Check Out
The Bestselling Books of All Time
See the List

Library of America Founders Collection

Found in Politics
Thomas Jefferson: Writings (LOA #17) by Thomas Jefferson
Alexander Hamilton: Writings (LOA #129) by Alexander Hamilton
John Marshall: Writings (LOA #198) by John Marshall

Library of America Founders Collection : Titles in Order

Book 5
“It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department,” John Marshall wrote in Marbury v. Madison, “to say what the law is.” As its Chief Justice from 1801 to 1835, Marshall made the Supreme Court a full and equal branch of the federal government. In so doing, he joined Washington, his mentor, and Jefferson, his ideological rival, in the first rank of American founders. His legacy extends far beyond Marbury, which held for the first time that the Supreme Court has the power to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional. Under his leadership, the Court upheld the constitutionality of a national bank, established the supremacy of the federal judiciary over state courts and legislatures in matters of constitutional interpretation, and profoundly influenced the economic development of the nation through vigorous interpretation of the contract and interstate commerce clauses. His major judicial opinions are eloquent public papers, written with the conviction that “clearness and precision are most essential qualities,” and designed to inform and persuade the citizens of the new republic about the meaning and purpose of their Constitution.

This volume collects 200 documents written between 1779 and 1835, including Marshall’s most important judicial opinions, his influential rulings during the Aaron Burr treason trial, speeches, newspaper essays, and revealing letters to friends, fellow judges, and his beloved wife, Polly. It follows Marshall’s varied career before becoming Chief Justice: as an officer in the Revolution, a supporter of the ratification of the Constitution, an envoy to France during the notorious “XYZ Affair,” a congressman, and secretary of state in the Adams administration. The personal correspondence gathered here reveals the conviviality, good humor, and unpretentiousness that helped him unite the Court behind many of his landmark decisions, while selections from his biography of George Washington offer vivid descriptions of battles he fought in as a young man.

Charles F. Hobson, editor, is the author of The Great Chief Justice: John Marshall and the Rule of Law. He is the editor of The Law Papers of St. George Tucker at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and was the editor of The Papers of John Marshall.

“A marvelous and much-needed single-volume collection of the writings of America’s greatest Chief Justice, selected by the scholar who knows him best.” -Gordon Wood, author of Empire of LibertyLIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 4
Alexander Hamilton, the subject of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit Broadway musical, comes to life in his own words in this critically acclaimed collection, which also includes conflicting eyewitness accounts of the duel with Aaron Burr that led to his death. One of the most vivid, influential, and controversial figures of the founding of America, Hamilton was an unusually prolific and vigorous writer. As a military aide to George Washington, critic of the Articles of Confederation, proponent of ratification of the Constitution, first Secretary of the Treasury, and leader of the Federalist Party, Hamilton devoted himself to the creation of a militarily and economically powerful American nation guided by a strong, energetic republican government. His public and private writings demonstrate the perceptive intelligence, confident advocacy, driving ambition, and profound concern for honor and reputation that contributed both to his astonishing rise to fame and to his tragic early death.

Arranged chronologically, this volume contains more than 170 letters, speeches, pamphlets, essays, reports, and memoranda written between 1769 and 1804. Included are all fifty-one of Hamilton’s contributions to The Federalist, as well as subsequent writings calling for a broad construction of federal power; his famous speech to the Constitutional Convention, which gave rise to accusations that he favored monarchy; and early writings supporting the Revolutionary cause and a stronger central government. His detailed reports as Secretary of the Treasury on the public credit, a national bank, and the encouragement of manufactures present a forward-looking vision of a country transformed by the power of financial markets, centralized banking, and industrial development.
Hamilton’s sometimes flawed political judgment is revealed in the “Reynolds Pamphlet,” in which he confessed to adultery in order to defend himself against accusations of corrupt conduct, as well as in his self-destructive pamphlet attack on John Adams during the 1800 presidential campaign. An extensive selection of private letters illuminates Hamilton’s complex relationship with George Washington, his deep affection for his wife and children, his mounting fears during the 1790s regarding the Jeffersonian opposition and the French Revolution, and his profound distrust of Aaron Burr. 

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 3
Over 200 years after the founding of the federal republic, James Madison remains the most important political thinker in American history. The prime framer of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Madison was also a brilliant expositor of the new republican government and its underlying principles. His eloquent and insightful writing on freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the press, the rights of minorities under majority rule, the role of the states in the federal system, and the separation of powers are central to American political thought and speak to the controversies of the present day.

Arranged chronologically, this Library of America volume contains 197 essays, addresses, speeches, private memoranda, and letters written between 1772 and 1836. Included are all twenty-nine of Madison’s contributions to The Federalist, as well as revealing letters and speeches from the Constitutional Convention, the crucial Virginia ratifying convention, and the first federal Congress that illuminate his central role in framing and ratifying the Constitution and adopting the Bill of Rights. Early letters from the Revolution and the Confederation record Madison’s strong commitment to religious freedom, his acute observations on the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, and the beginning of his historic political collaboration with Thomas Jefferson.

Selections from the 1790s include eloquent denunciations of the Alien and Sedition Acts and candid private appraisals of George Washington and John Adams. Writings from his terms as secretary of state and president record his determination to uphold American independence during the conflicts of the Napoleonic era and his leadership of the nation during the fiercely controversial War of 1812. Letters and memoranda from his retirement demonstrate his opposition to nullification and secession, his illusory hopes for African colonization as a solution to the dilemma of slavery, and his deepening concern over the sectional threat to the federal union he loved. James Madison: Writings includes a chronology of Madison’s life, an essay on the texts, explanatory notes, and an index.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 2
For two centuries, George Washington has stood “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” universally acknowledged as the one indispensable founder of the American republic. This Library of America volume—the most extensive and authoritative one-volume collection ever published—covers five decades of Washington’s astonishingly active life and brings together over 440 letters, orders, addresses, and other writings.

Among the early writings included are the journal Washington kept at age sixteen while surveying the Shenandoah Valley frontier and the dramatic account of the winter journey he made through the Pennsylvania wilderness in 1753 while on a diplomatic mission. Some two dozen letters written during the French and Indian War, including first-hand accounts of the controversial forest skirmish that sparked those hostilities and of Braddock’s bloody defeat, record Washington’s early encounters with the harsh challenges of military command.

An extensive selection of letters, orders, and addresses from the Revolutionary War make manifest Washington’s determined leadership of the Continental Army through the years of defeat and deprivation. Included are accounts of battles; letters to Congress and state governments vividly describing the army’s desperate need of supplies; Washington’s journal of the victorious Yorktown campaign; and letters and addresses showing how Washington upheld the supremacy of civil power in the new republic by peaceably disbanding the army at the end of the war.

Letters from the Confederation period (1783–1789) show Washington’s pleasure at returning to his Mount Vernon home, his continued interest in Western land speculation and river navigation, his growing concern with the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, and his role in the framing and ratification of the Constitution. The writings from his two terms as President of the United States show how Washington strove to establish enduring republican institutions, to build public trust in the new government, to avoid the divisions of party and faction, and to maintain American neutrality during the war between Britain and Revolutionary France. Also included in the volume are letters revealing his close and careful management of Mount Vernon and his evolving attitudes toward slavery.

Washington’s writings demonstrate the keen, practical intelligence that distinguished his leadership in war and peace, as well as the patriotism, dignity, and devotion to the cause of republican government that won the admiration and trust of his contemporaries and his heirs.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 1
The most comprehensive one-volume selection of Jefferson ever published. Contains the “Autobiography,” “Notes on the State of Virginia,” public and private papers, including the original and revised drafts of the Declaration of Independence, addresses, and 287 letters.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

Find other titles in

Back to Top