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The Constitution and America's Destiny

$31.99

  • Date Published: August 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521607780

$31.99
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  • David Brian Robertson explains how the U.S. Constitution emerged from an intense battle between a bold vision for the nation's political future and the tenacious defense of its political present. Given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to alter America's destiny, James Madison laid before the Constitutional Convention a plan for a strong centralized government that could battle for America's long-term interests. But delegates from vulnerable states resisted this plan, seeking instead to maintain state control over most of American life while adding a few more specific powers to the existing government.

    • Emphasizes that the Constitution was the byproduct of compromises between conflicting visions of American development
    • Provides both a very readable and an analytical narrative of the Constitutional Convention
    • The first book to analyze the American Constitutional Convention as a fundamentally political process driven by political interests
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Madison was the American Moses, creating a People by handing down Commandments. But Madison was a patriarch with many rivals and, although he had a vision, he could not inscribe on stone exactly what he thought would govern his imperfect people. As David Robertson deftly shows, Madison's vision nonetheless guided him through the thicket of deliberations upon what became the American Constitution. Contrasting this vision with what others would call preferences, Robertson persuasively contends that Madison strongly influenced the Constitutional Convention precisely because he could see beyond the details and nuances of the moment." Richard Bensel, Cornell University

    "Robertson adroitly guides us through the politics that shaped the Constitution, then shows us how the Constitution shaped-and-shapes-America. The result is the finest institutional analysis of America's first institution. Meticulous. Elegant. Fascinating. Brilliant." James Morone, author of Hellfire Nation: the Politics of Sin in American History and The Democratic Wish

    "In this extraordinarily useful book, David Brian Robertson shows us no less than how the U.S. Constitution was made. It does no disservice to the American Founders to insist, as Robertson does here, that they were, perhaps above all, politicians. By situating this diverse group of political geniuses within the complex web of policy problems, political agendas, and clashing interests at a decisive political moment, Robertson provides a compelling account of how strategies shifted, compromises were reached, and constitutional agreements were forged. As an added bonus, he then explains how those agreements shaped a politics that remains distinctive to the present day. The Constitution and America's Destiny is an accessible and important study in how constitutions come to be, and how, in turn, they live." Ken I. Kersch, Princeton University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521607780
    • length: 304 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus. 5 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Politics and the constitution
    2. The policy crisis of the 1780s
    3. James Madison's strategy for the constitutional convention
    4. The political landscape of the constitutional convention
    5. Who governs? Constituting policy agency
    6. What can be governed? Constituting policy authority
    7. How is the nation governed? Constituting the policy process
    8. Our inheritance: the constitution and American politics.

  • Author

    David Brian Robertson, University of Missouri, St Louis
    David Brian Robertson is Professor of Political Science and Fellow in the Public Policy Research Center at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He is the author of Capital, Labor, and State: The Battle for American Labor Markets from the Civil War to the New Deal, The Development of American Public Policy: The Structure of Policy Restraint (with Dennis R. Judd), numerous journal articles, and editor of Loss of Confidence: Politics and Policy in the 1970s. He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Policy History and he edits CLIO, the newsletter of the Politics and History section of the American Political Science Association. Professor Robertson has received the Governor's, Chancellor's, and Emerson Electric Awards for Teaching Excellence. He is the political analyst for KSDK Television (NBC in St. Louis) and is a frequently quoted political observer.

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