A More Perfect Union: The American Constitutional System
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS AND STATECRAFT held a special fascination for Roosevelt. Naturally, his main interest was in the American system, and his commentary upon it is the fruit of long service and reflection. Few men of the twentieth century have had the opportunity which was his: to observe, from the grass roots to the heights of power, the spectacle of American government and politics.
On the river side of Poughkeepsie's Market Street, at the corner of Main, stands the brick County Court House of Dutchess. The building today attracts no more than ordinary notice, but a bronze plaque, fastened to the outer wall, calls softly to history. For on this site, in a long-departed courthouse, delegates to the New York State Convention gathered to deliberate upon the Constitution. The Federalists, led by Hamilton, argued there, in the hot summer of 1788, against Clinton and the Anti-Federalists. At long last (with "full faith and confidence" that a Bill of Rights would be adopted), the Convention voted to ratify. Thus, the participation of New York, vital to success of the federal venture, was assured. It was ever a source of pride to Roosevelt that his great-great-grandfather, Isaac, sat in that ancient courthouse and cast his vote with Hamilton.