Skip to Main Content
Go to Penn Libraries homepage   Go to Guides homepage

Ancient and Modern Constitution making: Overview

Supports course work in Ancient and Modern Constitutionmaking

Databases for Journal Articles

Screenshot of search results searching constitution and constitution-making from a database

Primary sources, the papers of James Madison, and other founding era figures

 text from library of congressportrait of James Madison
[Text from the Library of Congress, Portrait from the National Portrait Gallery]

The papers of the Madison, Jefferson, Washington, and Adams papers are all part of the series: American Founding Era Collection published digitally by the University of Virginia Press.

  • The Papers of James Madison, Digital Edition - J.C.A. Stagg, editor Digital edition of the writings of James Madison.
  • The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Ditigal Edition - Harold C. Syrett, editor  The Papers of Alexander Hamilton Digital Edition,  Rotunda, 2011 representing 25 volumes originally published 1961-1987. Also available, Quasi-War Documents, 1798-1800.
  • The  Revolutionary Era Pinckney Statesmen,  Digital Edition - Constance B. Schulz, editor. These papers focus on three members of the Pinckney family who participated as military, political, diplomatic, and economic leaders in South Carolina and the nation during and after the American Revolution: brothers Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746–1825) and Thomas Pinckney (1750–1828) and their cousin Charles Pinckney (1757–1824). See also the papers of Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Harriet Pinckney Horry
  • The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Digital Edition - Mcclure and Looney, editors, The digital edition brings together 47 volumes of Jefferson's papers
  • The Adams Papers, Digital Edition - C. James Taylor, editor. Digital edition includes: Diaries and Autobiography of John Adams, Adams Family Correspondence, and the Papers of John Adams
  • The Papers of George Washinton, Digital Edition - E.G. Lengel, editor. This digital edition includes the papers, diaries, documents of George Washington from 1748-1799.

ECCO: Eighteenth Century Collections Online Search for texts by James Madison, or on particular topics

17th and 18th Century Burney Collection Articles on America and the formation of the new government

Making of Modern Law 1800-1926 provides digital images on every page of 22,000 legal treatises on US and British law published from 1800 through 1926. Full-text searching on more than 10 million pages.

Early Republic: Critical Editions of the Founding of the United States--Digitized 20 volumes of primary material documenting the actions, debates, and thoughts of the First Federal Congress and its members collected by the First Federal Congress Project (FFCP) and published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Hein Online's Annals of the Congress of the United States 1789-1824

Hein Online's Debates in the Several State Conventions, on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, as Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia, in 1787

Gale Primary Search ECCO, Burney Collection, and Making of Modern Law  together and take advantage of term frequency searches and term cluster or tiling visualizations.

Facsimile Manuscripts at the Library of Congress--this link takes you to the papers of James Madison--but search for outher founding authors as well last name first : Hamilton Alexander

Eighteenth Century Journals Online, search "James Madison"


Contact for Assistance with Library Research and Resources

Need assistance finding materials or with other aspects of Penn's libraries? Contact: 

Rebecca Stuhr
stuhrreb @
218 Van Pelt Library
Librarian for Classical Studies 
Classical Studies Lounge, 2nd Floor Claudia Cohen Hall
Mondays at 1:00 p.m. and Thursdays at 11:00 p.m.


Classical Texts

Ancient and Modern Constitution Making -- secondary sources

A sampling of titles from the reading list and found through keyword searches in Penn's catalog. Most of the books listed below are print books in the Van Pelt Shelves. If books are checked out or otherwise unavailable, request via interlibrary loan (using BorrowDirect or EZ Borrow) 

Penn Libraries Home Franklin Home
(215) 898-7555