The idea behind this book always was straightforward to me. No book is devoted exclusively to explaining the collective reasoning of the U.S. Constitution’s framers during the deliberations they conducted under the veil of secrecy during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. Yet these frank sessions are well documented. I was determined to help people understand the logic of the Constitution as the framers themselves constructed it. But doing so required more time—and much more help—than I imagined.
Sarah Hoff carefully slogged through an early, very long version of this manuscript, and she provided countless valuable comments as she did so. Three anonymous reviewers also read the long version and helped me see the many weaknesses of this initial approach. R. B. Bernstein read a nearly final draft of the manuscript, and he went above and beyond with exceptionally extensive, thoughtful, and constructive comments. David Siemers, an extraordinary reviewer, provided many sobering points about the same version, challenged me to improve it, and then provided another far-reaching set of comments when I did. Sidney Milkis meticulously worked through the manuscript and reminded me to keep focused on what the framers wanted and what they achieved. I deeply appreciate his wise and wonderful comments. Ilkka Janhunen also provided comments on the nearly final draft. I took each one very seriously, and each one helped me make the final book stronger. David McBride, my editor at Oxford, did a wonderful, patient job nurturing this book along and making sure that I had all the help I could get from reviewers. David knows that I needed it all, and I am deeply indebted to him. I also am indebted to those who put in so much effort to develop and produce this book for Oxford, including Caelyn Cobb, Natalie Johnson, Michele Bowman, Venkat Raghavan Srinivasa Raghavan, Cherie Hackelberg, and Woody Gilmartin.
I dedicate this book to the many friends in the Politics and History section of the American Political Science Association, too many to mention except for a