Founding Documents

268991-Declaration-of-Independence-Stock-PhotoPurpose Of This Page

It is not the purpose of this site to publish the full text of these documents, so they are simply listed here to express what these documents were intended to be — i.e., what tenets of our founding principles each was designed to express.  Full-text versions can be found in the Links To Full Versions Of The Documents section below.

Over several decades [some, including some of our Founding Fathers, would say since the birth of our nation], but on a rapidly-accelerating pace during the Obama administration, we have been deviating more and more from the fundamental concepts and principles embodied within these founding documents.  One of the main purposes of this site and of my blog posts is to show as clearly and as succinctly as possible how current events reflect this deviation.

The Documents — Overview

Documents that form the foundation of the United States of America are as follows:

The Declaration of Independence  … The main purpose of America’s Declaration of Independence was to explain to foreign nations why the colonies had chosen to separate themselves from Great Britain. The Revolutionary War had already begun, and several major battles had already taken place. The American colonies had already cut most major ties to England, and had established their own congress, currency, army, and post office. On June 7, 1776, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Richard Henry Lee voiced a resolution that the United States should be completely free of England’s influence, and that all political ties between the two countries should be dissolved. Congress agreed and began plans to publish a formal declaration of independence and appointed a committee of five members to draft the declaration. Thomas Jefferson was chosen to draft the letter – which he did in a single day. Four other members, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams were part of the committee to help Jefferson. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson explained that a body of people has a right to change governments if that government becomes oppressive (unfair and controlling). He further explained that governments fail when they no longer have the consent of the governed. Since Parliament clearly lacked the consent of the American colonists to govern them, it was no longer legitimate.  The Declaration was presented to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 2, 1776. It was approved with a few minor changes. Of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock, of Massachusetts, was the first.

The Constitution [And Subsequent Amendments Thereto As Ratified By The States] … The founding fathers established the Constitution to do just two things: 1) Establish a federal government for the United States of America; and 2) Delegate to the federal government certain, limited (and enumerated) powers.

The Bill of Rights [The First Ten Amendments To The Constitution] … The first ten amendments to the Constitution became known as the Bill of Rights.  These amendments contained guarantees of essential rights and liberties omitted in the crafting of the original document.

The Federalist Papers  … The Federalist, commonly referred to as the Federalist Papers, is a series of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison between October 1787 and May 1788. The essays were published anonymously, under the pen name “Publius,” in various New York state newspapers of the time. The Federalist Papers were written and published to urge New Yorkers to ratify the proposed United States Constitution, which was drafted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. In lobbying for adoption of the Constitution over the existing Articles of Confederation, the essays explain particular provisions of the Constitution in detail. For this reason, and because Hamilton and Madison were each members of the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers are often used today to help interpret the intentions of those drafting the Constitution. The Federalist Papers were published primarily in two New York state newspapers: The New York Packet and The Independent Journal. They were reprinted in other newspapers in New York state and in several cities in other states. A bound edition, with revisions and corrections by Hamilton, was published in 1788 by printers J. and A. McLean. An edition published by printer Jacob Gideon in 1818, with revisions and corrections by Madison, was the first to identify each essay by its author’s name. Because of its publishing history, the assignment of authorship, numbering, and exact wording may vary with different editions of The Federalist.  The electronic text of The Federalist used at the link below was compiled for Project Gutenberg by scholars who drew on many available versions of the papers.

Links To Full Versions Of The Documents


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