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Plain Honest Men

Author: Richard Beeman
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781588367266
Size: 40.70 MB
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In May 1787, in an atmosphere of crisis, delegates met in Philadelphia to design a radically new form of government. Distinguished historian Richard Beeman captures as never before the dynamic of the debate and the characters of the men who labored that historic summer. Virtually all of the issues in dispute—the extent of presidential power, the nature of federalism, and, most explosive of all, the role of slavery—have continued to provoke conflict throughout our nation's history. This unprecedented book takes readers behind the scenes to show how the world's most enduring constitution was forged through conflict, compromise, and fragile consensus. As Gouverneur Morris, delegate of Pennsylvania, noted: "While some have boasted it as a work from Heaven, others have given it a less righteous origin. I have many reasons to believe that it is the work of plain, honest men."

Plain Honest Men

Author: Richard Beeman
Publisher: Random House Incorporated
ISBN: 0812976843
Size: 78.31 MB
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Takes readers behind the scenes, beyond the debates and into the streets, taverns and mansions of Philadelphia to show how the constitution was forged through conflict, compromise and eventually fragile consensus as James Madison and his cohorts devised a plan to radically alter the balance of governmental power. Reprint.

Plain Honest Men

Author: Richard Beeman
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1400065704
Size: 12.30 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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“While some have boasted it as a work from Heaven, others have given it a less righteous origin. I have many reasons to believe that it is the work of plain, honest men.” –Robert Morris, delegate from Pennsylvania to the Constitutional Convention From distinguished historian Richard Beeman comes a dramatic and engrossing account of the men who met in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787 to design a radically new form of government. Plain, Honest Men takes readers behind the scenes and beyond the debate to show how the world’s most enduring constitution was forged through conflict, compromise, and, eventually, fragile consensus. The delegates met in an atmosphere of crisis, many Americans at that time fearing that a combination of financial distress and civil unrest would doom the young nation’s experiment in liberty. When the delegates began their deliberations in May 1787, they discovered that a small cohort of men, led by James Madison, had prepared an audacious plan–revolutionary in its view of the nature of American government. The success of this bold and brilliant strategy was far from assured, and the ultimate outcome of the delegates’ labors–the creation of a frame of government that would enable America to flourish–was very different from what Madison had envisioned when he launched his grand scheme. Beeman captures as never before the dynamic of the debate and the characters of the men who labored that summer in Philadelphia, among them James Madison, as brilliant as he was unprepossessing; the mercurial Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania, arrogant, combative, but ultimately effective in shaping the language of the completed Constitution; Maryland’s Luther Martin, a pugnacious (and often inebriated) opponent of a strong national government; Roger Sherman, the straightforward Connecticut delegate who helped broker some of the key compromises of the Convention; and General George Washington, whose quiet dignity and forceful presence helped keep under control the clash of egos and words among the delegates. Virtually all of the issues the delegates debated that summer–the extent of presidential power, the nature of federalism, and, most explosive of all, the role of slavery–have continued to provoke conflict throughout the nation’s history. Plain, Honest Men is a fascinating portrait of another time and place, a bold and unprecedented book about men, both grand and humble, who wrote a document that would live longer than they ever imagined. This is an indispensable work for our own time, in which debate about the Constitution’s meaning still rages.

Ratification

Author: Pauline Maier
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 0684868555
Size: 61.22 MB
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Drawing on the speeches and letters of the United States' founders, the author recounts the dramatic period after the Constitutional Convention and before the Constitution was finally ratified, describing the tumultuous events that took place in homes, taverns and convention halls throughout the colonies. By the author of American Scripture.

Decision In Philadelphia

Author: James Lincoln Collier
Publisher: AudioGO
ISBN: 162064195X
Size: 56.48 MB
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Decision in Philadelphia is just such a book. It is the best popular history of the Constitutional Convention available. This clear and well-written volume traces the major issues involved, dismissing sectional, economic, or class interests as dominant factors and concentrating instead on the "deeply rooted attitudes" and "emotions" of individual members. Modern readers will find the authors' comments on the Constitution particularly interesting, casting many of the Founding Fathers in a new light.

Constitutional Stupidities Constitutional Tragedies

Author: William N. Eskridge
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814722563
Size: 77.43 MB
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The Constitution is the cornerstone of American government, hailed as one of the greatest contributions of the Western Enlightenment. While many seem content simply to celebrate it, those most familiar with the document invariably find it wanting in at least some aspects. This unique volume brings together many of the country's most esteemed constitutional commentators and invites them to answer two questions: First, what is the stupidest provision of the Constitution? "Stupid" need not mean evil. Thus, a second, related question is whether the scholar-interpreter would be forced to reach truly evil results even if applying his or her own favored theory of constitutional interpretation. The contributors include Lawrence Alexander, Akhil Reed Amar, Jack Balkin, Philip Bobbitt, Gerard Bradley, Rebecca Brown, Steven Calabresi, Lief Carter, Christopher Eisgruber, Lawrence Sager, Marie Failinger, Daniel Farber, James Fleming, Mark Graber, Stephen Griffin, Gary Jacobsohn, Randall Kennedy, Lewis LaRue, Theodore Lowi, Earl Maltz, Michael McConnell, Matthew Michael, Robert Nagel, Daniel Ortiz, Pamela Karlen, Michael Paulsen, Robert Post, Lucas Powe, Dorothy Roberts, Jeffrey Rosen, Frederick Schauer, Michael Seidman, Suzanna Sherry, David Strauss, Laurence Tribe, Mark Tushnet, and John Yoo.

American Political Speeches

Author: Terry Golway
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101603674
Size: 22.10 MB
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A selection of speeches by the most inspiring and persuasive orators in American history Penguin presents a series of six portable, accessible, and—above all—essential reads from American political history, selected by leading scholars. Series editor Richard Beeman, author of The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, draws together the great texts of American civic life to create a timely and informative mini-library of perennially vital issues. Whether readers are encountering these classic writings for the first time, or brushing up in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, these slim volumes will serve as a powerful and illuminating resource for scholars, students, and civic-minded citizens. American Political Speeches includes the best American rhetoric from inside and outside the White House. Some of the greatest words spoken in American history have come from men and women who lacked the biggest bully pulpit in the country, but who nevertheless were able to move the nation with words. Frederick Douglass explained the irony of Independence Day from the perspective of a slave. Martin Luther King, Jr. described his dream of an interracial America. William Jennings Bryan gave voice to social discontent with a single phrase, "a cross of gold." Barbara Jordan summoned the nation"s outrage during the impeachment hearings against Richard Nixon. And the best presidents, not by coincidence, have tended to be those with an appreciation for the use of language: Lincoln explaining a new birth of freedom at Gettysburg; John Kennedy voicing moral outrage at the Berlin Wall; Franklin D. Roosevelt chatting to a nation gathered in front of radios; Ronald Reagan addressing Congress freshly healed from an assassination attempt.

Original Meanings

Author: Jack N. Rakove
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307434516
Size: 57.86 MB
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From abortion to same-sex marriage, today's most urgent political debates will hinge on this two-part question: What did the United States Constitution originally mean and who now understands its meaning best? Rakove chronicles the Constitution from inception to ratification and, in doing so, traces its complex weave of ideology and interest, showing how this document has meant different things at different times to different groups of Americans. From the Trade Paperback edition.

America S Constitution

Author: Akhil Reed Amar
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1588364879
Size: 57.45 MB
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In America’s Constitution, one of this era’s most accomplished constitutional law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world’s great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this “biography” of America’s framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it. We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding “We the People,” was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators’ inspired genius. Despite the Constitution’s flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America’s Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why–for now, at least–only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president. From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation’s history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document’s later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans. We also learn that the Founders’ Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the “three fifths” clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic’s first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln’s election. Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America’s Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.

Supreme Court Decisions

Author: Richard Beeman
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101603712
Size: 10.44 MB
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A selection of the landmark Supreme Court decisions that have shaped American society Penguin presents a series of six portable, accessible, and—above all—essential reads from American political history, selected by leading scholars. Series editor Richard Beeman, author of The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, draws together the great texts of American civic life, including the founding documents, pivotal historical speeches, and important Supreme Court decisions, to create a timely and informative mini-library of perennially vital issues. The Supreme Court is one of America's leading expositors of and participants in debates about American values. Legal expert Jay M. Feinman introduces and selects some of the most important Supreme Court Decisions of all time, which touch on the very foundations of American society. These cases cover a vast array of issues, from the powers of government and freedom of speech to freedom of religion and civil liberties. Feinman offers commentary on each case and excerpts from the opinions of the Justices that show the range of debate in the Supreme Court and its importance to civil society. Among the cases included will be Marbury v. Madison, on the supremacy of the Constitution and the power of judicial review; U.S. v. Nixon, on separation of powers; and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, a post-9/11 case on presidential power and due process.