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Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 | [Pauline Maier]

Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788

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.
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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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

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4.1 (57 )
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  •  
    Adam IRVING, TX, United States 09-29-11
    Adam IRVING, TX, United States 09-29-11 Member Since 2005

    Adam

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Howard San Diego, CA United States 08-27-11
    Howard San Diego, CA United States 08-27-11 Member Since 2007

    TaxProf

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    "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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William 04-24-13
    William 04-24-13

    I am a retired high school computer teacher. After years of tech reading, I have given up reading for listening while I woodworking.

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    "eye openning history"
    What made the experience of listening to Ratification the most enjoyable?

    The logical history based on diaries, newspapers, and meeting minutes. This is a fantastic view of life in 18th century. It is a must read for constitutional history buffs.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edje J. 10-06-14
    Edje J. 10-06-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Good book ruined by poor performance"
    What would have made Ratification better?

    The performance would have been significantly improved with better volume control. I constantly had to adjust the volume up and down to try to maintain a consistent level.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Johnny Heller’s performances?

    No. I found Johnny Heller to be a poor choice as a reader. His voice seems to lack any upper register. Even when I increased the volume to the point I found it physically painful, I still found the words difficult to decipher. Any background noise at all made understanding almost impossible.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-06-13 Member Since 2007

    templebattle

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    "The story state-by-state"
    What did you love best about Ratification?

    The role of early conventions on the outcome of later conventions isn't often emphasized in most history classes. In a way, very little has changed in politics.


    Any additional comments?

    Each state has it's own chapter in the order the state conventions met to ratify so that the impact of one ratification convention on the next one is clear. It's also really apparent how close-run a thing ratification was, contrary to what is sometimes the modern opinion that this was a done-deal from the beginning. What I think I found most interesting were the arguments made about protecting liberty. The debate during this period often claimed that it would be the states that would protect citizens from violations of liberty by the national government. Today, it seems more like this is reversed, that it's the federal government protecting the citizens from violations of liberty by the states.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    "unknown" OLATHE, KS, United States 05-25-13
    "unknown" OLATHE, KS, United States 05-25-13
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    "Great for History"

    This book would be recommended for those with a great curiosity into the circumstances behind the otherwise largely untold history of the ratification of Constitution. Other less motivated casual listeners might not have their attention held by this lengthy book. Highly recommended if you are interested in this topic.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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