Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution

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Macmillan, Oct 2, 2007 - History - 370 pages
15 Reviews
Average Americans Were the True Framers of the Constitution
Woody Holton upends what we think we know of the Constitution’s origins by telling the history of the average Americans who challenged the framers of the Constitution and forced on them the revisions that produced the document we now venerate.  The framers who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 were determined to reverse America’s post–Revolutionary War slide into democracy. They believed too many middling Americans exercised too much influence over state and national policies. That the framers were only partially successful in curtailing citizen rights is due to the reaction, sometimes violent, of unruly average Americans. 
 
If not to protect civil liberties and the freedom of the people, what motivated the framers? In Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution, Holton provides the startling discovery that the primary purpose of the Constitution was, simply put, to make America more attractive to investment. And the linchpin to that endeavor was taking power away from the states and ultimately away from the people. In an eye-opening interpretation of the Constitution, Holton captures how the same class of Americans that produced Shays’s Rebellion in Massachusetts (and rebellions in damn near every other state) produced the Constitution we now revere. Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution is a 2007 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.
  

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Review: Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution

User Review  - Igor Faynshteyn - Goodreads

Having read several books about the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and about the politics of the era prior to reading this book, including the impressive "Original Meanings" by J. Rakove, I was ... Read full review

Review: Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution

User Review  - Rebecca - Goodreads

The author sets out to challenge our perceptions of the motivations of the Framers and the reasons behind the Constitution. He proposes that if it were not for ordinary citizens, that is, "Unruly ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
Grievances
21
Rebuttals
46
Quarrels
85
Economics
96
Redemption
108
Disenchantment
127
Rebellion
145
Revenue
213
Ratification
227
Taxes
239
Consolidation
254
The Underdogs Constitution
272
Notes
279
Acknowledgments
355
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Woody Holton is an associate professor of history at the University of Richmond and the author of the award-winning book Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia.

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