The American Founding Period

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Since its founding in 1981, the Center for the Study of the American Constitution (CSAC) has sought opportunities to disseminate knowledge acquired through editing The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution to a broader audience through lectures, seminars, videos, and publications.

In partnership with UW Digital Collections, CSAC is delighted to make some of these materials freely available online in the American Founding Period collection. This collection currently consists of Wisconsin Public Radio interviews with CSAC staff and digitized versions of the America’s Founders chapbook series.

Between 1998 and 2011, CSAC Director John P. Kaminski and Deputy Director Emeritus Richard Leffler regularly appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio’s University of the Air program to discuss the Founding era. The twenty-eight interviews preserved here cover topics from death to science in the Founding era, accounts of five important trials, and discussions of the era’s most prominent figures.

The America’s Founders chapbook series consists of five short biographies based on a voluminous collection of quotations compiled by John P. Kaminski over the last quarter century. Each biography is comprised of vignettes describing the public and private life of a particular Founder. These vignettes are set within the important events of the Founding era. While brief compared to other biographical works, these biographies contain descriptions of the Founders and accounts of historical events that seldom appear in lengthier treatments. Written in an engaging and accessible style, each biography in the series presents a well-rounded picture of a Founder.


CSAC depends on and is grateful for support from individuals. You can give online through the “Make a Gift” page on the UW Foundation’s website. Some of the materials in this collection have been generously funded by the Hammes Company.