Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788

SAT, OCT 23, 2010 (44:28)

MIT History Professor Pauline Maier discusses her book, Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788, which tells the dramatic story of the two-year debate over the ratification of the Constitution, filled with chicanery and statesmanship, drawing on the speeches and letters of founding fathers on both sides of the debate–the first new account of this seminal moment in American history in decades. Pauline Maier has devoted over a decade to studying the immense documentation of the ratification of the Constitution. Ratification tells the dramatic story of the yearlong battle to ratify it. When the delegates left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in September 1787, the new Constitution they had written was no more than a proposal. Elected conventions in at least nine of the 13 states would have to ratify it before it could take effect. There was reason to doubt whether that would happen. In both cities and small towns across the country people read the document carefully and debated it passionately.

+ BIO: Pauline Maier

Pauline Maier is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History at MIT. She is a graduate of Radcliffe College and has a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. Her publications include From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776 (1972), The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams (1980), and The American People: A History (1986), American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (1997), and Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 (2010). American Scripture was on the New York Times Book Review editors “Choice” list of the best 11 books of 1997 and a finalist in General Nonfiction for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award.

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