Founding Documents

The Declaration of Independence

The Articles of Confederation

The U.S. Constitution

The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers

Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the "Other" Federalists, 1787-1788, eds. Colleen A. Sheehan and Gary L. McDowell

Virginia Resolution of 1798

The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798

The Kentucky Resolution of 1799

The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution (volumes VIII-X, on Virginia, are especially interesting)

Basic Reading

The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul, ch. 3 (audiobook)

Federalism: The Founders' Design by Raoul Berger

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

Who Killed the Constitution? The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. and Kevin R.C. Gutzman

The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson by David N. Mayer

Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy by William J. Watkins, Jr.

33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Advanced Reading

New Views of the Constitution of the United States (1823) by John Taylor (probably the best Jeffersonian overview of the Constitution; available in html and at Google Books)

A Brief Enquiry into the True Nature and Character of Our Federal Government (1840) by Abel Upshur. A brilliant and unjustly neglected short book on the nature of the Union created by the Constitution. Available online and as Classic Reprint No. 120 from Vance Publications.

Government by Judiciary: The Transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment by Raoul Berger

"The Original Meaning of the Commerce Clause" by Randy Barnett

Virginia's American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776-1840 by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

"Madison and the Compound Republic" by Kevin Gutzman (later published as "'Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave": James Madison and the Compound Republic," Continuity 22 : 19-29)

Next: Civil Liberties

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF