Monday, May 07, 2012

Critical Forum: Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787–1788

I recently discovered The William and Mary Quarterly, a historical journal published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. The current edition has a critical forum on Pauline Maier's Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788, a book I enjoyed quite a bit. This comment came from Maeva Marcus in "A Note of Appreciation for Documentary Editing" (page 401):
After reading the comments of my fellow Forum participants, I came away thinking that perhaps I had read a different book from the one read by Professors Seth Cotlar and Todd Estes. In Ratification, Pauline Maier presents an astonishingly full picture of the struggle over the Constitution, a picture that includes "the people," as Maier eloquently explains in her reply to us. Her book includes extensive information on diparate views in various classes of society, as well as sections of the country. This is not to say that another historian could not undertake to investigate any of these views in greater detail. But Maier chose not to write that book. Ratification, intended for a wider audience than professional historians alone, does a spectacular job of melding a vast amount of knowledge into a cohesive and eminently readable narrative.

To which I fully agree.

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