Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution

The prizewinning author of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation and American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson now gives us the unexpected story--brilliantly told--of why the thirteen colonies, having just fought off the imposition of a distant centralized governing power, would decide to subordinate themselves anew.

The triumph of the American Revolution was neither an ideological nor political guarantee that the colonies would relinquish their independence and accept the creation of a federal government with power over their individual autonomy. The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 is the story of this second American founding and of the men responsible--some familiar, such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, and some less so, such as Robert Morris and Governeur Morris. It was these men who shaped the contours of American history by diagnosing the systemic dysfunctions created by the Articles of Confederation, manipulating the political process to force a calling of the Constitutional Convention, conspiring to set the agenda in Philadelphia, orchestrating the debate in the state ratifying conventions, and, finally, drafting the Bill of Rights to assure state compliance with the constitutional settlement.

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