Should the members of the government be elected by direct vote of the people?
Should the government be headed by a single executive, and how powerful should that executive be? Should immigrants be allowed into the United States?
How should judges be appointed?
What human rights should be safe from government infringement?
In 1787, these important questions and others were raised by such statesmen as Patrick Henry and John DeWitt as the states debated the merits of the proposed Constitution. Along with The Federalist Papers, this invaluable book documents the political context in which the Constitution was born.
This volume includes the complete texts of the Anti-Federalist Papers and Constitutional Convention debates, commentaries, and an Index of Ideas. It also lists cross-references to its companion volume, The Federalist Papers, available in a Signet Classic edition.
Edited and with an Introduction by Ralph Ketchum
As the celebrated historian Ralph Ketcham shows, this would turn out to be only partly true. Although the Madisons were no longer in Washington, Dolley continued to take part in its social scene from afar, dominating it just as she had during Jefferson’s and her husband’s administrations, commenting on people and events there and advising the multitude of young people who thought of her as the creator of society life in the young republic. James maintained a steady correspondence about public questions ranging from Native American affairs, slavery, and utopian reform to religion and education. He also took an active role at the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829-30, in the defeat of nullification, and in the establishment of the University of Virginia, of which he was the rector for eight years after Jefferson’s death. Exploring Madison’s role in these post-presidential issues reveals a man of extraordinary intellectual vitality and helps us to better understand Madison’s political thought. His friendships with figures such as Jefferson, James Monroe, and the Marquis de Lafayette--as well as his assessment of them (he outlived them all)--shed valuable light on the nature of the republic they had all helped found.
In their last years, James and Dolley Madison personified the republican institutions and culture of the new nation--James as the father of the Constitution and its chief propounder for nearly half a century, and Dolley as the creator of the role of "First Lady." Anything but uneventful, the retirement period at Montpelier should be seen as a crucial element in our understanding of this remarkable couple.
This book is a comprehensive and pathbreaking study of the early presidency and the ideals behind it. Ralph Ketcham examines the roots of nonpartisan leadership in Western thought and the particular influences on the founding fathers. Intellectual and political profiles of the first six presidents and their administrations emphasize the construction each put on the office, the challenges he faced, and the compromises he did and did not make. The erosion of nonpartisanship under Andrew Jackson is presented as a counterpoint that helps define the early presidency and the permanent transition from it.
Addressing the thoughtful citizen as well as the scholar, the author poses the fundamental questions about presidential leadership, then and now. The best study of the early presidency, this book is an intellectual portrait of the age that will challenge received notions of American history.