“The one invaluable source for the Federal Convention is, of course, James Madison’s Notes of Debates…. essential for all libraries.”
Harvard Law Review
“An important book…. Certainly this volume should be added to the collection of every library.”
“In our day when the constitution is often interpreted out of context, or even in an alien context, all who truly revere the Constitution should be conversant with Madison’s Notes, in which are set forth the purposes of the Founding Fathers.”
Journal of Southern History
James Madison’s record of the Constitutional Convention traces day by day the debates held from May to September, 1787, and presents the only complete picture we have of the strategy, interests, and ideas of the founding fathers at the Convention itself.
In this indispensable primary document, Madison not only provides detailed insights into one of the great events of our history, but clearly sets forth his own position on such issues as the balance of powers, the separation of functions, and the general role of the federal government. More than in the Federalist, which shows the carefully formalized conclusions of his political thought, we see in the Debates his philosophy in action, evolving in daily tension with the viewpoints of the other delegates. It is for this reason that the Debates are invaluable for placing in perspective the incomplete records of such well-known figures as Rufus King and Alexander Hamilton, and the constitutional plans of such men as Edmund Randolph and Charles Pinckney.
Madison’s contemporaries regarded him as the chief statesmen at the Philadelphia Convention; in addition to this, his record outranks in importance all the other writings of the founders of the American Republic. He is thus identified, as not other man is, with the making of the Constitution and the correct interpretation of the intentions of its drafters.
New to this edition of the Debates us a thorough, scholarly index of some two thousand entries.
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On March 4, 1789, New York City's church bells pealed, cannons fired, and flags snapped in the wind to celebrate the date set for the opening of the First Federal Congress. In many ways the establishment of Congress marked the culmination of the American Revolution as the ship of state was launched from the foundation of the legislative system outlined in Article I of the Constitution.
Scholars today take for granted the existence of a “wall of separation” dividing the three branches of the federal government. Neither Separate nor Equal: Congress in the 1790s demonstrates that such lines of separation among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, however, were neither so clearly delineated nor observed in the first decade of the federal government's history.
With renewed interest in pragmatism and its implications for democracy in an age of mass communication, bureaucracy, and ever-increasing social complexities, Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems, first published in 1927, remains vital to any discussion of today’s political issues.