The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution

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Simon and Schuster, May 20, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 349 pages
7 Reviews
The Summer of 1787 takes us into the sweltering room in which the founding fathers struggled for four months to produce the Constitution: the flawed but enduring document that would define the nation—then and now.

George Washington presided, James Madison kept the notes, Benjamin Franklin offered wisdom and humor at crucial times. The Summer of 1787 traces the struggles within the Philadelphia Convention as the delegates hammered out the charter for the world’s first constitutional democracy. Relying on the words of the delegates themselves to explore the Convention’s sharp conflicts and hard bargaining, David O. Stewart lays out the passions and contradictions of the, often, painful process of writing the Constitution.

It was a desperate balancing act. Revolutionary principles required that the people have power, but could the people be trusted? Would a stronger central government leave room for the states? Would the small states accept a Congress in which seats were allotted according to population rather than to each sovereign state? And what of slavery? The supercharged debates over America’s original sin led to the most creative and most disappointing political deals of the Convention.

The room was crowded with colorful and passionate characters, some known—Alexander Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, Edmund Randolph—and others largely forgotten. At different points during that sultry summer, more than half of the delegates threatened to walk out, and some actually did, but Washington’s quiet leadership and the delegates’ inspired compromises held the Convention together.

In a country continually arguing over the document’s original intent, it is fascinating to watch these powerful characters struggle toward consensus—often reluctantly—to write a flawed but living and breathing document that could evolve with the nation.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - agingcow2345 - LibraryThing

Excellent basic review of the Constitutional Convention including major issues, major personages, procedures and interesting side digressions. Sadly for a popular history, it presumes a fair amount of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ALincolnNut - LibraryThing

James Madison is known to history as the "Father of the Constitution." For all his political influence and genius, which were on display throughout his political career, though, author David Stewart ... Read full review

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Contents

March 1785
1
Winter 1787
11
Spring 1787
17
May 1787
27
May 25June 1
47
May 31June 10 59
75
June 1219
87
June 21July 10
101
July 1726
151
August 6
177
August 829
191
August 31
217
September 817
229
CHAPTER TWENTYONE Making Amends
259
The Elector System
265
Notes
285

July 1117
119
July 914
127
July 13
137

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About the author (2008)

David O. Stewart is an award-winning author and the president of the Washington Independent Review of Books. He is the author of several acclaimed histories, including Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America; The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution; Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy; and American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America. Stewart’s first novel is The Lincoln Deception.

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