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Publisher's Summary

When the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia adjourned late in the summer of 1787, the delegates returned to their states to report on the new Constitution, which had to be ratified by specially elected conventions in at least nine states. Pauline Maier recounts the dramatic events of the ensuing debate in homes, taverns, and convention halls, drawing generously on the speeches and letters of founding fathers, both familiar and forgotten, on all sides.
This is the first narrative history in decades of the ratification debate, with all its significance, and it draws on new scholarship about the ratification process. In Maier's skillful hands, this fascinating yet often overlooked episode in the nation's history comes to life as never before.
©2010 Pauline Maier (P)2010 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Ripostes from proponents, the Federalists, animate the great detail Maier provides, as does her recounting how one state convention’s verdict affected another’s. Displaying the grudging grassroots blessing the Constitution originally received, Maier eruditely yet accessibly revives a neglected but critical passage in American history." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Adam on 09-29-11

Very good

This is a very good book, covering a topic that is not easy to cover. Almost any book that mentions these debates will devote no more than a few pages to them, even though the ratification was one of the most important events in American history. This book isn't just worth it because of how informative and well written it is, but also because of the importance of the topic itself.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful


By Howard on 08-27-11

History Always Repeats

I did not know much about the state ratification process, and so it was interesting to learn how detailed the debates were (including, for example, the appropriate limits of diversity jurisdiction). The fights generally centered on a strong central government versus state variation and local control, pretty much what is going on today. The book was a bit too long but otherwise quite good.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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