State Ratification Conventions – Primary Sources

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    Other than “Virginia’s American Revolution” and “James Madison and the Making of America”, are there any other good books out there that feature primary sources from the ratification conventions of the states? In the lessons, it has been stated several times that the truly important aspect of the ratification of the Constitution was the state level debates as the individual states were the ones who decided whether or not to ratify. I’d like to delve into this topic in more detail to get a solid understanding of the arguments both pro and con brought up in each state.



    Of course! Brion McClanahan, “The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution” (Regnery History 2012). I would also recommend Elliot’s Debates and the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. The vols on VA, MA, and NY are very good.


    Elliot’s Debates have been superceded by The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, which will be essentially a complete set. There are supposed to be about 26 volumes when the series is done. I’ve made use of the three Virginia volumes quite a bit in my writing, and the five New York volumes are — as Brion says — also quite helpful.


    The only reason I mentioned Elliot’s Debates is because you can get them for free online at Google Books. Save a penny for the tin.

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