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The Resource Unruly Americans and the origins of the Constitution, Woody Holton

Unruly Americans and the origins of the Constitution, Woody Holton

Label
Unruly Americans and the origins of the Constitution
Title
Unruly Americans and the origins of the Constitution
Statement of responsibility
Woody Holton
Creator
Subject
Language
eng
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Is the Constitution a democratic document? Yes, says University of Richmond historian Holton (Forced Founders ), but not because the men who wrote it were especially democratically inclined. The framers, Holton says, distrusted the middling farmers who made up much of America’s voting population, and believed governance should be left in large part to the elites. But the framers also knew that if the document they drafted did not address ordinary citizens’ concerns, the states would not ratify it. Thus, the framers created a more radical document—“an underdogs’ Constitution,” Holton calls it—than they otherwise would have done. Holton’s book, which may be the most suggestive study of the politics of the Constitution and the early republic since Drew McCoy’s 1980 The Elusive Republic , is full of surprising insights; for example, his discussion of newspaper writers’ defense of a woman’s right to purchase the occasional luxury item flies in the face of much scholarship on virtue, gender and fashion in postrevolutionary America. Holton concludes with an inspiring rallying cry for democracy, saying that Americans today seem to have abandoned ordinary late-18th-century citizens’ “intens[e]... democratic aspiration,” resigned, he says, to the power of global corporations and of wealth in American politics. (Oct.) --Staff (Reviewed July 9, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 27, p39)
  • /* Starred Review */ Economic interpretation of the Constitution is not new, but Holton's (history, Univ. of Richmond; Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia ) makes for particularly fascinating reading. He tells of the financial crisis that overwhelmed the country in the 1780s. After the crushingly expensive Revolution, states were pressed into service to pay their share of the national debt. The unruly Americans of the title were the many who were fed up with the taxes and foreclosures. The framers had economic considerations in mind in conceiving a document that would shift the tax burden off of the states and thus appeal to them and promote ratification. The Constitution, in effect, rescued the people, paid the bonds, but also kept state goverments (and therefore some levels of democracy) in check. Somehow it worked and is still working. Surprisingly compelling at every turn and awesomely researched; highly recommended. --Michael O. Eshleman (Reviewed August 15, 2007) (Library Journal, vol 132, issue 13, p100)
  • The creation of the U.S. Constitution was driven by the desire for democracy—and money.After the Revolutionary War, 13 loosely aligned, newly independent states had a united nation to run. Their primary political document, the Articles of Confederation, however, was a recipe for economic disaster, with each state espousing autonomous fiscal policies without a powerful central governmental authority to mediate among them. As demonstrated in smart detail by Holton (History/Univ. of Richmond; Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia, 1999), the result was chaos in almost every corner of the struggling new nation. War bonds, for example, were either unredeemable or worth a fraction of their promised value. Paper currency, a concept widely feared, debated and even banned by certain state legislatures, became a constant source of interstate bickering. Property values plunged, causing the prosperity of many prominent families to vanish almost overnight while economic predators profited from their losses. In especially depressed states where onerous tax bills could only be satisfied by the seizure and auction of property, riots regularly closed courthouses and put judges's lives in jeopardy. Foreign investment, desperately needed to foster economic growth, remained locked in Europe, posing yet another threat to America's hard-won independence. In this unstable atmosphere, immense social and political pressure was placed on the Founding Fathers. Politically, many believed that the Articles of Confederation were too weak, but acceptable alternative political models were lacking: Europe's monarchical systems were naturally considered abhorrent. Economically, the priority was to find ways to increase the money supply and to substantially ease and redistribute the tax burden. Holton painstakingly locates all the key political figures of the era within the divisive, argumentative Continental Congress, including Washington, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson and Madison, explaining how each was affected by the fiscal turmoil roiling the land. An eye-opening spotlight on the nation's most enduring political document. (Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2007)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
211773
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Holton, Woody
Index
index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
Constitutional history
Label
Unruly Americans and the origins of the Constitution, Woody Holton
Link
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [279]-353) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
651095
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xi, 370 pages
Isbn
9780809080618
Isbn Type
(hardcover : alk. paper)
Lccn
2007004931
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780809080618
  • (OCoLC)82367962
Label
Unruly Americans and the origins of the Constitution, Woody Holton
Link
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [279]-353) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
651095
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xi, 370 pages
Isbn
9780809080618
Isbn Type
(hardcover : alk. paper)
Lccn
2007004931
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780809080618
  • (OCoLC)82367962

Library Locations

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