Creating the Constitution: The Convention of 1787 and the First Congress

By Thornton Anderson | Go to book overview

1
Introduction

Like the theses of Nietzsche and Tolstoi that the perversion of Christianity began with the Apostle Paul, the thesis here expounded suggests that the misinterpretation--even the deliberate distortion--of the American Constitution began with its earliest and strongest defenders.

We of the 1990s have the advantage of two centuries of thinking and writing in our attempts to understand the Convention of 1787. Yet we can not say with confidence that it is now understood. On a topic so thoroughly explored, on which little new evidence has come to light,1 an author may feel apologetic in adding yet another study to the list, and the reader is entitled to wonder what another book can contribute.

After a lengthy and penetrating analysis of six recent books on the

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1
A fine survey of recent articles and books is Peter S. Onuf, "Reflections on the Founding: Constitutional Historiography in Bicentennial Perspective," William and Mary Quarterly 46 ( April 1989): 341-75. The evidence accumulated since Max Farrand Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 ( New Haven, 1911) is conveniently edited by James H. Hutson as a Supplement to Farrand ( New Haven, 1987). The Records will be cited hereafter in parentheses in the text, by volume and page.

-1-

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Creating the Constitution: The Convention of 1787 and the First Congress
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents vii
  • Convention Chronology ix
  • The Delegates xi
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Ideas from England 17
  • 3 - Political Motivations 43
  • 4 - Economic Motivations 85
  • 5 - An Anti-Demoscratic Convention? 117
  • 6 - The Convention Congress 173
  • Appendixes 207
  • Works Cited 239
  • Index 251
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