The Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Practical Virtue in Action

The Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Practical Virtue in Action

by John R. Vile
     
 

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The writing of the Constitution at the Constitutional Convention that met in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 was, along with the subsequent ratification of the document in state conventions, a major watershed in U.S. history. An understanding of the plans that were offered, the conflicts that were represented, and the arguments that were made are critical to an

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Overview

The writing of the Constitution at the Constitutional Convention that met in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 was, along with the subsequent ratification of the document in state conventions, a major watershed in U.S. history. An understanding of the plans that were offered, the conflicts that were represented, and the arguments that were made are critical to an understanding of many features of the document that was ratified in 1789 as well as in understanding the Bill of Rights that was adopted in 1791. In The Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Practical Virtue in Action, John R. Vile focuses on records of debates at the Convention, and provides a unique window into the contestation surrounding this keystone American political moment.

Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Works on the 1787 Constitutional Convention are thick on the ground and include scholarly treatments....Vile's monograph raises the question, why another account' Vile (Middle Tennessee State Univ.) hopes to provide an account that will not only enlighten contemporary audiences as to what happened and why, but just as importantly, ask readers to pay attention to the way most delegates approached the task of addressing fundamental political issues. That way involved meeting arguments with argument, a willingness to compromise, and a belief that "unattainable perfection was the enemy of an attainable good"—thus the subtitle, Practical Virtue in Action. Given the intransigence of contemporary politicians, a more timely justification would be hard to find. A clearly written, well-organized distillation of Vile's extensive research on the US Constitution. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and undergraduate students.
Brannon P. Denning
The Framing of our Constitution is a story that every American ought to know by heart and John Vile’s The Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution tellsthat wonderful story very well.His emphasis on the‘practical virtue’ of the Framers is a welcomeone at a time in our own politicalhistory when principle is regarded as the antithesis of compromise.
David Schultz
What the United States Constitution means is a matter of legal and increasingly contentious political dispute. Often invoked in these debates are what the framers of the document intended. The Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Practical Virtue in Action offers an excellent summary of the context for the drafting of the Constitution as well as critical examination of the drafting of the document at the Philadelphia Convention. Written by one of the leading contemporary constitutional scholars, John R. Vile demonstrates how the Framers combined scholarship and experience to produce America’s Constitution. For students, faculty, and others who want to grasp what the Constitution meant to the framers, this book is an excellent first stop and essential read.
Seth Barrett Tillman
Sober, measured, scholarly, carefully chosen language – there are the hallmarks of Professor Vile’s publications on the framing of the United States Constitution. Vile’s newest contribution, Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution, draws from the primary documents from this period, but the author is equally at home with the wisdom of academia (political science, history, and law) and with judicial decisions expounding on the Constitution. This book is a good fit for any library reference collection and for any student starting a module or course of study in American civilization or government. Highly recommended.
Kenneth L. Penegar
Writing and Ratification of the United States Constitution: Practical Virtue in Action by John R. Vile is a wise and practical book of scholarship. A pleasure to read, the book provides a concise compendium of the issues and the personalities of those at the center of the central enterprise of the American experiment in self-government.

Lawyers will recognize Vile’s work as an accessible and well-crafted ‘legislative history’ of the very foundational law of the republic, which in 1787 could scarcely be imagined. Students of history and politics will find the vivid details of intense controversies that confronted the states, its leaders and their citizens alike under the makeshift arrangement of the Articles of Confederation.

What readers will not find in this important book is one grand theory or a dominant philosophy manifest in the deliberations that yielded the core Constitution. Rather, the careful tracing of the proceedings in Philadelphia beautifully confirms that there was compromise and statesmanship at every turn. The principal consideration by the delegates as a whole was to yield a more perfect union than the one they had. They could not know for certain that they had achieved that goal, but they dared to try.

John Vile’s book provides an understated but eloquent vindication of the pragmatism the Founders brought to their work and challenges our current generation of leaders to find such common ground once more.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442217683
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
07/13/2012
Pages:
292
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

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Meet the Author

John R. Vile is professor of political science and dean of the University Honors College at Middle Tennessee State University at Murfreesboro. He is the author and coeditor of numerous books, including Encyclopedia of the First Amendment as well as Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789-1995; The Constitutional Convention of 1787; Great American Lawyers; Great American Judges, and Essential Supreme Court Decisions among others.

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