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The Business Of May Next / Edition 1
     

The Business Of May Next / Edition 1

4.0 1
by William L. Miller
 

ISBN-10: 0813914906

ISBN-13: 9780813914909

Pub. Date: 11/01/1993

Publisher: University of Virginia

"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 178 and 1791, when

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 178 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813914909
Publisher:
University of Virginia
Publication date:
11/01/1993
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
312
Sales rank:
711,773
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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The Business Of May Next 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In The Business of May Next: James Madison and the Founding, William Lee Miller delivers to a broad-based readership a better understanding of the methods used during the establishment of the United States government, as well as the moral and intellectual foundations on which that government was based. To that dual purpose, Miller's mostly chronological narrative details the activities surrounding the Constitutional Convention, the various ratifying committees, and the subsequent Bill of Rights. Miller's presentation, as the sub-title suggests, is largely based on James Madison and two primary source collections of Madison's work, The Papers of James Madison and The Writings of James Madison. Such an unusually heavy reliance on one individual's coverage of events merits credibility, as Miller correctly points out, only because Madison has been recognized by scholars from his day to this as one of the most influential contributors to those events. Since the book is structured chronologically, Miller's three subjects of intellectualism, methods, and morality are spread throughout the book. The subject of intellectualism, although it occupies the least amount of space in the book, is brilliantly presented and provides a great resource for a vast range of scholars, from political theorists to intellectual historians; from philosophers to educators. Chapters 1, 4, and 11 ('Child of the Revolution Reads Some Books, 'The Great Seminar in Print,' and 'The Cloudy Medium of Words') deal largely with intellectualism. In these chapters, Miller identifies many of the political authors and theorists that the founders, especially Madison, examined. Plato, More, Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Harrington, and Hume - most substantially Hume - are some of the names that often appear. Madison, in a style quite uncommon for revolutionaries of any era, studied these works not only to identify their successes, but even more so to analyze their flaws. Unlike many of his contemporaries, and perhaps all of his predecessors, Madison believed that a republican government could succeed in a continent-size territory. He believed that a less than consistently virtuous society could carry on democratic politics for the greater public good. He believed that political factions and social pluralism were not only acceptable but necessary to keep oppression and tyranny at bay. And with all his conviction, he believed that 'two governments?simultaneously acting upon the same individual'(20), where the republic of federations (states) was subservient to the central (federal) authority, was the only arrangement that would survive the centuries. By detailing the foundations of those beliefs, Miller presents a very stimulating synthesis of the intellectual contemplations of James Madison, and of the intellectual foundation of the United States' system of government. In a book of this subject matter, a discussion of the processes and methods by which the Constitution was developed, written, ratified, and amended, is certainly appropriate. However, Miller's presentation of this material is considerably less engaging than the other subjects, and at times gets painfully lengthy. Within chapters 5, 6, and 7 ('The Business of May Next,' 'The Inadvertent Origins of the American Presidency,' and 'Supreme Law; Unfinished Parts,' one can find the development of the two houses, the executive, and the judiciary branch. But the primary focus of these chapters is so much at the nitty-gritty level of the various conventions and speeches that the book completely looses its balance. Chapter 3, 'Beginning the World Anew, to a Certain Extent,' provides some interesting musings about the many masters who contributed to the Constitution, but it is an insignificant shadow to Chapter 10, 'Many Hands.' The later chapter is specific to participants and their contributions, and at the same time reflective of the very nature of a collaboration of many hands molding this grea