Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Notices of this Work

Extract of a Letter, dated Montpelier, July 7, 1830.

“Dear Sir: — Being obliged, at my age, to economize my intellectual employments of every sort, I have only been able to glance over the selections illustrative of the Federal Constitution, you have appended to the last volume. They appear to be of a class which must add to the value of the work, such as that of which they make a part. With well wishes and respect,

JAMES MADISON.”

“Mr. Elliot.


Extract of a Letter, dated Cambridge, Mass., Aug. 28, 1830.

“Dear Sir: — I wish you to direct your Boston bookseller to send a copy of your work to the Law Library of Harvard College. I have not a doubt that it will find a ready sale among us…. In a political view, I can scarcely imagine a more acceptable present to the public; and to statesmen it must be invaluable, as a repository of facts, as well as of arguments, respecting the great points of constitutional law. I am, with great respect, your obliged and humble servant,

JOSEPH STORY.”

“Jonathan Elliot, Esq.


From the Vice-President of the United States, dated Fort Hill, May 16, 1831.

“Sir: — I have looked over, with care, your compilation, and consider it a valuable collection of facts and arguments, calculated to shed much light on the nature of our political institutions.

“Such a work was greatly needed, and, if extensively circulated, must have a most salutary effect, by enlightening the public mind on points so important to be well understood as the powers and character of the general government. I wish you much success in so useful an undertaking. With respect, I am, &c. &c.

J. C. CALHOUN.”

“Jonathan Elliot, Esq.


“A great body of valuable materials relative to the Federal Constitution is embraced in Mr. Elliot’s work, published yesterday. The Debates and Proceedings of the General Convention, and the State Conventions, are given at large, as far as they have been reported. There is also a vast mass of matter touching the practice of the Constitution in the halls of Congress, and in the courts of the Union. Politicians must save labor by consulting it.” — National Intelligencer, May 28, 1830.


“Ample illustrations of the Federal Constitution have been produced in a work just from the press, by Mr. Elliot, in which he has imbodied all the matter of the Journal of the Federal Convention, including Yates’s Notes of Debates, Luther Martin’s Letter, &c., at large; and a record of congressional opinions, collected from the files of forty years past, on controverted points on the Constitution. Such a work must possess a prominent interest, for the present as well as the future. To politicians or constitutional lawyers it will indeed be acceptable.” — United States Telegraph of May 29, 1830.


The Federal Constitution. — Mr. Jonathan Elliot has just published, in four volumes, a collection of valuable materials illustrative of the Constitution. Full indexes to the whole make it a work of convenient reference, and valuable to the private citizen as well as to the statesman or constitutional lawyer. We trust that the work will receive a patronage commensurate with the great labor and cost of its preparation.” — N. Journal, May, 1830.


“The ‘Debates on the Constitution,’ a work which has lately been published by Mr. Jonathan Elliot, of this city, in four volumes octavo, and which we briefly noticed a few days since, is one of the greatest importance that could have made its appearance at the present day. We cannot too strongly recommend it to all who desire to be enlightened upon the great questions which now occupy the public mind, as they will therein see the opinions as to the nature and powers of the Federal Government entertained at the time of its original organization, by many of the most eminent men of this country.” — Banner of the Constitution, by C. Raguet, Esq., of June 8, 1830.

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Contents

General Overview

In 1787 and 1788, following the Constitutional Convention, a great debate took place throughout America over the Constitution that had been proposed.

In-Doors Debate

View in-depth studies of the Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York state ratifying conventions.

The Federal Pillars

View drawings of the federal pillars rising published by the Massachusetts Centinel during the ratification debate.

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The Stages of Ratification: An Interactive Timeline

View the six stages of the ratification of the Constitution with links to many other features on this site.

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Interactive Ratification Map

View interactive maps showing the breakdown of Federalist-Antifederalist strength at the state level during the Ratification debate.

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