Declaration and Resolve
William Pitt against the Stamp Act
Declaration of Independence
John Jay to Jefferson
Articles of Confederation
RH Lee against a Central Govt
|Fortunately for the new
nation, there were some great men who expressed their
thoughts as to what direction the country should take. As
citizens of this great country, all of us should be aware of
these speeches and documents. Those who do not learn from
the past are destined to repeat the mistakes.
For our purposes and yours we decided to
collect copies of many of the great and significant speeches
or writings for our history. These are in chronological
- James Otis
(1761)- speaking in front of the Supreme Court in
Boston arguing that the Writs of Assistance are
unconstitutional and exceed the authority granted to the
English Parliament. John Adams
declared that, in this oration, "American independence
William Pitt (1766)
Leading English Statesmen, defender of the colonies in
America, ex-Prime Minister and brother-in-law of the
current Prime Minister Grenville giving a speech to the
House of Commons arguing against the Stamp Act.
Excellent Speech which helped repeal the Stamp Act.
James Otis (July
1764) published "The Rights of the British
Colonies Asserted and Proved" outlining the basic
God given rights guaranteed by the Magna Carta to the
citizens of England and their colonies.
Patrick Henry (1775) was a delegate to the Virginia
Convention operating independent of the Royal Governor.
Henry was urging the group to raise a militia to put
Virginia on a defensive posture. This is the meeting
where he gave his famous words, "Is
life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at
the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty
God! I know not what course others may take; but as for
me, give me liberty or give me death!"
The Declaration of
Independence (1776) - authored by Thomas Jefferson
and his committee. This is one of the most important
documents every written especially for the people in the
- John Jay in
a letter to Thomas Jefferson (1786)- John Jay among
others were concerned that the Confederation of states
would not provide the security that would be needed. Jay
felt a central government would be a better way to deal
with the needs of the new nation.
The Articles of Confederation (1777) - Before the US
Constitution, the 13 new states joined together under
the Articles of Confederation. Fearing a strong central
government, the Articles seemed to be the path until the
- Richard Henry
Lee (1787) - Lee among others were very concerned
about giving power to a strong central government.
Ratification of the Constitution meant establishing just
that. The Americans had just thrown out the British
central government for good reasons. Would this step
create the same problems by consolidating power in the
hands of a few?
The Federalist Papers
(1787) - writings from
James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay about how
the new American Government should work. In the words of
Alexander Hamilton, "I
propose in a series of papers to discuss the following
interesting particulars:—The utility of the UNION to
your political prosperity—The insufficiency of the
present Confederation to preserve that Union—The
necessity of a government at least equally energetic
with the one proposed to the attainment of this
object—The conformity of the proposed Constitution to
the true principles of republican government—Its analogy
to your own State constitution—and lastly, The
additional security which its adoption will afford to
the preservation of that species of government, to
liberty and to property. "
The Constitution of the
United States of American (1787) -
We the People of the United States, in
Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,
insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common
defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the
Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do
ordain and establish this Constitution for the United
States of America...
First Inaugural Address (1789) - The very first
President's Inaugural Address given at the temporary
capital in New York. Washington turned to James Madison
for help in writing this address to Congress.
Farewell Address (1796) - Washington was asked to
continue as President of the new Nation. He refused and
stepped down at the end of his term. He gave this
farewell address leaving these powerful words of wisdom
for those that followed him.