American Founding

Liberty Fund’s books about the American Founding era include critical primary sources and other writings that helped shape the nation's cultural, religious, and historical tradition. The writings reveal the character of American discourse about such crucial issues as the nature and importance of local government, the purposes of federal union, and the role of religion in America’s drive for liberty.

  • Pennsylvania and the Federal Constitution, 1787–1788

    by John Bach McMaster and Frederick D. Stone

    In Pennsylvania and the Federal Constitution, 1787–1788, John Bach McMaster, a professor of American history, and Frederick D. Stone, librarian of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, assembled newspaper articles, editorials, and records about the debates in Pennsylvania’s ratifying convention. In addition to speeches and essays by both supporters and opponents of the Constitution, noninterpretive editorial comments are presented to introduce…

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  • Political Sermons of the American Founding Era: 1730–1805

    by Ellis Sandoz

    The early political culture of the American republic was so deeply influenced by the religious consciousness of the New England preachers that it was often through the political sermon that the political rhetoric of the period was formed, refined, and transmitted. Political sermons such as the fifty-five collected in this work are unique to America, in both kind and significance.

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  • The Political Writings of William Penn

    by William Penn

    William Penn (1644–1718) played a crucial role in the articulation of religious liberty as a philosophical and political value during the second half of the seventeenth century and as a core element of the classical liberal tradition in general. Penn was not only one of the most vocal spokesmen for liberty of conscience in Restoration England, but he also oversaw…

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  • The Revolutionary Writings of Alexander Hamilton

    by Alexander Hamilton

    Alexander Hamilton, trusted military aide and secretary to General George Washington, wrote to persuade. He had the ability to clarify the complex issues of his time without oversimplifying them. From the basic core values established in his earlier writings to the more assertive vision of government in his mature work, we see how Hamilton’s thought responded to the emerging nation…

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  • The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams

    by John Adams

    The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams presents the principal shorter writings in which Adams addresses the prospect of revolution and the form of government proper to the new United States. This collection illustrates that it was Adams who, before the Revolution, wrote some of the most important documents on the nature of the British Constitution and the meaning of rights,…

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  • The Sacred Rights of Conscience

    by Daniel L. Dreisbach and Mark David Hall

    The Sacred Rights of Conscience contains original documents from both public and private papers, such as constitutions, statutes, legislative resolutions, speeches, sermons, newspapers, letters, and diaries. These documents provide a vivid reminder that religion was a dynamic factor in shaping American social, legal, and political culture and that there has been a struggle since the inception of the Republic to…

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  • The Spur of Fame

    by John Adams and Benjamin Rush

    John Adams and Benjamin Rush were two remarkably different men who shared a devotion to liberty. Their dialogues on the implications of fame for their generation prove remarkably timely—even for the twenty-first century. Adams and Rush championed very different views on the nature of the American Revolution and of the republic established with the United States Constitution; yet they shared…

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  • To Secure the Blessings of Liberty

    by Gouverneur Morris

    Liberty Fund is pleased to present this single-volume collection of Gouverneur Morris’s writings. This edition will be a welcome addition to scholars of American and French history as the volume contains many writings that have never before been published. Morris served as Deputy Superintendent of Finance during the American Revolution, in which capacity he devised the system of decimal coinage.

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  • Tyranny Unmasked

    by John Taylor of Caroline

    John Taylor of Caroline (1753–1824) was one of the foremost philosophers of the States’ rights Jeffersonians of the early national period. In keeping with his lifelong mission as a “minority man,” John Taylor wrote Tyranny Unmasked not only to assault the protective tariff and the mercantilist policies of the times but also “to examine general principles in relation to commerce,…

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  • View of the Constitution of the United States

    by St. George Tucker

    St. George Tucker’s View of the Constitution, published in 1803, was the first extended, systematic commentary on the United States Constitution after its ratification. Generations learned their Blackstone and their understanding of the Constitution through Tucker. Clyde N. Wilson is Professor of History and editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun at the University of South Carolina.

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  • Works of Fisher Ames

    by Fisher Ames

    Fisher Ames was a leading New England Federalist and sublime critic of Jacobin Democracy and the French Revolution. During the presidency of George Washington, he was the leader of his party in the House of Representatives. Ames was active in public life from 1787 through 1807 and was instrumental in one drafting of the First Amendment to the Constitution. His…

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