The Constitution

Books & Media

Ellis, Joseph, His Excellency. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 20004.
An important biography of Washington that includes his role in the development of the Constitution.

Foner, Eric & John A. Garraty, eds. The Readerís Companion to American History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991.
An excellent reference book on American history that provides an historical analysis of the constitutional period.

Grodzins, Morton. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1984. A classic on the study of federalism which coined the metaphor of a layer/marble cake.

Jenson, Merrill, The Articles of Confederation. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1963.
Though dated, a thoughtful analysis of the Articles of Confederation.

Starkey, Marion L. A Little Rebellion. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1955.
A primary source that includes news articles, speeches, and letters of the participants and observers of Shays' Rebellion.

Liberty! The American Revolution, "Are We To Be a Nation?" PBS.
A dramatization that portrays the thinkers of the Constitutional era in their own words. This is coupled with political analysis by current commentators to describe the period of nation building between the end of the Revolution and the time of the adoption of the Constitution.

Worth Fighting For, Virginiaís Ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Hamilton Productions, 7732 Georgetown Pike, McLean, Virginia.
This video dramatizes the debates on the Constitution in the Richmond convention.

A good site for documents and lesson plans on the Constitution.
An excellent source that provides links to other sites and several lessons on the Constitution as well as a mock Constitutional Convention.
Excellent primary and secondary sources and classroom materials rearding the events that led to the drafting of the Constitution and the conflict over its ratification. Includes a letter of Thomas Jefferson to James Madison discussing what he likes and doesn't like about the new Constitution.
Provides biographies of the delegates and a wealth of primary sources.
This website is a wonderful resource for teachers of American history. For this unit it offered excellent materials (primary sources, background essays, teaching strategies, charts) including lesson modules on the Constitution and other topics as well as links to online primary sources.
A summary of the Newburg Conspiracy and links to Washington's Newburg Address.
A complete repository of the Anti-Federalist papers explaining objections to the Constitution.
An excellent source to organize the debate over ratification with short profiles of the major players in the Constitutional debate.
Provides a lesson plan that includes the writings of George Mason and other Anti-Federalists as well as essays from the Federalists Papers.
A dramatization of the "Crisis" by describing the chaotic situation in Rhode Island following the Revolutionary War from a classic history text by John Fiske published in 1916.
This site includes a good background essay on the compromises brokered during the Constitutional Convention.
The record of the New York and Virginia ratifying Conventions include some thoughtful debates on the meaning of the Constitution.
A good background source for students to learn about the Rebellion.
Debate in the Virginia Ratifying Convention on slavery by Madison, Mason and others.
On June 26,1788, Virginia ratified the Constitution and recommended that a bill of rights and other amendments be added. - 10k -
A good source that provides a concise chart on parliamentary procedure
Guided readings on the development of the Constitution
Elbridge Gerry's Reasons for Not Signing the Federal Constitution