The Business of May Next: James Madison and the Founding

Overview

"Good fortune offered this nation an unusual chance at ideal nation-forming and... some honorable leaders seized that chance," writes William Lee Miller in The Business of May Next, and none among the founders made more of the opportunity than did James Madison, subject of this engaging work. Madison is depicted during the critical years between 1784 and 1791, when he was so active in articulating the governmental aims of the fledgling nation that he sometimes found himself in official dialogue with himself. More than simply a historical and
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Overview

"Good fortune offered this nation an unusual chance at ideal nation-forming and... some honorable leaders seized that chance," writes William Lee Miller in The Business of May Next, and none among the founders made more of the opportunity than did James Madison, subject of this engaging work. Madison is depicted during the critical years between 1784 and 1791, when he was so active in articulating the governmental aims of the fledgling nation that he sometimes found himself in official dialogue with himself. More than simply a historical and biographical account, the book traces Madison's political and theoretical development as a means of illuminating its larger theme, the moral and intellectual underpinnings of the American nation. With a sound grasp of his material and a refreshing style Miller reveals how Madison's research into republics and his influence on the writing of the Constitution are central to the values for which the nation stands. From an examination of Madison's notes, Miller traces Madison's early research into other republics and their weaknesses. He reveals how Madison's thinking shaped the Virginia Plan, which, in turn, shaped the United States Constitution and the nation's institutions. The author writes that Madison sought the strands of Republicanism in history and gave republican ideals new and lasting institutional expression. He shows how the making of republican institutions became a collaboration, and how the newly created institutions contained within themselves provision for their own continuing alteration and for the involvement and influence of collective humanity down through the years. Miller follows Madison through the Constitutional Convention ("the business of May next") to the great national argument on behalf of the Constitution, notably through the Federalist papers. Of particular interest are his discussions of the constitutional deliberations over religious freedom and the institution of slavery.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Scully (management, U. of Texas) identifies the economic pressures exerted on the game today and measures their effects both on the field and in the ticket office. A glance at the chapter titles-- Certain Extent Selfishness? he leads the reader through the details of Madison's biography to his larger theme: the moral and intellectual underpinnings of the American nation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813913681
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1992
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Table of Contents

A Word to the Reader
Introduction Big House in Orange County 1
1 A Child of the Revolution Reads Some Books 7
2 "The People" Can Act Unjustly 22
3 Beginning the World Anew, to a Certain Extent 34
4 The Great Seminar in Print; or Founding Scribblers 43
5 The Business of May Next 61
6 The Inadvertent Origins of the American Presidency 78
7 Supreme Law; Unfinished Parts 93
8 Sundays Excepted 105
9 Other Persons 117
10 Many Hands 142
11 The Cloudy Medium of Words 153
12 The Peculiar Federalist Paper 171
13 Traveling toward the Constitution; or Never Turn the Hands Backward 185
14 Rocking Cradles in Virginia 194
15 Was the United States Founded on Selfishness? 217
16 No Just Government Should Refuse 235
17 As Sincerely Devoted to Liberty 244
18 Bulwarks and Palladiums 260
Acknowledgments 277
Notes 281
Sources 289
Index 293
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