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Debate on the Constitution: Federalist and Antifederalist Speeches, Articles, and Letters During the Struggle Over Ratification, by Bailyn, Part 1: September
The Debate on the Constitution charts the course of the bloodless revolution that created the government of the United States and the world's oldest working political charter. Franklin, Madison, Jefferson, Washington, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, along with scores of less famous citizens, clearly and passionately debate public order and personal liberty in ways that resonate with our morning headlines. Part One includes speeches, newspaper articles, pamphlets, and private letters written or delivered from September 1787 to January 1788. Powerful cases are made against the new charter by Virginian George Mason and the still unidentified "Federal Farmer," while, in New York newspapers, the Federalist essays begin a brilliant defense. Pennsylvania's James Wilson faces the democratic skepticism of the western frontier; in Massachusetts, Hancock and Samuel Adams forge a crucial compromise. With notes, detailed chronology, biographical information, and texts of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and Constitution.
Always Relevant . . . and Still a Lively Read at That!
By Brian Jay Jones
- February 12, 2000
Editor Bernard Bailyn has assembled a first-rate collection of letters, circulars, pamphlets, speeches, and what would be the colonial equivalent of modern op-ed pieces that allows today's readers to witness the founding of a government through the eyes of (and with the voices of) those who were really there. But don't be fooled into thinking this is going to be the stilted, polite prose that often belongs to 18th century philosophers or debaters. Many of the pieces Bailyn has selected are remakrkably spry and teeming with understated wit.Those who think that mud-slinging, negative campaigning, and assaults on the integrity of the opponent are modern day creations may be surprised to see that those in the 18th century could be just as nitpicky, petty, and ascerbic as their present day decendants -- and yet still remain surprisingly gentlemanly about the whole thing. Some letter writers absolutely seethe with irritation at their opposition, and by presenting his... read more
One of my most treasured possessions.
By A Customer
- January 26, 1997
Part one opens with Benjamin Franklin's speech at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, September 17,1787. Two pages long, this speech and all the others that follow, are short, easy to read and in tolerably modern english. Both sides of the argument are presented, not just the federalist opinion but also the anti-federalist.
Many concerns the anti-federalist writers had have proven true. We have created an aristocracy. We do have trouble with our standing peace time army being used to oppress the citizenry. Thank God they had the forsight to require the inclusion of a written bill of rights.
These books are required reading for every educated citizen. Quit reading my review and place these books in your shopping basket right now
Provides a complete environment for the Federalist Papers
By Kevin Brogan
- March 26, 2001
Study of the Federalist Papers, of course included in this two volume series, is a conduit for understanding the American ethic. When the Federalist Papers are viewed as included in this chronological deliberation between the Federalists and Antifederalists, they become even more profound than the enormous depth they can achieve when read alone. The concerns of Brutus and Agrippa are answered, the repititive call for a 'Bill of Rights' revealed. Madison wrote to Jefferson in 1825 defining the Federalist Papers as 'may fairly enough be regarded as the most authentic exposition of the text of the federal constituion, as understood by the Body which prepared & the authority which accepted it.' The enormous insight gained from tracking the arguments and concerns of the proposed Constituion , and the responses of the Federalist cannot be easily estimated, yet the result is a much more informed conscience of the American experience. Madison in the same letter mentioned above stated... read more
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