HE publication of this collection of documents on the origin and development of our constitutional history is due chiefly to the active interest manifested by Representatives Robert L. Bacon, of New York, and R. Walton Moore, of Virginia, and to Senators George Wharton Pepper, of Pennsylvania, and Simeon D. Fess, of Ohio. Its purpose is to present under one cover the most significant documents relative to the formation of the American Federal States. The only comparable collection of documents published by the Government of the United States is the Documentary History of the Constitution, which was brought out some thirty-two years ago.
Two other publications have since appeared which bring together some of these documents. In 1911 Prof. Max Farrand, of Yale University, brought out a new edition of the Records of the Federal Convention in three volumes. This work included Madison's journal and the supplementary material by Yates, McHenry, and others. He also included certain significant correspondence of the members of the Federal Convention. This important publication was not only quite expensive but is now difficult to acquire at any price. In 1920 the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published the debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 reported by James Madison. This also included some preliminary and supplementary material.
In the present document greater emphasis has been placed upon the evolution of the Constitution in the Constitutional Convention Of 1787. The documents necessary for a complete study of the development of the Federal Constitution have been scattered so widely in different publications, many of them inaccessible to the ordinary reader, that it is a real service to collect all relevant materials and publish them in one volume.