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Chapter 6 - Did Prayer Save the Constitutional Convention?



1. Max Farrand, ed., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1911), 450-452.

Document description:
Benjamin Franklin's motion for prayers at the Constitutional Convention - June 28, 1787.

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Page 450
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Page 452

Full volume available at the Library of Congress A Century of Lawmaking website:
The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1



2. Max Farrand, ed., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1911), 452.

Document description:
Debate following Benjamin Franklin's motion for prayers at the Constitutional Convention - June 28, 1787.

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Full volume available at the Library of Congress A Century of Lawmaking website:
The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1



3. Max Farrand, ed., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1911), 452.

Document description:
Debate following Benjamin Franklin's motion for prayers at the Constitutional Convention - June 28, 1787.

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Full volume available at the Library of Congress A Century of Lawmaking website:
The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1



4. "Anecdote of the Federal Convention of 1787," Littell's Living Age, Vol. 25, No. 314, May 25, 1850, 357-359.

Document description:
An inaccurate account of Benjamin Franklin's motion for prayers at the Constitutional Convention and what followed this motion, written as a letter to from William Steele to his son Jonathan in 1825, and said by William Steele to have been told to him by Constitutional Convention delegate Jonathan Dayton a decade earlier. First published by William Steele in 1825. Republication in 1850 in Littell's Living Age included an introduction by Jonathan Steele.

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Page 357
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Page 359

Full volume available at the Cornell University Making of America website:
Littell's Living Age, Vol. 25, No. 314, May 25, 1850



5. Joanne B. Freeman, ed., Alexander Hamilton, Writings, (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 2001), 1019-1021.

Document description:
Statement written by Alexander Hamilton's before his duel with Aaron Burr - c. July 10, 1804.

Available online in: John Torrey Morse, The Life of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 2, (Little, Brown, and Company, 1882), 364-366.

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Page 364
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Page 366

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The Life of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 2

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6. James Madison to Jared Sparks, April 8, 1831, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, vol. 4, (New York: R. Worthington, 1884), 169.

Document description:
Letter from James Madison to Jared Sparks stating that William Steele's account of Benjamin Franklin's motion for prayers at the Constitutional Convention was not accurate - April 8, 1831.

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Title Page
Page 168
Page 169
Page 170



7. James Madison to Thomas S. Grimke, January 6, 1834, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, vol. 4, (New York: R. Worthington, 1884), 337-338.

Document description:
Letter from James Madison to Thomas S. Grimke stating that William Steele's account of Benjamin Franklin's motion for prayers at the Constitutional Convention was not accurate - January 6, 1834.

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Title Page
Page 337
Page 338
Page 339



8. James Madison to Thomas S. Grimke, August 10, 1833, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, vol. 4, (New York: R. Worthington, 1884), 305.

Document description:
Letter from James Madison to Thomas S. Grimke answering Grimke's request for comments on his 1833 Fourth of July oration - August 10, 1833.

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Title Page
Page 305
Page 306

Not available elsewhere online.



9. Max Farrand, ed., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1911), 457-458.

Document description:
Brief mention of Benjamin Franklin's motion for prayers at the Constitutional Convention from the notes of Robert Yates, delegate from New York - June 28, 1787

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Page 457
Page 458

Full volume available at the Library of Congress A Century of Lawmaking website:
The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1



10. "Anecdote of the Federal Convention of 1787," Littell's Living Age, Vol. 25, No. 314, May 25, 1850, 357.
Steele's story was also published at least one time between its original publication in 1825 and its republication in the Living Age in 1850. This was in the 1836 book The Religious Opinions and Character of Washington, by E.C. McGuire, who described its origin as follows: "The account thereof, in its present authentic form, was written in the year 1825, by an intimate friend of the youngest member of the convention."

Document description:
Introduction by Jonathan Steele to the 1850 publication in Littell's Living Age of an inaccurate account of Benjamin Franklin's motion for prayers at the Constitutional Convention and what followed this motion, written as a letter to Jonathan Steele by his father, William Steele, in 1825, and said by William Steele to have been told to him by Constitutional Convention delegate Jonathan Dayton a decade earlier.

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Full volume available at the Cornell University Making of America website:
Littell's Living Age, Vol. 25, No. 314, May 25, 1850



11. Jonathan Elliot, ed., The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, vol. 1, (Washington D.C.: Printed for the Editor, 1836), 373.

Document description:
Excerpt from Luther Martin's Letter on the Federal Convention of 1787 to the Maryland Legislature (also published as The Genuine Information).

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Full volume available at the Library of Congress A Century of Lawmaking website:
The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, vol. 1



12. Max Farrand, ed., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1911), 515.

Document description:
Excerpt from James Madison's notes on the Convention regarding the reason for the adjournment from July 2 to July 5.

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Full volume available at the Library of Congress A Century of Lawmaking website:
The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1



13. Max Farrand, ed., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1911), 516.

Document description:
Excerpt from James Madison's notes on the Convention regarding the reason for the adjournment from July 2 to July 5.

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Full volume available at the Library of Congress A Century of Lawmaking website:
The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1



14. J.A. Leo Lemay, ed., Benjamin Franklin, Writings, (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1987), 1144-1148.

Document description:
"A Comparison of the Conduct of the Ancient Jews and of the Anti-Federalists in the United States of America" - April 1788.

Available online in: Albert Henry Smyth, ed., The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 9, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1906), 698-703.

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Page 698
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Page 700
Page 701
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Page 703

Full volume available on Google Book Search:
The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 9

Note: The 1987 edition of Benjamin Franklin,Writings cited in this footnote has been replaced by a larger collection in two volumes, one volume of Franklin's early writings and one of his later writings, but both new and used copies of the 1987 edition are still available from a number of Amazon Marketplace sellers.

Purchase 1987 edition of Benjamin Franklin, Writings on Amazon.com
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Purchase Benjamin Franklin: Autobiography, Poor Richard: Autobiography, Poor Richard, and Later Writings on Amazon.com