Concord, MassachusettsTwo weeks of talks, readings, and discussions celebrating the written and the spoken word.
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Book: Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788
Pauline Maier is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History at M.I.T. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard in 1968. She is the author of several books and textbooks on American history, including From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776, The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams, and American Scripture, which examines the development of independence, the drafting and editing of the Declaration of Independence, and the document’s transformation during the early nineteenth century form a revolutionary manifesto into a statement of principles for established governments.
In Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788, Maier draws on a vast new collection of documents to tell the dramatic story of the yearlong battle over ratification. When the delegates left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the new Constitution they had written was no more than a proposal. Before it could take effect, elected conventions in at least nine of the thirteen states would have to ratify it. In broadsides and newspapers, in taverns, coffeehouses, and parlors people argued and debated. They read the document and knew it well, and they seized the opportunity to play a role in the shaping of a new nation.