Virtually every copy of the United States Constitution published within living memory is a copy of the parchment Constitution—the document signed by the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention on September 17, 1787. It was not always so. Until the mid-nineteenth century, official government printings of the Constitution tended to derive (however imperfectly) from the printed version of the text forwarded to the states by the Confederation Congress some days later, in the move that got the ratification process underway. This site reproduces that "forgotten" Constitution alongside the more famous parchment with which constitutionally literate Americans are now so familiar.
Also transcribed here are the September 18 print authorized by the Philadelphia Convention and the "correct Copy" of the Constitution printed by Childs and Swaine in their first edition of the acts of the First Congress.
This site is a companion to my paper "How Different Are the Early Versions of the United States Constitution? An Examination," which appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of the Green Bag (20 Green Bag 2d 163). See the paper for a discussion of the variants, and the textual notes below for more information on these transcriptions. For historical information on the four texts, see the classic essays of Denys P. Myers (11 Green Bag 2d 217) and Akhil Reed Amar (97 Yale Law Journal 281).
PS. Although my purpose in creating this site was to resurrect the early printed forms of the text, I know that most people will continue to be interested chiefly in the parchment and the amendments. You can cite them and help call attention to the existence of the other texts by linking to this site's transcriptions of P and A.