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Founders Corner

Comprehensive online library of major works, essays, letters, speeches, quotes from America's Founding Fathers; also key documents; and histories contemporary to the Founding Era, along with works, speeches, etc., from thinkers and statesmen who influenced the Founders or were influenced by them.

Carl L. Bankston III, Professor of Sociology, Tulane University The historian Gordon Wood, in his magisterial 1969 classic The Creation of the American Republic, observed that the ideal of equality was a formative part of early American culture. For Wood, the early American attraction to goals of equality grew out...
Extent of Territory Under Consolidated Government. Too Large to Preserve Liberty or Protect Property? George Clinton, October 25, 1787 George Clinton, Governor of New York, was an adversary of the Constitution. He composed several letters under the nome de plume "Cato." This essay is from the third letter of "Cato," The...
President Lincoln asks for an Encore, Democratic Thinker Speaker Colfax said, I regret to inform you that the Hon. James Harlan (Secretary of the Interior) is detained by indisposition at home, and will not be able to be here as announced. Before singing the beautiful and impressive...
FOUNDERS CORNER LIBRARY, MAJOR WORKS Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, by John Dickinson, Letter 3 My dear Countrymen, I rejoice to find that my two former letters to you have been generally received with so much favor by such of you, whose sentiments I have had an opportunity of knowing. Could...
American Minute with Bill Federer He caught a chill riding horseback several hours in the snow while inspecting his Mount Vernon farm. The next morning it developed into acute laryngitis and the doctors were called in. Their response was to bleed him heavily four times, a process of cutting one's arm...
American Minute with Bill Federer About a dozen years before the Revolutionary War, tensions increased in America between the British and the French with their Indian allies, resulting in battles. The most notable period of the French and Indian Wars lasted from 1754 to 1763. It is considered the first global...
FOUNDERS CORNER LIBRARY: MAJOR WORKS James Madison's Notes: Federal Convention of 1787 May 14, 25, 1787   Monday May 14th 1787 was the day fixed for the meeting of the deputies in Convention for revising the federal system of Government. On that day a small number only had assembled. Seven States were not...
Representation and Internal Taxation Richard Henry Lee Richard Henry Lee was arguably the best known Anti-federalist writer. His pamphlets were widely distributed and reprinted in newspapers. Anti-federalist Papers # 36/37 are excerpts from his first pamphlet. Anti-federalist Nos. 41, 42, 43, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 63, 69, 76-77 are taken...
Liberty Letters, James Madison It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority...
Why import taxes are best: "They may be collected in few places, and from few hands with certainty and expedition. But few officers are necessary to be employed in collecting them, and there is no danger of oppression in laying them, because, if they are laid higher than trade will bear, the merchants will cease importing, or smuggle their goods. We have therefore sufficient security, arising from the nature of the thing, against burdensome, and intolerable impositions from this kind of tax." -- Brutus (Robert Yates)
Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831 Volume 2, Section 3, Chapter 14, Some Reflections on American Manners Nothing seems at first sight less important than the outward form of human actions, yet there is nothing upon which men set more store; they grow used to everything except to living in a...
Federal Taxing Power must Be Restrained George Mason, June 4, 1788 George Mason of Virginia opposed the Constitution because it lacked a Bill of Rights, and centralized powers further than he felt it necessary. Mason delivered the following speech before the Virginia ratifying convention, June 4, 1788. Mr. Chairman, whether the Constitution...
Liberty Letters, Thomas Jefferson. 1774 ... We are further clearly of the opinion, that an attack, made on one of our sister colonies, to compel submission to arbitrary taxes, is an attack made on all British America, and threatens ruin to the rights of all, unless the united wisdom of...
Liberty Letters, James Madison, 1788 No political truth is certainly of greater intrinsic value, or is stamped with the authority of more enlightened patrons of liberty, than that ... he accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and...
Will the Constitution Promote the Interests of Favorite Classes? John F. Mercer, 1788 John F. Mercer of Maryland was the author of this essay, taken from his testimony to members of the ratifying conventions of New York and Virginia, 1788, (From the Etting Collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.) We have...
Liberty Letters Quote of the Day, John Jay The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its...
How Will The New Government Raise Money? Cincinnatus, Nov. 29 & Dec. 6, 1787 Note: "Cincinnatus" is an Antifederalist writer. In this essay, from an Address to a Meeting of the Citizens of Philadelphia, the writer responds to James Wilson's statements about Congress' powers to tax under the Constitution. It appeared...
Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831 Volume 2, Section 2, Chapter 4, That The Americans Combat The Effects Of Individualism By Free Institutions DESPOTISM which by its nature is suspicious, sees in the separation among men the surest guarantee of its continuance, and it usually makes every effort to keep them...
By Mortimer J. Adler and Peter Wolff In the history of human liberty, Locke's essay Concerning Civil Government stands out not only as a great contribution to political theory, but also as an effective instigator of political action. It is a stirring pronouncement of the principles of the English "bloodless...
Liberty Letters, Benjamin Franklin In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in this struggle must have...