• Title: Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788
  • Author: Pauline Maier
  • ISBN: 9780684868547
  • Page: 336
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Ratification The People Debate the Constitution When the delegates left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in September the new Constitution they had written was no than a proposal Elected conventions in at least nine of the thirte
    When the delegates left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in September 1787, the new Constitution they had written was no than a proposal Elected conventions in at least nine of the thirteen states would have to ratify it before it could take effect There was reason to doubt whether that would happen The document we revere today as the foundation of ourWhen the delegates left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in September 1787, the new Constitution they had written was no than a proposal Elected conventions in at least nine of the thirteen states would have to ratify it before it could take effect There was reason to doubt whether that would happen The document we revere today as the foundation of our country s laws, the cornerstone of our legal system, was hotly disputed at the time Some Americans denounced the Constitution for threatening the liberty that Americans had won at great cost in the Revolutionary War One group of fiercely patriotic opponents even burned the document in a raucous public demonstration on the Fourth of July.In this splendid new history, Pauline Maier tells the dramatic story of the yearlong battle over ratification that brought such famous founders as Washington, Hamilton, Madison, Jay, and Henry together with less well known Americans who sometimes eloquently and always passionately expressed their hopes and fears for their new country Men argued in taverns and coffeehouses women joined the debate in their parlors broadsides and newspaper stories advocated various points of view and excoriated others In small towns and counties across the country people read the document carefully and knew it well Americans seized the opportunity to play a role in shaping the new nation Then the ratifying conventions chosen by We the People scrutinized and debated the Constitution clause by clause.Although many books have been written about the Constitutional Convention, this is the first major history of ratification It draws on a vast new collection of documents and tells the story with masterful attention to detail in a dynamic narrative Each state s experience was different, and Maier gives each its due even as she focuses on the four critical states of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York, whose approval of the Constitution was crucial to its success.The New Yorker Gilbert Livingston called his participation in the ratification convention the greatest transaction of his life The hundreds of delegates to the ratifying conventions took their responsibility seriously, and their careful inspection of the Constitution can tell us much today about a document whose meaning continues to be subject to interpretation Ratification is the story of the founding drama of our nation, superbly told in a history that transports readers back than two centuries to reveal the convictions and aspirations on which our country was built.

    One Reply to “Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788”

    1. I found this a comprehensive and balanced portrayal of the drama of the ratification process of the US Constitution. Maier covered a great many of the players and their sometimes fluid positions, she kept the action moving, and she injected judicious amounts of analysis about why individuals and coalitions were acting as they did. She clearly has read deeply in the journals, newspapers, and official records of the period. That means she was able to liberally use comments from less well known del [...]

    2. This book could alternatively be titled "The Tale of America's Greatest Political Sausage."It is hilarious while reading about the tactics necessary to pass the Constitution to listen to modern politicians praise it as a perfect, sacred document. If you didn't already realize how much it has needed to be expanded on over the years (redefining suffrage and representation as well as the Roosevelts' great expansion of the scope of the nation), you might be shocked to realize that the Constitution w [...]

    3. Maier has written a book long waiting and needing to be written. For all the books that have been written about the creation of the US Constitution, relatively little has been written explicating the ensuing process of its being ratified by the necessary number of states. The original materials that Maier had available to her and that she needed to study were voluminous, and it is greatly to her credit that she has reviewed and summarized them into a fascinating and useful narrative for the gene [...]

    4. I was surprised to read that this was the first complete book on the ratification of the U.S. constitution out there. Fortunately, Maier finally gives the subject the comprehensive and enlightening treatment it deserves. She was able to complete this daunting task due to the publication of the "Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution" which compiled the papers on ratification, which were once scattered across the country, into an accessible whole. Now, this book may work like [...]

    5. This is a very comprehensive and what should now be a definitive and scholarly account of the ratification debates in the states. It is not an examination/discussion of the Federalist Papers, which were aimed primarily at New York and weren't otherwise widely circulated throughout the states. Rather, the book captures the debates at the state ratifying conventions primarily in the years 1787-1788, and also some discussion of the late ratifiers (North Carolina and Rhode Island) in 1789 and 1790.T [...]

    6. In modern times, the Constitution of the United States has been held by its citizens in such esteem (when they pay attention to it at all) as to put it in the category of a “sacred text.” But that was by no means the case in 1787 and 1788, when the newly-drafted Constitution was sent to the states for ratification.The fledgling nation was in terrible shape in 1787. The Articles of Confederation, under which the young republic had operated, were inadequate. Most pressing was the issue of reve [...]

    7. Most of us are familiar with at least the outline of this story, perhaps from an American History or Civics class: the Constitution had to be ratified by at least 9 states in order to replace the Articles of Confederation (in those states) and a debate went on between the "Federalists" who supported the Constitution and the "Anti-Federalists" who felt that it curtailed states' rights too much and would lead to tyranny. This history tells a more complete version of that tale. Those who solemnly i [...]

    8. The author collected the facts and put them into a book. New Jersey and Georgia aside, she was thorough. She chose not to cover the constitutional convention. She chose to end her story when the last of the thirteen, Rhode Island, ratified. Each state had a ratifying convention (New Hampshire had two) and she told the story of the ratifying conventions one at a time leaving out Georgia and New Jersey.This was a difficult story to tell, but it could have been told better, I believe. She could hav [...]

    9. Good look at what it took to pass the Constitution I had read nothing about North Carolina's ratification history, nor Rhode Island's, so on this grounds alone, the book is great. Beyond that, Maier gets beyond Federalist/Antifederalist rhetoric (much of it Federalist-driven) and gets beyond "The Federalist" as well.Political tactics and more all unfold in this book, from Pennsylvania's failed rush to be "The First State" through Massachusetts Federalists' careful, thought-out strategy, on to Vi [...]

    10. Over time, I have had a real interest in the founding period of the United States. The battle over ratification is one of those points in which I am especially interested (I have even done some professional research on the subject, to the extent that that has any relevance). This book, though, delves nicely into the ratification struggle after the Constitutional Convention concluded its business in 1787.The book is well detailed, discussing the events in the various states' ratification conventi [...]

    11. Pauline Maier wrote a very detailed yet readable account of the the ratification process of the US Constitution. As she wrote in the forward, there are many books written on how the Constitution was created in the summer of 1787, but not so much on the how ratification was achieved. Federalist versus Anti-Federalist, the war of the presses, politics at the state conventions; it's all here.

    12. Not a book for everyone. This is a rather long history of how our constitution was ratified in the various state conventions held after Philadelphia. There is a lot of very interesting detail and intrigue that may not be to the liking of the casual reader but for an avid American history lover you'll eat this up.

    13. It's our story.It's our story, citizens of the United States, but we have converted it into a simplistic myth. Maier shows us the details, the messiness, the fears and fights - and after it is done, we have a more interesting story than when we started.She goes through the battle for ratification, state by state, giving time to the proponents and opponents alike. This means some degree of repetition of arguments, but that is inevitable.What is fascinating with this and most good history is to tr [...]

    14. This is a fascinating book about the ratification of the Constitution. The author, Pauline Maier, states in her preface that this is one of the few books whose sole topic is the ratification of the Constitution in all thirteen of the original states. Given the importance of this event it seems unusual that it took so long for someone to write this book. A very important tool that made it possible is The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. This project which is being done [...]

    15. If you're a history generalist, looking for a broad-based overview of the lives and times of our founding generation, this book will not satisfy, despite the prominence of several luminaries (Washington, Madison, Hamilton, et al). However, for those who are looking for a more targeted examination of a seminal event (really, series of events) that created the foundation of American government for the past two-plus centuries, as well as a great summation of the debates that informed the understand [...]

    16. Wow, I feel like I should be giving this book a 5 star review based on the title and the content to be covered inside. Sadly this book gets 2 1/2 from me. Why? I usually fall all over this stuff with 5 star reviews but this book didn't do it for me. The truth is this book suffered from being WAY too long and detailed. I'm sure someone reading this is shaking their head saying "really?" "Yes, really."I love the fact that the author took the time to research all of this material and put it togethe [...]

    17. An exhaustive, detailed history of the embryonic life of the US Constitution following its initial drafting in the summer of 1787, until its adoption a couple of years. A scholarly account of the Constitution ratification conventions, state by state, argument by argument, and sometimes clause by clause. Not for the uninitiated or faint of heart, as this can be dense, repetitive stuff to wade through. It is interesting how underhanded and controversial the move was, after only 8 years of a Confed [...]

    18. The sheer amount of information that Maier was able to put in this book while maintaining an engaging narrative is astounding. There are so many people, so many debates, so many points, so many places, and yet she manages to weave it all together into a cohesive book. She nods to the historical context of each state's debates without lingering there too long, just enough to get perspective. Truly fascinating, and very enjoyable, the debates, the corruption, the cooperation that went into the Con [...]

    19. Almost EVERYONE saw difficulties in the construction, both pro+con, and it was pushed through with a strong democratic veneer with the idea to fix things later. People debating the constitution were terrified of a monarchical leader but 'federalist/centralists(more apropos) won the day who represented the more elite/urban/coastal populations.Let's see how it constrains Trump, but I expect not as well as needed. No one deserves their own perspective (particularly warped like Trump) to affect the [...]

    20. A long and detailed book about the process of the Ratification of the Constitution; too long and too detailed. In the end, barring a few interesting turns, there's not very much to the story, and it could have been covered in a fashion I feel would have been more satisfying and successful with half the plodding accounts of the debates. Those interesting turns are pretty good though: New Hampshire just meeting and then adjourning almost immediately; the election of George Washington by only 11 st [...]

    21. There are a lot of great books about the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia that explain how the Constitution was made. But the Philadelphia convention didn’t actually make any changes – it just proposed them. The Confederation was still the government of the United States, and it would be until the Constitution was ratified by at least 9 states. And that ratification was not certain. Opposition to the Constitution as it was written was high in many states. And even if 9 states ratifi [...]

    22. It's the first book I've ever read by Pauline Maier and it was tremendous. She was a tremendous writer and researcher.

    23. 3/20/201After reading Pauline Maier's book on the Declaration of Independence, I wanted to read more from this very accessible historian. I have had a long-standing interest in the Constitution. This book seemed like a nice addition to my understanding of the foundation of this most longstanding and durable document. I am now about 100 pages into this book. I must admit that I first bought this book on Audible. It was impossible for me to keep the names, dates and events sorted out in my mind wh [...]

    24. Extensive coverage of the states’ ratifying conventions, nicely detailing and contrasting the methods and arguments used for and against ratification. I wouldn’t mind owning this as a reference.

    25. Of all topics in American history, the early days of our founding are among the most heavily researched and written about. There is no lack of scholarly work on the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence or the "Founding Fathers". Nearly all are about the dramatic actions of a small band of visionary leaders that saw an opportunity to found "a more perfect union" based on the political theories of (among others) John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. This book is different.To begin with, nearly al [...]

    26. There's a reason the state ratification conventions don't get the same attention the Philadelphia Convention to actually draft the Constitution does -- at the latter, you've got high-stakes negotiation, the clash of intellectual heavyweights, and the eventual shape of the American Republic being slowly hammered out.Plus they had Gouverneur Morris in Philadelphia. That dude's awesome: peglegged womanizing Founding Father, what's not to love?By way of contrast, the state ratification conventions f [...]

    27. We hold such a romantic view of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers (an indeed with good reason) that our perception often clouds our understanding of the very real, very complex individuals responsible for the construction of the United States. We also tend to boil The Founders down to Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and that's it. Both of these are massive mistakes, and Pauline Maier's book does an excellent job of setting the reality of 1787-88 in front of us.Next time you hear some el [...]

    28. Pauline Maier’s Ratification is a thorough yet lively telling of the process by which the US Constitution was ratified by "the people." It picks up the story after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia unveiled the new Constitution and follows the ratification through the various state conventions and the development of the first 10 amendments (known after the Civil War as the Bill of Rights). It’s a story that I knew very little about. I assume that most people, like me, thought the [...]

    29. Just an observation rather than a review: Maier's thrilling, blow-by-blow story of ratification reads like a parable, and a condemnation, of our own contemporary politics. How could it not? The fight for ratification was bitterly contested in every state and marked the beginning of political parties. It also inspired, as Joseph Ellis observes, "the most comprehensive and consequential political debate in American history." Aligned against the Constitution were such formidable figures as Patrick [...]

    30. Maier has produced a thoroughly researched and comprehensive history of the ratification process of the constitution. It shows conclusively that the primary concerns of those opposed to the new constitution centered around the powers given to the centralized Congress and the lack of a bill of rights, and not so much around the position of the executive or the Supreme Court (ironically the two areas of greatest concern today). She also does a nice job of explaining why the various states ultimate [...]

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