Skip to main content

The Founders’ Constitution

CD-ROM edition
The Founders’ Constitution is now also available in a CD-ROM edition and an online edition.

Hailed as "the Oxford English Dictionary of American constitutional history" (Columbia Law Review), the print edition of The Founders’ Constitution has proved since its publication in 1986 to be an invaluable aid to all those seeking a deeper understanding of one of our nation’s most important legal documents.

Now, the University of Chicago Press, in collaboration with the Liberty Fund, is making this important work—which, in print, extends over 3,200 double-column pages in five oversized volumes—available in two electronic editions: a web site and a convenient CD-ROM. A sophisticated browser and searching capabilities will make it possible to explore easily carefully selected documents from the leading works of political and legal philosophy, history, and constitutional argument that informed the thought and debates of the Framers. Accompanying the CD-ROM is the new edition of David Currie’s engaging book, The Constitution of the United States: a Primer for the People.

In keeping with the editors’ vision of the constitution as more of an ongoing debate about current issues than as a static set of institutional arrangements, these two electronic editions will enable students, teachers, and ordinary citizens to join the discussion in ways undreamt of by those who initiated it.

"Through their scholarship and large-mindedness, Mr. Kurland and Mr. Lerner have laid before us a rich legacy of thought that will help us understand the origins, the historic ’meaning’ in the fullest senses, of our basic charter. Their book is a singularly valuable offering."—Paul A. Freund, The New York Times Book Review

"Even though the selections are necessarily taken out of the context in which they were generated, they furnish so immediate an access to the way the Founders’ generation understood the Constitution that one wonders why nobody ever thought of doing the job before." —Edmund S. Morgan, The New Republic

Winner of the Association of American Presses best book in law award, 1988

Visit The Founders’ Constitution, web-based edition at

The Founders’ Constitution is also available in a web edition.

© 1987, 2000

Law and Legal Studies: The Constitution and the Courts

Political Science: American Government and Politics

Table of Contents

A Reader's Advisory
Note on References

Major Themes
Fundamental Documents

We the People of the United States,...
Popular Basis of Political Authority
Right of Revolution
Republican Government Order to form a more perfect Union,...
Deficiencies of the Confederation
Federal v. Consolidated Government

...establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare,...
Energetic Government
Separation of Powers
Balanced Government

...and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity...
Property ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Constitutional Government
Epilogue: Securing the Republic

The Constitution

Article 1

Article 2

Article 3

Article 4

Article 5

Article 6

Article 7

The Bill of Rights and Amendments

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press