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Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May - September 1787


Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May - September 1787 Cover

ISBN13: 9780316103985
ISBN10: 0316103985
Condition: Worn Condition or Underlined
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This book is a history of the Federal Convention in Philadelphia that resulted in the Constitution of the United States.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Luigi, November 19, 2009 (view all comments by Luigi)
If you want to know what the framers were thinking when they wrote the Constitution, this is the book. Although many books have covered this historic event, this is the best. It is historically accurate and easy to read. With so many commentators telling us what the original intent of the Framers was, it's nice to find out the real story as told by a knowledgeable author. Also available as an Mp3 CD.
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OneMansView, August 8, 2009 (view all comments by OneMansView)
Very perceptive look at the Convention (4.5*s)

Since the publication of this book over forty years ago, countless books have been written on the proceedings of the US Constitutional Convention of the summer of 1787. One would be hardpressed to say that any of those books combine the insight, detail, and readability of this book. The author captures, so well, the entire scope of the Convention: the setting both within and outside the Convention hall, the personality and competency of the delegates, the constitutional issues, the sequence and substance of the debates, and the Convention’s unquestionable importance to the very survival of a fledgling America.

Perhaps one could quibble over the author’s choice of detail. She emphasizes the concern of small states concerning the nature of representation in Congress far more than the manner in which the President is elected. Some of the important deal-making in that regard among delegates is ignored. The Committee of Postponed Parts that met in the first week of Sept, 1787, is not specifically mentioned. John Rutledge of South Carolina in his work at the end of July in the Committee of Detail that transformed the Virginia Resolves into a near constitution perhaps does not get his due.

On the other hand, the debates concerning the fifteen Virginia Resolves presented on the opening day of the Convention are explicitly discussed, resolve by resolve. Because all provisions were subject to being reopened despite previous agreement, the author makes considerable effort to indicate the resolution of a constant stream of motions. The subtle differences between considering provisions within the Convention and within the Committee of the Whole are explained.

Several Convention delegates receive the author’s attention: Washington for his quiet dignity and subtle influence; Franklin for his apt remarks; Madison for his keen knowledge of government and timely management of the Convention; James Wilson for his incisiveness; Gouverneur Morris for his passion and his succinct formulation of the final version of the Constitution; and Alexander Hamilton for becoming essentially an irrelevancy at the Convention due his monarchial ideas. Perhaps surprisingly, there were few true obstructionists at the Convention, but some like Luther Martin of Maryland are covered.

An overriding concern of the small states that permeates the entire book is the ramifications of the diminishment of state sovereignty under a “national” government. Gerry of Massachusetts and Mason of Virginia, both of large states, were truly concerned with the potential tyranny of centralized power. The addition of a Bill of Rights, supposedly as a guarantor against unconstrained governmental power, in connection with Constitutional state ratifying conventions is briefly examined.

The book is decidedly not “flag-waving” or “neo-Federalist.” The Articles of Confederation outlined a totally ineffectual form of government that made it virtually impossible for the United States to conduct interstate or international commerce, to collect taxes if for no reason other than to pay war debts, and to have even a minimal military presence. The author describes the extraordinary prescience and perseverance of some of Americas leading elites, namely Hamilton, Madison, and Washington, in forcing America to face the fact that the existing government was entirely inadequate for a nation to remain viable, let alone advance, in a hostile world. There is little doubt that the US would not exist today in its current form without the “Miracle at Philadelphia.”

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Product Details

Bowen, Catherine Drinker
Back Bay Books
Drinker Bowen, Catherine
History & Theory
United states
Government and political science
United States - Colonial Period
Constitutional Convention
Constitutional conventions
United States - 18th Century
Political History
US History - 20th Century
US History-General
General History
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
8.375 x 5.5 x 1 in 0.74 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » US History » 18th Century
History and Social Science » US History » Documents
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » US History » Revolution and Constitution Era
History and Social Science » World History » General

Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May - September 1787 Used Trade Paper
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Product details 346 pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316103985 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This book is a history of the Federal Convention in Philadelphia that resulted in the Constitution of the United States.
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