Copies of the United States Constitution

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania houses the earliest surviving versions of the United States Constitution. Among these include the first and second handwritten drafts, penned by James Wilson, and the first and second printed drafts from delegates Edmund Randolph and Jacob Broom, and the first official printed copy by Dunlap & Claypool.

By 1787, it was clear that the young United States had to make changes to how its government functioned. From May to September 1787, delegates met in Philadelpha to revise the Articles of Confederation. It quickly became apparent that a new document altogether was needed. On September 17, 1787--after months of secret meetings in Independence Hall--the U.S. Constitution was adopted. HSP owns the earliest surviving versions of the U.S. Constitution. These documents offer a fascinating glimpse into how the language and concepts of the Constitution evolved over time. Other versions housed in HSP include printed pamphlet copies from 1787, as well as proceedings of the Federal Convention. All of these documents form part of HSP's Treasures Collection.



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