THE BIRTH OF THE CONSTITUTION: An Informal History by Donald Barr Chidsey

THE BIRTH OF THE CONSTITUTION: An Informal History

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KIRKUS REVIEW

(YA) The author of July 4, 1776, has returned to that era to describe the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. Mr. Chidsey's selection of essential detail is expert and his informal, storytelling approach brings clarity to the maze of Constitutional issues. In the author's hands, the delegates do not become omniscient Olympian figures. That's for text books. The delegates emerge here as dedicated patriots who are also adroit politicians and not in the least above ulterior motive and sectional interest. The book offers insight into the eternal states' rights question for this is where it began -- large states vs. small states, urbanites feared by rural interests. The author guides the reader through the oratory and the rewriting that were finally codified into the Constitution. Hamilton's persuasive debating and opportunistic compromises make him emerge as an attractive figure. Madison, Jefferson, Franklin and the lesser lights rise to speak on these pages -- occasionally to squabble -- and the voting seems as tense as it must have been. Schools and libraries should be particularly interested.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1964
Publisher: Crown