Ratifying the Constitution

Michael Allen Gillespie and Michael Lienesch, eds.

In his foreword to this volume, Forrest McDonald points out that while the drafting of the Constitution has inspired a large body of historical writing, "that on the ratification of the instrument, though an event of equal importance and far greater drama, is relatively small." This volume fills that gap; it is, according to McDonald, "the most extensive treatment of the subject yet undertaken." A diverse group of historians and political theorists examine the interrelationship of the theoretical debate and the political process on a state-by-state basis, unraveling the labyrinthine complexity of ratification.

“The particular strength of this book is in its state-by-state approach and in its close focus on the particular issues, personalities, and factional divisions in each state and the effect that these had on the ratification decision.”

Journal of Politics

“The reader will come away from this study with an understanding that the ratification of the Constitution was scarcely less miraculous than its drafting.”

—Forrest McDonald, author of Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution

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About the Author

Michael Allen Gillespie is assistant professor of political science at Duke University. Michael Lienesch is professor of political science at the University of North Carolina.