I've edited a book!
This book is filled with some of the primary sources I have for sale in other parts of my store, along with many more. It's an easy way for teachers to have students read primary sources. These sources, unedited, would be too difficult for most students to comprehend (and they're so long that many students simply wouldn't attempt them). I've also grouped the documents together based on broad categories. This will make it easier for the teacher to find appropriate documents when covering specific units in class. Each category has an introduction to provide context.
This collection was created to fulfill two broad goals in my classroom: to stretch the reading ability of my students and to guide discussions on the principles expressed in the debates surrounding the ratification of the Constitution.
I wanted to expose my students to the writing style and vocabulary that characterized the Founding era as well as challenge them to understand the debates from the perspective of the debaters. This stretches their reading comprehension skills in ways that textbooks fail to do. When I first started these assignments, I refused to compromise on these goals and I was determined to challenge my students to the fullest. I purposefully avoided modernized translations of these documents, and instead would assign an essay in its entirety.
I quickly realized that my students simply didn’t read those assignments, no matter what I did.
This forced me to compromise on the length while not compromising on the content as much as possible. Students who struggle to comprehend the language in these documents are at least more willing to try when it’s only a couple pages than they are when reading it unabridged. My goal was to reduce each paper to an average of two computer pages long. Some of the papers were less than that, and a handful are up to three pages.
This edition is designed for teachers wanting to challenge their students while saving their own time by not excerpting these documents themselves. Its target student audience is in advanced high school classes or introductory college classes. Ultimately, my desire is to make these important documents more accessible to students while retaining the original language and meaning.
I included questions with each document to foster discussion. The questions can be assigned as homework or simply used as discussion questions in class. There is a healthy variety in the difficulty of the questions, ranging from simple answers found directly in the text and others needing more analysis to fully answer.
I've never done anything like this before, so please offer feedback on it! If there are documents that you'd like to see in an updated edition, let me know and I will get to work!
The categories and the documents included are:
I. Overview & Stakes
Cato I (September 27, 1787. New York)
Federal Farmer I (October 08, 1787. New York)
Brutus I (October 18, 1787. New York)
The Federalist #1 (October 27, 1787. New York)
The Federalist #15 (December 1, 1787. New York)
Dissent of the Minority of the Pennsylvania Convention (December 18, 1787)
The Federalist #37 (January 11, 1788. New York)
II. Confederation or Consolidation: The Nature of the New Government
Centinel I (October 05, 1787. Pennsylvania)
An Old Whig IV (October 27, 1787. Pennsylvania)
The Federalist #9 (November 21, 1787. New York)
The Federalist #10 (November 22, 1787. New York)
The Federalist #16 (December 4, 1787. New York)
Agrippa VII (December 18, 1787. Massachusetts)
The Federalist #39 (January 16, 1788. New York)
III. Powers of Government, Checks, and Balances
The Federalist #38 (January 12, 1788. New York)
Brutus V (December 13, 1787. New York)
Brutus VI (December 27, 1787. New York)
The Federalist #23 (December 18, 1787. New York)
The Federalist #24 (December 19, 1787. New York)
Brutus IX (January 17, 1788. New York)
The Federalist #45 (January 26, 1788. New York)
Centinel I - Part I (October 05, 1787. Pennsylvania)
Cato V (November 22, 1787. New York)
The Federalist #51 (February 6, 1788. New York)
IV. The Principle of Representation
Brutus IV (November 29, 1787. New York)
The Federalist #35 (January 05, 1788. New York)
The Federalist #57 (February 19, 1788. New York)
Melancton Smith, Speech on Representation (June 21, 1788. New York)
V. The House of Representatives
Brutus III (November 15, 1787. New York)
Federal Farmer IX (January 04, 1788. New York)
The Federalist #55 (February 13, 1788. New York)
The Federalist #56 (February 16, 1788. New York)
VI. The Senate
Cato VI (December 13, 1787. New York) & Cato VII (January 3, 1788. New York)
Federal Farmer XI (January 11, 1788. New York)
The Federalist #62 (February 27, 1788. New York)
The Federalist #63 (March 01, 1788. New York)
VII. The Executive
An Old Whig V (November 01, 1787. Pennsylvania)
Cato IV (November 08, 1787. New York)
The Federalist #68 (March 12, 1788)
The Federalist #70 (March 15, 1788. New York)
The Federalist #71, (March 18, 1788. New York)
The Federalist #72 (March 19, 1788. New York)
George Mason, Speech on the Presidency (June 17, 1788. Virginia)
VIII. The Judiciary
Brutus XI (January 31, 1788. New York)
Brutus XV (March 20, 1788. New York)
The Federalist #78 (May 28, 1788. New York)
The Federalist #79 (June 18, 1788. New York)
IX. The Bill of Rights
George Mason, Objections to the Constitution (September 13, 1787. Virginia)
Federal Farmer IV (October 12, 1787. New York)
Brutus II (November 01, 1787. New York)
An Old Whig V (November 01, 1787. Pennsylvania)
The Federalist #84 (July 16, 1788. New York)
Keywords: Primary Sources, DBQs, Debates, Federalist, Antifederalist, Anti-Federalist, Constitution, Ratification, Government, APGov, US History, American History, American Founding, Civics, Class Discussion, Ratification Debates, Federalist Papers, Primary Source Reader