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Children's LiteratureIn May of 1787, twelve of the original thirteen states sent representatives to Philadelphia to redraft the national government's basic operating principles. Up until that point, the newly-independent United States had been governed according to the Articles of Confederation. Unfortunately, that governmental approach had proven too disjointed to satisfy the commercial, political, and social needs as perceived by the leaders of the states. Only Rhode Island refused to send representatives to the Constitutional Convention. Apparently Rhode Islanders feared being "swallowed up" by the bigger states whose power in a more centralized government might overwhelm the smaller states. At the start of the convention Gunning Bedford, Jr. of Delaware rose to speak. Once recognized, Bedford said, in reference to his convention colleagues, "I do not, gentlemen, trust you! If you possess the power, the abuse of it could not be checked." And thus began the contorted process of scripting what was to become the United States Constitution. In this illustrated book readers are provided concise biographies of the thirty-nine men who took part in the sometimes tempestuous process that resulted in the framing of the American Constitution. Each biography is accompanied by pen and ink illustrations that augment the text. While this is a very specialized book that may have a limited audience, it is both well researched and ably written. 2005, Walker & Company, Ages 10 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck