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Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention:
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Farrand's Records

The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787

One of the great scholarly works of the early twentieth century was Max Farrand's The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Published in 1911, Farrand's work gathered the documentary records of the Constitutional Convention into four volumes--three of which are included in this online collection--containing the materials necessary to study the workings of the Constitutional Convention. According to Farrand's introduction, at the close of the convention, the secretary, William Jackson, delivered all the materials to the president of the convention, George Washington, who turned these papers over to the Department of State in 1796. In 1818, Congress ordered that the records be printed, which was done under the supervision of the Secretary of State John Q. Adams, in 1819.

Farrand's Records remains the single best source for discussions of the Constitutional Convention. The notes taken at that time by James Madison, and later revised by him, form the largest single block of material other than the official proceedings. The three volumes also includes notes and letters by many other participants, as well as the various constitutional plans proposed during the convention.

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