Founder Essay

Due by Thursday, Feb. 27th at 5pm

Annotated Guidelines

By Thursday, Feb. 27th, students will submit a 6 to 8 page biographical essay on a framer of the US Constitution.  Each essay should provide background on the figure (either one of the 55 delegates who attended the federal convention in Philadelphia, or an influential contemporary “founder” who did not –such as Thomas Jefferson or Elizabeth Powel), describe their position on key issues during the summer of 1787, and then assess his or her significance to the framing of the original text of the Constitution.

  •  Profiles of 55 Delegates (
  • For ideas related to other more indirect framers, consult Richard Beeman’s Plain, Honest Men
  • Begin biographical research on all figures with American National Biography Online (Library Database Finder)

All essays should use a wide-ranging combination of high quality primary and secondary sources. All essays should be typed and double-spaced while including a title page with descriptive title and Chicago-style footnotes (no bibliography required).

  • Consult the handouts page for further information on citation format

In addition to the essay, students should also submit a custom-made TimelineJS on their chosen subject as an appendix.  Well-designed timelines can receive up to 5 extra-credit points.

  • Model TimelineJS:  Mary Johnson Dillon (Rachel Morgan)
  • Good timelines should have 6 to 8 entries with proper image credits.  Any quoted text should have abbreviated citations.

Both essay and timeline link should be submitted by email to Prof. Pinsker.  Student work will be graded on research effort, depth of analysis and prose quality. Late essays will be penalized up to 5 points per day.

Comments are closed.