Triumvirate: The Story of the Unlikely Alliance that Saved the Constitution and United the Nation

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Overview

When the smoke cleared from Revolutionary War battlefields, independent-minded Americans turned against each other. One thousand men refused to pay taxes and seized an arsenal in Massachusetts. Faced with a sagging economy, a weak central government, and citizens still reeling from British rule, three bold young men could shape a great nation out of the anarchy—but first they'd have to learn to work together.

Strong individuals with wildly different personalities, Alexander ...

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Overview

When the smoke cleared from Revolutionary War battlefields, independent-minded Americans turned against each other. One thousand men refused to pay taxes and seized an arsenal in Massachusetts. Faced with a sagging economy, a weak central government, and citizens still reeling from British rule, three bold young men could shape a great nation out of the anarchy—but first they'd have to learn to work together.

Strong individuals with wildly different personalities, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay joined forces to convince wary Americans and thirteen headstrong states to unite as one. Together they wrote the startlingly original Federalisit Papers not as an exercise in governmental philosophy, but instead aimed at overcoming the common man's fears. Their relentless efforts laid the groundwork for ratifying the Constitution against rampant opposition. United by an intense love for their emerging nation, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay forged its legacy in pen and ink.

From noted historian Bruce Chadwick—acclaimed as "a writer incapable of dull storytelling"—Triumvirate is the dramatic story of the uniting of a nation and the unlikely alliance at the heart of it all.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

After the "Miracle at Philadelphia"-to borrow Catherine Drinker Bowen's phrase for the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, there began the angry fight over ratification. Nine of the 13 states had to vote in favor of the Constitution in order for it to become effective. Absolutely indispensable were New York and Virginia, the most populous and richest states. Chadwick (The First American Army) focuses on the efforts of John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton. Their series of essays, known today as "The Federalist Papers," were quickly written and disseminated throughout the country to persuade the state conventions to ratify the new charter. New Yorkers Jay and Hamilton and Madison, a Virginian, were leaders in their state conventions and fought hard for the Constitution. Chadwick uses primary and secondary sources well and has a very readable style. Politics has always been a rough-and-tumble business, which Chadwick captures by recounting the parries and thrusts of anonymous writers in the newspapers and the venomous speeches in the conventions. This fine narrative is best for those new to the topic; recommended for public libraries.
—Michael O. Eshleman

Kirkus Reviews
Well-told account of the debate that shaped the American system of government..Chadwick (History/Rutgers Univ.; I Am Murdered: George Wythe, Thomas Jefferson, and the Killing That Shocked a New Nation, 2009, etc.) shows how three brilliant, very different men—Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay—worked to overcome opposition to the U.S. Constitution. In 1787 and '88, the triumvirate wrote a series of 85 essays known as the Federalist Papers, most published in newspapers under the pseudonym "Publius," advocating ratification of the Constitution, which had been drafted during a convention in Philadelphia in 1787. The Constitution aimed to improve the ineffective system of government defined by the Articles of Confederation. Under that system, there was no president, no supreme court and only one house of congress, which could not levy taxes or pass any laws without unanimous approval from all the states. Such radical decentralization simply didn't work, and many, including Hamilton, Madison and Jay, believed a constitutional republic would solve a host of problems. Many others, however, initially opposed the new constitution, fearing it would transfer too much power from the states to the federal government and restrict individual liberties. As Chadwick points out, the road to ratification was anything but smooth. The author effectively details the fierce debates in Massachusetts, Virginia and New York, and the serpentine political machinations that helped bring about the birth of a nation. Along the way, he paints sharp portraits of the three men who perhaps fought hardest—Madison confided to a friend that the arguments at the Virginia convention "almost killed him"—for thesystem of government we know today..Not just a history lesson, but an examination of the fundamental ideas that gave birth to the United States.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781435136106
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 4/25/2012
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Chadwick is a former journalist and author of seven works of history including 1858, The First American Army, George Washington's War, and The General and Mrs. Washington. He lectures in American history at Rutgers University and also teaches writing at New Jersey City University.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2013

    Triumvirate tells the story of the three men who were most respo

    Triumvirate tells the story of the three men who were most responsible for the writing, adoption and ratification of the Constitution of the United States. Triumvirate introduces both the backgrounds and personalities of the many people who supported and opposed ratification by the states of a radically new form of government, strong enough to defend against enemies while promoting commerce and allowing the states to thrive as part of the United States. Readers meet studious Madison, the framer of the Constitution; fiery Hamilton, often called the most brilliant man of his time, who would die in a duel with Aaron Burr; and John Jay, legislator, future New York governor and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. They would be supported by founding fathers George Washington, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and be opposed by Patrick Henry ("Give me liberty or give me death"); Richard Henry Lee, president of the Continental congress; and George Clinton, then governor of New York. Triumvirate is a must read for anyone wanting to know more about the creation of our Constitution and the many provisions that guarantee liberty, balance the representation and rights of individual states and fostered our growth into the great country we are today. If you do read Triumvirate, you will be richly rewarded, too. Jnortonpa

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