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Extended Audio Sample Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787–1788, by Pauline Maier Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (172 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pauline Maier Narrator: Johnny Helle Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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When the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia adjourned late in the summer of 1787, the delegates returned to their states to report on the new Constitution, which had to be ratified by specially elected conventions in at least nine states. Pauline Maier recounts the dramatic events of the ensuing debate in homes, taverns, and convention halls, drawing generously on the speeches and letters of founding fathers, both familiar and forgotten, on all sides.

This is the first narrative history in decades of the ratification debate, with all its significance, and it draws on new scholarship about the ratification process. In Maier’s skillful hands, this fascinating yet often overlooked episode in the nation’s history comes to life as never before.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Aaron Haberman | 1/1/2014

    " Maier has produced a thoroughly researched and comprehensive history of the ratification process of the constitution. It shows conclusively that the primary concerns of those opposed to the new constitution centered around the powers given to the centralized Congress and the lack of a bill of rights, and not so much around the position of the executive or the Supreme Court (ironically the two areas of greatest concern today). She also does a nice job of explaining why the various states ultimately did vote in favor of ratification (how in effect the new constitution helped serve individual state interests in a number of cases, rather than simply threatening their autonomy). This is a hefty book, perhaps too hefty. I'm not convinced that Maier needed as much microscopic detail of some of the ratification debates, particularly of Virginia and New York. I would have preferred more direct analysis explaining how the details she did present supported her larger argument that the ratification conventions of the different states were part of a single larger process, and that the whole was greater than the sum of those parts. Still, the book is very readable, and for anyone interested in founding debates over the government this book is a must because Maier uncovers every major argument offered for and against the new constitution. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Chris | 10/9/2013

    " Learned a lot, but not always a page turner. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Dave | 3/29/2013

    " We too often think of the constitution as a document written by great men and admired by all. Some were great, some less so and the document was fiercely debated. It almost didn't get ratified and this book tells the story of that remarkable effort. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tobi | 3/18/2013

    " Everything you ever wanted to know about the debates over the ratification of the Constitution. Lots of detail so I read it a chapter or so at a time. A very interesting read for any history buff. "

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About the Author

Pauline Maier is the William R. Kenan, Jr. professor of American history at MIT. She is the author of several books and textbooks on American history, including From Resistance to Revolution, The Old Revolutionaries, and American Scripture, which was on the New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice list of the best 11 books of 1997 and a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award. Maier received her PhD from Harvard University in 1968, and she currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.