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.

Ben Franklin: Have We Now Forgotten That Powerful Friend?

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...

Maryland—Vol. 1, Ch. 9, Commentaries on the Constitution, by Joseph Story

Founders Corner Library Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, by Joseph Story, 1833 Volume 1, Chapter 9,  MARYLAND § 103. THE province of Maryland was included...

Thoughts on Government, by John Adams—1776

FOUNDERS CORNER LIBRARY: MAJOR WORKS, 1776 Editor's Introduction: In January 1776, six months prior to the writing of the Declaration of Independence and eleven years...

The Federalist Papers — No. 4 — John Jay

FOUNDERS CORNER LIBRARY: MAJOR WORKS Wednesday, November 7, 1787 Concerning Powers From Foreign Force and Influence MY LAST paper assigned several reasons why the safety of the people...

Novanglus Essay No. 1 – John Adams

John Adams lays out the American position on the natural rights of individual Americans and the rights enjoyed by all colonial governments under British law.

Magna Carta or The Great Charter of Liberties

HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: WESTERN CIVILIZATION Magna Carta Libertatum (Medieval Latin for "the Great Charter of the Liberties"), commonly called Magna Carta (also Magna Charta; "(the) Great Charter") GRANTED JUNE...

Rhode Island—Vol. 1, Ch. 8, Commentaries on the Constitution, by Joseph Story

Founders Corner Library Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, by Joseph Story, 1833 Volume 1, Chapter 8,  RHODE ISLAND § 94. RHODE ISLAND was originally settled by...

Notes of the Debates In the Second Continental Congress: 1775, 1776, by John Adams

Founders Corner Library: Major Works, John Adams Notes of the Debates in the Continental Congress by John Adams. Edited by Charles Henry Adams 1775 and 1776 All...

Connecticut: Vol. 1, Ch. 7, Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution

Founders Corner Library Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, by Joseph Story, 1833 Volume 1, Chapter 7,  CONNECTICUT § 84. CONNECTICUT was originally settled under the protection...

Federalist Papers, No. 3, John Jay

FOUNDERS CORNER LIBRARY: MAJOR WORKS November 3, 1787 Plea for Union Continued IT IS not a new observation that the people of any country (if, like the...

Federalist Papers, No. 2, John Jay

FOUNDERS CORNER LIBRARY: MAJOR WORKS Wednesday, October 31, 1787 Plea for Union WHEN the people of America reflect that they are now called upon to decide a...

Constitutional Checks on Spending and Debt

LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL In the Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, George Mason of Virginia, suggested: the necessity of preventing the danger of...

A Guide to Reading John Locke’s Concerning Civil Government: Second Essay

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...

Bastiat: Defining Law, Its Source, Its Legitimate Role and Limits

LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL French Philosopher Frédéric Bastiat loved to get to the root of things.  In his 1852 classic "The Law" he teaches: It is...

Bastiat: The Gentle and Rough Hand of the State

LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL Many today look to the state for for a hand up, hand out, or for some other sort of privilege...

Areopagitica: A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, by John Milton

FOUNDERS CORNER: LETTERS, SPEECHES, PAMPHLETS 1644, by John Milton TO THE PARLIAMENT OF ENGLAND   This is true Liberty, when freeborn men, Having to advise the public, may...

Federalist Papers, No. 1, Alexander Hamilton

FOUNDERS CORNER LIBRARY: MAJOR WORKS To the People of the State of New York—October 27, 1787 Introduction AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the...

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!

FOUNDERS CORNER: SPEECHES, PATRICK HENRY St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia, March 23, 1775 No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism,...

Washington’s Farewell Address

With slight shades of difference you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. George Washington

Benjamin Franklin – Satire On Extreme Notions of Freedom of the Press

FOUNDERS CORNER: LETTERS: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN For the Federal Gazette, 12 September 1789 An Account of the Supremest Court of Judicature In Pennsylvania, Viz. The Court of...

Trump vs. Reagan: What Is a Conservative?

PAUL G. KENGOR, CENTER FOR VISION AND VALUES Many of Donald Trump’s supporters have compared him to Ronald Reagan. It is quite instructive that Trump...

Thomas Jefferson: How Porous Should Our Borders Be?

LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL You and I are "melting pot" people; citizens, that is, of that country set apart by Heaven to receive those...

Republican Principles Versus the Corrupt Practice of Electioneering — 1788

An Elector: To the Free Electors of This Town Boston, 1788 The theory of republican government took for granted a number of institutions and practices rarely...

Of the Clergy – Sir William Blackstone

COMMENTARIES ON THE LAWS OF ENGLAND (1765 - 1769) Volume 1, Chapter 11 THE people, whether aliens, denizens, or natural-born subjects, are divisible into two kinds;...

Do THIS only, and the vast majority will support us.

THOMAS JEFFERSON LEADERSHIP ... that all should be satisfied with any one order of things is not to be expected: but I indulge the pleasing...

Constitutional Convention: May 14, 25, 1787

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...

Does government help or hurt?

THOMAS JEFFERSON LEADERSHIP when we consider that this government is charged with the external & mutual relations only of these states, that the states themselves...

5 steps to maintain public trust over public money

THOMAS JEFFERSON LEADERSHIP In our care too of the public contributions entrusted to our direction, it would be prudent to multiply barriers against their dissipation,...

James Madison: Federal Powers Limited, State Powers Indefinite

FOUNDERS CORNER: LIMITED GOVERNMENT AND FEDERALISM The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to...

The value of skill and bravery combined!

THOMAS JEFFERSON LEADERSHIP ... you have shewn to your countrymen that that enemy cannot meet bravery & skill united. in proving to them that our...