Founding Documents

Below you will find many of the important documents, speeches and writings that played an important part of the founding of the United States

Founding Documents

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is different than many of our other founding documents because of t;he fact that was not legally binding. However, it was a powerful statement which declared the principles on which our national identity was based on.

The Declaration of Independence (front)
The Declaration of Independence (front)

Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was the first constitution of the United States and was agreed upon by all 13 states between July 1776 and November 1777. This document gave most rights to the states and governed how the states would work together. It was later replaced when they realized that the restrictions made operating a central government weak and ineffective.

Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union

The Constitution of the United States

In September 1787 the Articles of Confederation were finally replaced by a more comprehensive set of articles that would become the supreme law of the land for the United States. Although it was quickly ammended with the Bill of Rights and many ammendments since, the framework for our government still remains the same after 230 years.

Bill of Rights

After a very bitter debate over the ratification of the US Constitution, the Anti-Federalists proposed the Bill or Rights to guarantee certain individual nights, limit certain government powers and to specifically declare that all powers not specifically granted to the US Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people.

US Bill of Rights Page One
The Bill of Rights, twelve articles of amendment to the to the United States Constitution proposed in 1789.

Other Writings by Founding Fathers

Constitutional Liberty and Arbitrary Power by Joseph Warren

The Rights of the Colonists of Men by Samuel Adams

Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One by Benjamin Franklin

A Summary View of the Rights of British Americans by Thomas Jefferson

The Boston Massacre by John Hancock

American Independence by Samuel Adams

A Speech to the Six Confederate Nations – Mohawks, Oneidas, Tuscaroras, Onandagas, Cayugas, Snenkas – from Twelve United Colonies

The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay

Common Sense by Thomas Paine

The American Crisis by Thomas Paine

Information to Those Who Would Remove to American by Benjamin Franklin

The Inaugural Speech of George Washington

Washington’s Farewell Address