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What Did the Constitution Mean to Early Americans? / Edition 1

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Overview

What did the Constitution mean to early Americans? Ostensibly the foundational document of a sovereign American people, the U.S. Constitution affected different kinds of Americans in very different ways. Modern historians have investigated its impact on various groups in an effort to determine what the Constitution meant to the founding generation of Americans. Exploring how early Americans shaped, responded to, and debated the document, this volume's 5 selections attempt to gauge the Constitution's ultimate success in forging a government based on the consent of the American people.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Reprints five recent essays exploring what the political issues were in 1787, whether the Framers were counter-revolutionaries, what the Federalists achieved, whether the Constitution created a republic of white men, and whether we can know the original intent of the Framers. In addition to providing information and insights on a particular subject, the anthology demonstrates to student historians the kinds of approaches and methods the profession calls for. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312182625
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 3/1/1999
  • Series: Historians at Work Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 169
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

EDWARD COUNTRYMAN is University Distinguished Professor in the Clements Department of History at Southern Methodist University. He has also taught at the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge; the University of Canterbury; and Yale University. He has published widely on the American Revolution, winning a Bancroft Prize for his book A People in Revolution (1981). Together with Evonne von Heussen-Countryman, he has also published Shane in the British Film Institute Film Classics series.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
A Note for Students

PART I. THE DOCUMENT
The Constitution of the United States

PART II. INTRODUCTION

The Creation of the United States
From Revolution to Ratification
Historians and the Constitution

PART III. SOME CURRENT QUESTIONS

1. What were the issues in 1787?
Isaac Kramnick, The "Great National Discussion": The Discourse of Politics in 1787

2. Were the framers counterrevolutionaries?
Stephen E. Patterson, The Federalist Reaction to Shays's Rebellion

3. What did the Federalists achieve?
Gordon S. Wood, The American Science of Politics, From The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787

4. Did the Constitution create a republic of white men?
Jan Lewis, "Of Every Age Sex & Condition": The Representation of Women in the Constitution

5. Can we know the original intent of the Framers?
Jack N. Rakove, The Perils of Originalism, From Original Means: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution

Making Connections
Suggestions for Further Reading

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