Saturday, February 23, 2008

Summer of 1787

Finished reading it this morning and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Not knowing much about the Convention, this was a real eye opener.  David O. Stewart has some biases, especially in regards to the Electoral College, and he seems to concentrate on the slavery issue almost to the detriment of everything else (though, hell, not like I've read anything else on the Convention) but overall this was a fantastic read.  It gets into enough detail that someone who needs a primer, like me, can walk away getting a great deal out of the book.  And I did!

Getting to know guys like Rutledge and Wilson and Mason and Randolph and Morris and Gerry and Brearly and...well, there was a lot of these guys.  And delving that far back into the history of the nation was absolutely worthwhile.  When they teach you this stuff in junior high they totally get it wrong.  Totally.  Oversimplified or what, but it was much more complex and involved then I imagined.  The way it was taught to me in school I was left with the impression that the process was deterministic.  Fact was they had no fucking clue what they were doing.  All they knew was that they needed a better governing document and that was it.  In school they basically told us, "well, these were the issues and this is how the were resolved, simple simple simple..."  Total bullshit.  Seems by by the end more then a few had bad blood between them.  Washington and Morris ended their lifelong friendship.  Hell, no one was happy with the final product!  With the government under the Articles of Confederation basically collapsing they left the Convention thinking it was this Constitution or nothing.  And honestly, and considering that few changes were ever really made, I think those guys would be surprised to find out that it has worked out for as long as it has.

And on and yes, highly recommended for anyone who needs a place to start learning about the Constitutional Convention.  Even includes a copy of the Constitution (sans amendments) in the back.

Next up...well, I think I'm gonna detour around Neil Gaiman's Coraline before I start reading The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes.


Post a Comment

<< Home