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David Brearley and the Making of the United States Constitution Hardcover – June 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 365 pages
  • Publisher: New Jersey Heritage Press (June 1, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 0943136369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0943136363
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,681,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Donald Scarinci has elevated Allentown's local hero of the American Revolution from undeserved obscurity. -- John Fabiano, President - Allentown-Upper Freehold Historical Society

Scarinci's book fills a void in Constitutional history. -- John B. Wefing, J.D., LL.M - Professor of Law, Seton Hall University

This is an interesting and important book. -- Mark E. Lender, Ph.D. - Professor of History, Kean University

From the Inside Flap

David Brearley’s brilliance at the Constitutional Convention has been obscured by William Paterson’s greater skill as an orator and by the understandable tendency of many Constitutional scholars to view the Convention through the eyes of James Madison. Madison was a co-author and champion of the "Virginia Plan" that was on the fast track to adoption before Brearley, Paterson, and the "New Jersey Plan" got in the way.

The battle between the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan is usually viewed through the prism of the large-state/small-state rivalry that ultimately produced a U.S. Senate in which each state has equal representation. But there was an underlying struggle as well over governmental power.

Like the Articles of the Confederation and various state constitutions, the Virginia Plan accorded primacy in every area to the legislative branch. The New Jersey delegation had a different vision. Made up of a Supreme Court chief justice, a former state attorney general, and a governor who had chafed under a New Jersey Constitution that made them subservient to the Legislature, the New Jerseyans fought to strengthen the independence of both the executive and judicial branches.

The New Jerseyans and their allies lost virtually every early vote. But by late August, when Brearley was chosen to chair the crucial Committee on Postponed Matters, the original small-state coalition of New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and Delaware had been joined by Massachusetts, Georgia, and newly arrived New Hampshire to create a new majority voting bloc committed to a strong national government within a federal system that would protect the rights of individual states. Virginia and Pennsylvania were suddenly in the minority.

The Brearley Committee developed an Electoral College that gave extra voting weight to smaller states; gave the president, not Congress, the power to appoint judges, cabinet officers and ambassadors; invented the vice-presidency; and gave the president the right to run for reelection, strengthening the political power of the office.

The view that Brearley and the federalists from the smaller states had won the critical batters within the Constitutional Convention was underscored in the results of the state ratification conventions that followed. New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia, Connecticut, and Maryland quickly and overwhelmingly approved the new Constitution, while Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts ratified only after tumultuous, bitterly divided conventions. Brearly personally steered New Jersey’s unanimous ratification vote.

More About the Author

Donald Scarinci was born in Jersey City, NJ in 1956. His book, "David Brearley and the Making of the United States Constitution" received academic acclaim when it was published in 2005 as the first and only biography of this important behind the scenes player at the constitutional convention of 1787. His most recent book, "Redistricting & the Politics of Reform," published in 2010 has been used as a primer on redistricting in at least 15 states where this decennial process is performed by appointed commissions.

Donald's writing blends his academic training from New York University's Graduate School of Arts where he received an MA in English Language and Literature with his legal training and experience. Donald practices law in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington DC and is the founder of one of the largest law firms in New Jersey. His practice includes government law, business law, entertainment law, & health care.

In addition to his work as a writer and a lawyer, Donald is a member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States to review and recommend coin and medal designs. He is an acknowledged authority and frequent speaker on the subject of medalic sculpture and art.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As I was reading this book, I could almost hear the arguments back and forth between our founding fathers. Thank you to Donald Scarinci for bringing these characters to life.
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Format: Hardcover
While he may not be around to appreciate his new found celebrity status, David Brearley should be celebrated by New Jersey residents for the tireless work he did on behalf of our state and our country. What an amazing story.
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Format: Hardcover
In his book, David Brearley And The Making of the United States Constitution, David Scarinci takes an unknown figure in American history and shows us why he might be the single most important person to shape our country's constitution. I was largely unfamiliar with Brearley before I read this book, and I now find myself, like Scarinci, wanting to share his accomplishments. A wonderful, undiscovered story.
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