Skip to content

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist

The Constitution and America's Destiny

$30.99 (P)

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

$ 30.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • 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
    Read more

    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

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521607780
    • length: 304 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 155 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • 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.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.