My Favorite E-Resources

America: History and Life

America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876, including Early American Newspapers, Series 1
American Historical Newspapers offer fully searchable, cover-to-cover reproductions of more than one million pages from more than 650 historical American newspapers, focusing on titles published in the 18th century.

Archive of Americana
This is the link to the umbrella database of Archive of Americana. Some of the information here overlaps with information available on the American Memory Project.

Archive of Americana: America's Historical Newspapers (1690-1922)

You can search through newspapers, even by city.  Philadelphia has 62 newspapers listed, with many's coverage dating back to even before the time of the Constitutional Convention.

Archive Grid

Boston College University Libraries: HISTORY Online Databases

Colonial State Papers

Early American Imprints, series I, Evans,  1639-1800

Early American Imprints, series II, Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819

Early English Books

Eighteenth Century Collections Online

Eighteenth Century Journals

Hein Online


Lexis Nexis

Making of Modern Law
Includes Madison's Journal of the Convention in addition to other English and American treatises, published between 1800 and 1926, with pdf images. 

Quest Library Catalog



Online Texts Available through E-Resources

A Compilation of Messages and Papers of the Presidents (New Series):

A Chronicle of the Establishment of the Union by Max Farrand

Documentary History of the Constitution of the United States of America

James Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 and their Relation to a More Perfect Society of Nations

John Quincy Adams, Journal of the Convention

Debates of Congress

Congressional Record (1873-current)

Congressional Globe (1833-1873)
"The contents of the appendix of each volume vary from Congress to Congress, but appendixes typically contain presidential messages, reports of the heads of departments and cabinet officers, texts of laws, and appropriations."

Register of Debates (1824-1837)

Annals of Congress (1789-1824)

Legal History Sources - Helpful Web Site Collections

National Archives and Records Administration: Historical Documents Collection
This website provides downloadable, high-resolution images of America's many historical documents, along with transcripts of the text that appears on these documents.

Online Liberty Library
Includes, among other things, the Works of Thomas Jefferson, a 12 volume set. Volumes 1 and 2 are from the time period before, and during the Constitutional Convention.

Our Documents.Gov: 100 Milestone Documents collection
This website includes images of the documents that can be "rolled" over. Also included are transcripts of the text on each of these documents
Small Town Newspapers
Newspapers date back to 1865 on this website and can be viewed through their original images.

The Open Library

Yale Avalon Project - 18th Century Documents

Yale Avalon Project - Roots of the Constitution


Constitutional Convention - American Memory Project

Elliot's Debates: The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution

Farrand's Records

George Washington Papers

James Madison Papers

Letters of Delegates to Congress,

Thomas Jefferson Papers 1774-1789

Free Online Texts

Benjamin Franklin

Papers of Benjamin Franklin (digital edition) (through Yale)

James Madison

Debates in the Federal Convention by James Madison (through
Just click on a date on the calendar and you'll see the debates for that page, as noted by Madison. Note that these are in html format.

The Federalist (edited by George W. Carey) (Gideon edition, 1818)

Writings of James Madison, comprising his Public Papers and his Private Correspondence, vols. 1-9
Just drill down to the volume you would like to read.

Jonathan Eliot

James Madison, The Debates in the Several State Conventions of the Adoption of the Federal Constitution vol. 5 [1827]

Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions of the Adoption of the Federal Constitution vol. 1 [1827]

Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions of the Adoption of the Federal Constitution vol. 2 [1827]

Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions of the Adoption of the Federal Constitution vol. 3 [1827]

Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions of the Adoption of the Federal Constitution vol. 4 [1827]

Robert Yates

Secret Proceedings and Debates of the Convention Assembled at Philadelphia in the year 1787 (by Robert Yates) (Avalon)

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson Digital Archive (Texts to or from Thomas Jefferson) (UVA - Modern English Library)
Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vols. 1-12 (through Online Liberty Library)
Just drill down to the volume you want to read.

Works Written by Multiple Authors

Federalist Papers (in numerical order)
This website allows you to work with frames or without frames. 

Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, published during its Discussion by the People, 1787-1788 [1787] (Online Liberty Library)

Pamphlets available written by the following: Elbridge Gerry, Noah Webster, John Jay, Melancthon Smith, Pelatiah Werster, Tench Coxe, James Wilson, John Dickinson, Alexander Contee Hanson, Edmund Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, George mason, and David Ramsay.

Works about the Constitutional Convention

Donald S. Lutz, Colonial Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History [1998]
"A collection of eighty documents which demonstrate how local government in colonial America was the seedbed of American constitutionalism."

Our Founders' Constitution (by Philip Kurland and Ralph Lerner) - free web version
This is through the University of Chicago Press and the Liberty Fund.

Works about the Founding Fathers or their Writings

Colleen A. Sheehan, Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the “Other” Federalists, 1787-1788 [1998]
"Included are the original texts of pamphlets, speeches, and other pro-ratification writings of George Washington, Benjamin Rush, Nicholas Collin, John Dickinson, James Wilson, Tench Coxe, Benjamin Franklin, Noah Webster, Roger Sherman, Fisher Ames, Peletiah Webster, Samuel Tenny, Stephen Hopkins, Oliver Ellsworth, and David Ramsay. Separately they address the underlying themes of the historic Federalist-Anti-Federalist debate: “The Necessity of Union,” “Energetic but Limited Government,” and “Popular Government and Civic Virtue.”

History of the Life and Times of James Madison, by William Cabell Rives (volume 2)
Volume 2 of this three volume work is available through Google Books. This is a digitized version of Harvard's print copy.

Rives, History of the Life and Times of James Madison, volume 1
Please note that this is a limited preview of volume 1, even if you are looking at it through Firefox, with the LibX tool installed.