All Politics Is Local: Family, Friends, and Provincial Interests in the Creation of the Constitution / Edition 1

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Overview

Since the late 1780s historians and jurists have questioned what was uppermost in the minds of the framers of the United States Constitution. In surveying the thirteen states’ experiences as colonies and under the Articles of Confederation, one is struck more by their great diversity than by their commonalities. In this groundbreaking historical work, Christopher Collier brings to the fore an interpretation virtually neglected since the mid-nineteenth century: the view from the states, in which the creation and ratification of the new Constitution reflected a unique combination of internal and external needs. All Politics Is Local closely analyzes exactly what Connecticut constituents expected their representatives to achieve in Philadelphia and suggests that other states’ citizens also demanded their own special returns. Collier avoids popular theory in his convincing argument that any serious modern effort to understand the Constitution as conceived by its framers must pay close attention to the state-specific needs and desires of the era.

Challenging all previous interpretations, Collier demonstrates that Connecticut’s forty antifederalist representatives were motivated not by economic, geographic, intellectual, or ideological factors, but by family and militia connections, local politics, and other considerations that had nothing at all to do with the Constitution. He finds no overarching truth, no common ideological thread binding the antifederalists together, which leads him to call for the same state-centered micro-study for the other twelve founding states. To do less leaves historical and contemporary interpretations of the U.S. Constitution not simply blurred around the edges but incomplete at the core as well.

Collier delights and surprises readers in proving—with his trademark impeccable historical scholarship, firm grasp of known sources, and ample new material—that in the case of Connecticut, a stalwart defender of the provincial prerogative, all politics is and was, to one degree or another, local.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"All Politics is Local presents an intriguing discussion of the writing and ratification of the Constitution from the perspective of Connecticut. It is well researched and contains a convincing argument."—The Journal of American History

“Collier's book invites constitutional historians to look more closely at those other states, to unravel the finely woven webs in which local politicians were entangled.—William and Mary Quarterly

“Historians… should heed Collier's substantive claims and his methodology.” —The New England Quarterly

"...Collier makes a compelling case . . . such valuable insights..." —American Journal of Legal History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584652908
  • Publisher: University Press of New England
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

CHRISTOPHER COLLIER is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, Connecticut State Historian, and the Pulitzer Prize–nominated author of Roger Sherman's Connecticut. His other publications, with James Lincoln Collier, include Decision in Philadelphia and the now classic young adult historical novels My Brother Sam is Dead and Jump Ship to Freedom.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Geography, Politics, and Society
Natioal Objectives, Local Concerns at the Constitutional Convention: Part 1. Protecting State Governments
National Objectives, Local concerns at the Constitutional Convention: Part 2. Protecting the Local Economy
Ratification in Connecticutt
Constitutional Crosswinds
Those Who Voted No
Conclusions
Appendixes - Town Locator - New England Turnpike Routes and Mill Villages - Some Additional Location Contexts - Occupations of Convention Delegates - "The Looking Glass for 1787"
Notes
Sources Cited
Index
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