In 1888 the editor selected from the pamphlet arguments published during the discussion of the Constitution of the United States, prior to its ratification by the States, a collection of fourteen tracts, and printed them in a volume under the title of Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States. The reception given that collection clearly proved that these writings were only neglected because of their rarity and inaccessibility, and has induced the editor to collect another, though largely similar class of...
In 1888 the editor selected from the pamphlet arguments published during the discussion of the Constitution of the United States, prior to its ratification by the States, a collection of fourteen tracts, and printed them in a volume under the title of Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States. The reception given that collection clearly proved that these writings were only neglected because of their rarity and inaccessibility, and has induced the editor to collect another, though largely similar class of writings, which he believes of equal value and equally unknown.
In the great discussion which took place in the years 1787 and 1788 of the adoption or rejection of the Constitution of the United States, one of the important methods of influencing public opinion, resorted to by the partisans and enemies of the proposed frame of government, was the contribution of essays to the press of the period. The newspapers were filled with anonymous articles on this question, usually the product of the great statesmen and writers of that period. Often of marked ability, and valuable as the personal views of the writers, the dispersion and destruction of the papers that contained them have resulted in their almost entire neglect as historical or legal writings, and the difficulty of their proper use has been further increased by their anonymous character, which largely destroyed the authority and weight they would have carried, had their true writers been known.
From an examination of over forty files of newspapers and many thousand separate issues, scattered in various public and private libraries, from Boston to Charleston, the editor has selected a series of these essays, and reprinted them in this volume. From various sources he has obtained the name of the writer of each. All here reprinted are the work of well-known men. Five of the writers were Signers of the Declaration of Independence; seven were members of the Federal Convention; many were members of the State Conventions, and there discussed the Constitution.
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Meet the Author
He was the great-grandson (through his mother's family) of Noah Webster and the brother of the noted historian Worthington C. Ford. He wrote lives of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and others, edited the works of Thomas Jefferson, and wrote a number of novels, which had considerable success, including The Honorable Peter Stirling (1894), Story of an Untold Love, Janice Meredith, Wanted a Matchmaker, and Wanted a Chaperon. He was murdered in his Manhattan home by his brother, Malcolm Webster Ford, at one time the most famous amateur athlete in the United States, who then committed suicide.
Ford's edition of The Writings of Thomas Jefferson is still regarded as one of the monuments of American historical scholarship, setting the standard for documentary editing for half-a-century, till the appearance of the first volume of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, edited by Julian A. Boyd. Ford's edition remains valuable for its accuracy of transcription from original manuscripts and its careful annotation of the documents chosen for publication. Ford, however, was at best cool to Jefferson, unlike Boyd, whose critics sometimes attacked him as an uncritical apologist for Jefferson. The Ford edition appeared in two versions, a ten-volume edition published between 1892 and 1896 and a fourteen-volume limited numbered edition (known as the "Federal" edition) issued in 1904; other than the different breakdown of volumes, the contents of these editions are identical. Readers, however, have to take note of which edition is being used in a given scholarly work.
Paul Leicester Ford is interred at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY.