Skip to Main Content

American Founders: A Guide to Their Online Papers and Publications

This guide is a portal to the online words of some of the leaders who served in or as diplomats for the Continental Congresses, the Constitutional Convention, and the Federal government of the United States until the close of the War of 1812.


Thomas Jefferson. A summary view of the rights of British America: set forth in some... 1774. Library of Congress Rare Book & Special Collections Division.

. . . let us save what remains: not by vaults and locks which fence them from the public eye and use, . . . but by such a multiplication of copies, as shall place them beyond the reach of accident.
Thomas Jefferson to Ebenezer Hazard, February 18, 1791

The digital resources described in this guide provide online access, in varying degrees, to the personal papers and/or publications of some of the major founders of the American Republic—that is, those men who served in roles of national political leadership between 1774 and 1815—and members of their immediate families. In some cases, official compilations of government documents are also included because of the prominence of a particular founder's words in the records of the governing body in question.

If an online resource includes substantial material written by or to one or more members of a founder's family, and that material is not written to or from the founder himself, the resource appears under a separate heading for the family member or family group.

Some materials are available by subscription only, and are so designated. They can be consulted onsite at the Library of Congress.

Please note that the links in this guide are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the Library of Congress of any of the products, services or opinions of the organization or individual responsible for the site linked. The Library of Congress bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external site, or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

This guide may be updated and expanded with additional resources as they become available.