The Framers' Coup
Finalist for the 2017 George Washington Book Prize.
"The Framers' Coup": The Making of the United States Constitution.
By Michael J. Klarman. ISBN 9780199942039. Copyright 2016. Hardcover with 880 pages.
Benjamin Franklin keenly observed, any assembly of men bring with them "all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests and their selfish views." The stories of the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention prove Franklin's point with the rebellion of debtor farmers in Massachusetts; George Washington's uncertainty about whether to attend; Gunning Bedford's threat to turn to a European prince if the small states were denied equal representation in the Senate; slave staters' threats to take their marbles and go home if denied representation for their slaves; Hamilton's quasi-monarchist speech to the convention; and Patrick Henry's herculean efforts to defeat the Constitution in Virginia through demagoguery and conspiracy theories. The Framers' clashing interests shaped the Constitution and American history itself.