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Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention:
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Volume 5 | Contents | Index

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Note: The text to the consecutively numbered footnotes of volume 5 may be found in References located near the end of that volume.

Elliot's Debates

The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution

The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution is a five-volume collection compiled by Jonathan Elliot in the mid-nineteenth century. The volumes remain the best source for materials about the national government's transitional period between the closing of the Constitutional Convention in September 1787 and the opening of the First Federal Congress in March 1789. On September 17, 1787, the Continental Congress accepted the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention and agreed to distribute the proposed constitution to the states; each state was then to elect delegates to a state convention to approve or disapprove the new constitution. The Constitution would take effect upon ratification by the conventions of nine of the thirteen states.

Elliot's Debates collects the documents pertinent to the discussions on ratification: the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Journal of the Constitutional Convention (from a version that is earlier and less accurate than that in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787), the text of the proposed Constitution, and the debates in the various states. The Federalist Papers also presents a vital part of the debate over the Constitution.

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