The oft-told story of the making of the Constitution always deserves retelling, and Berkin is just right for the job. A lucid study in constitutional history and a meditation on the decline of small- r republican values in the age of the imperial presidency. Try telling that to the last few presidents. The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the
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But our first government was a disaster and the country was in a terrible crisis. So when a group of men traveled to Philadelphia in the summer of to save a nation in danger of collapse, they had no great expectations for the meeting that would make history. But all the ideas, arguments, and compromises led to a great thing: a constitution and a government were born that have surpassed the founders' greatest hopes.
Revisiting all the original documents and using her deep knowledge of eighteenth-century history and politics, Carol Berkin takes a fresh look at the men who framed the Constitution, the issues they faced, and the times they lived in. Berkin transports the listener into the hearts and minds of the founders, exposing their fears and their limited expectations of success.
Review quote "With the sensibilities of a novelist, Berkin tells a fast-paced story full of quirky and sympathetic characters, capturing the human dimensions of the now legendary first Constitutional Convention. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads.
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A Brilliant Solution : Inventing the American Constitution
A Design for Living
A BRILLIANT SOLUTION
A rich narrative portrait of post-revolutionary America and the men who shaped its political future. Though the American Revolution is widely recognized as our nation's founding story, the years immediately following the war--when our government was a disaster and the country was in a terrible crisis--were in fact the most crucial in establishing the country's independence. The group of men who traveled to Philadelphia in the summer of had no idea what kind of history their meeting would make. But all their ideas, arguments, and compromises--from the creation of the Constitution itself, article by article, to the insistence that it remain a living, evolving document--laid the foundation for a government that has surpassed the founders' greatest hopes. Revisiting all the original historical documents of the period and drawing from her deep knowledge of eighteenth-century politics, Carol Berkin opens up the hearts and minds of America's founders, revealing the issues they faced, the times they lived in, and their humble expectations of success. The end of the book includes short biographies of everyone who took part in the convention whether he signed or not , and the text of the Articles of the Confederation and the Constitution itself. Carol Berkin.
A Brilliant Solution
Designed with an eye toward decentralizing power, the Articles worked so well that the young nation soon found itself without any significant power. Its army was small and inconsequential; its credit was ruined; and the 13 states tended to conduct themselves as wholly independent political units. Against this backdrop, Berkin, conveys the desperation and passion of the men who met in Philadelphia in the summer of to design America's new constitution. They were men of wealth and comfort," she says, landowners, slaveholders, lawyers, merchants, land and securities speculators, and an occasional doctor or clergyman," who were crafty enough to know that premature leaks could scuttle their proposed ship of state. Consequently, they agreed to keep the details of their discussions secret from the public. Although the universally revered George Washington and Ben Franklin were both active in the convention, they were less assertive than such younger colleagues as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. From May 25, when the ground rules were laid down, until September 17, the day the document was signed, the debates surged this way and that, often creating the least expected of political allies.