Synopses & Reviews
In 1787, the American union was in disarray. The incompatible demands of the separate states threatened its existence; some states were even in danger of turning into the kind of tyranny they had so recently deposed. A truly national government was needed, one that could raise money, regulate commerce, and defend the states against foreign threats-without becoming as overbearing as England. So thirty-six-year-old James Madison believed. That summer, the Virginian was instrumental in organizing the Constitutional Convention, in which one of the worlds greatest documents would be debated, created, and signed. Inspired by a sense of history in the making, he kept the most extensive notes of any attendee.Now two esteemed scholars have made these minutes accessible to everyone. Presented with modern punctuation and spelling, judicious cuts, and helpful notes-plus fascinating background information on every delegate and an overview of the tumultuous times-here is the great drama of how the Constitution came to be, from the opening statements to the final votes. This Modern Library Paperback Classic also includes an Introduction and appendices from the authors.
"In 1787, the fledgling American nation was in the throes of a serious economic depression, at least partly because the Articles of Confederation were too weak to make a stable republic. At the initiative of 36-year-old Virginian James Madison, delegates convened in Philadelphia that year to draft the much stronger U.S. Constitution. This book tells the convention's turbulent story in Madison's own words, drawn from the notes he took at the scene and giving us a daily blow-by-blow. Along the way, modern readers begin to understand just how much of the government's role was up for grabs. Should the executive be a single person, or was that too much like a monarchy? Would all members of Congress be elected by the people a potentially dangerous and anarchic proposition or would senators be appointed by the state legislatures? How would slaves be counted for government representation? Larson (a professor of history and law at the University of Georgia) and Winship (a professor of English at the University of Texas Austin) steer readers through the fierce debates with helpful explanations and editorial asides, as well as a cogent epilogue, making this primary source far more than a tidy civics lesson. (On sale Nov. 8)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
James Madison kept the most extensive notes of any attendee of the Constitutional Convention. Now his notes are presented with modern punctuation and spelling and helpful notes, fascinating background information on every delegate, and an overview of the tumultuous times. High school & older.
About the Author
Edward J. Larson is Russell Professor of History and Talmadge Professor of Law at the University of Georgia. He received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for his book Summer for the Gods. His most recent book is Evolution: The Remarkable History of the Scientific Theory, published by Modern Library.
Michael Winship, a specialist in early American history, is professor of history at the University of Georgia. He is the author of numerous books and articles.