The Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Practical Virtue in Actionby John R. Vile
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The Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Practical Virtue in Action examines the events surrounding the development of the U.S. Constitution. Setting these events within the context of the colonial conflict with Britain and the experience with state constitutions under the Articles of Confederation, John R. Vile discusses the delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the major plans and proposals that delegates offered, and the arguments that delegates made both in the Convention and in subsequent state ratifying debates that ultimately led to the adoption of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Vile contends that the Convention and subsequent ratifying conventions were not mere exercises in political theory but practical attempts to formulate a workable government that all the states would ratify. Focusing chiefly on records of debates at the Convention, the book is a legal brief, identifying key facts, issues, arguments, and compromises, and providing a unique window into the contestation surrounding this keystone American political moment. This book is perfect for scholars and students in the field of American political history and development.
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.
- Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
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- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
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- 706 KB
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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