with the countries of Europe, especially England and France. You will also enjoy the tour put together on this same website.
1828 American Dictionary of the English Language: Noah Webster knew the founders and knew language. When studying our heritage we must strive to understand the meaning of words as the people who wrote and spoke them believed them to be. This is a great resource for looking up words for original meaning.
The Federalist Papers: The 85 essays by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison that appeared in New York between the time the Constitution was submitted to the states and when it was finally ratified. These essays were written to convince people to support the document’s ratification in New York. The last essays actually appeared after the state voted in favor of ratification. You will find a lot more information at this well done website regarding the people who shaped America’s beginning.
The Anti-Federalist Papers: Not as well organized but just as insightful are the many essays appearing that urged opposition to ratification.
The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God: This site has so many source documents available from the founding era you will no doubt get lost in hours of enjoyment. This is my first stop when I am looking for Bastiat, Locke, Pufendorf, Blackstone, or others.
Freedom Formula: Offering many great insights into the keys for understanding, you will want to join Gary & Carolyn Alder’s study of our fundamental governing approaches including their excellent study of the original electoral college system.
The Tenth Amendment Center: Started by Michael Boldin in 2006 the Tenth Amendment Center has quickly become one of the premier resources for all things Constitution with a special emphasis on the critically important, and long ignored, 10th Amendment.
We look forward to seeing your links to study resources.