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Short Synopsis
From Pauline Maier, the distinguished historian of Revolutionary-era America and author of the acclaimed American Scripture, comes this fresh and surprising account of a pivotal moment in American history—the ratification of the Constitution.

Full Synopsis
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.

"Maier tells a...suspenseful and complex story." ---The Washington Post

"A scrupulously even-handed presentation based on impressive scholarship." ---Kirkus Starred Review

"The ratification of the Constitution was the most comprehensive and consequential political debate in American history. It is quite amazing that the story has never before been told with the knowledge and flair it deserves. Here Pauline Maier, one of the leading historians of the revolutionary era, at the peak of her powers, tells that story with style, wit, and incomparable mastery of the sources." ---Joseph J. Ellis, author of First Family

"Pauline Maier has written a magnificent, comprehensive account of the political contests by which the people of America, in James Madison's words, breathed 'life and validity' into the United States Constitution. Her book will stand as the definitive account of the story of the ratification of the Constitution for many decades to come." ---Richard R. Beeman, author of Plain, Honest Men

"With the confidence of a master, Pauline Maier has told the story of the ratification of the Constitution in a book that will endure for decades." ---Joyce Appleby, author of Inheriting the Revolution

"For those who seek judicious assessment, sober reflection, and masterful analysis of the debates that secured the Constitution, this book is an unsurpassable achievement." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"A gripping and eye-opening read." ---Wall Street Journal

"[A] delightful and engrossing book." ---The New York Times
Kirkus Review

New York Times Bestseller

Publishers Weekly Review


The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788

Author Pauline Maier

Narrated by Johnny Heller

Publication date Nov 2, 2010

Running time 23 hrs

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