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The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) connects hundreds of thousands of American citizens of all ages annually to our nation's constitutional history by creating a comprehensive, easily searchable, fully-indexed, and freely accessible digital library of historical sources related to the creation, ratification, and amendment of the United States Constitution. Our team not only curates important digital collections of historical materials, but also creates free research reports and educational resources — including downloadable lesson plans — to meet the specific needs of scholars and authors, legal practitioners and government officials, educators and students, journalists and the general public.

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From the Blog: Founding Dissenters: Non-Signers of the Constitution

Mon, 16 Sep 2019

By Sebastian van Bastelaer, Program Manager

In total, 73 men were appointed to attend the Constitutional Convention in 1787 (55 attended in total). Yet only 39, or slightly more than half, ended up signing on September 17. Who were the 34 who didn’t, and why?

Of the nearly three dozen non-signers, 15 declined their appointment to the Convention. These included such notable statesmen as Richard Henry Lee and Patrick Henry of Virginia, Henry Laurens of South Carolina, Francis Dana of Massachusetts and Charles Carroll of Maryland. Law professor Michael J. Klarman opines that many appointed delegates believed nothing would ...

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