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The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828 (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) Paperback – September 20, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0807847862 ISBN-10: 0807847860 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; First Edition edition (September 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807847860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807847862
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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A rich guide."The Historian"

Review

[A] careful and subtle analysis. . . . [with] a provocative epilogue.--Journal of the Early Republic

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By greg taylor VINE VOICE on March 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...they do things differently there. The Other Founders by Saul Cornell represents a needed correction to our historical understanding of American history from 1787 to 1830.
The tendency of scholars since the early works of Pocock, Robbins, Bailyn, Woods and McDonald has been to write about that period in terms divorced from a vocabulary of economic interests or class.
The other great simplification has been to see the period in bifurcated categories. Federalist vs. Anti-Federalists is the dichotomy that Cornell takes on. Does anyone think that the current American political scene can be adequately summarized as Democrats vs. Republicans? Is our current political and intellectual scene that much more complicated or nuanced or diverse than that of the founders? Only the Arrogance of the Present could make that claim.
What Cornell does is show that Anti-Federalism (A-F, for short) was a uniting of diverse interests and ideas for the purpose of opposing the Constitution. There were three major variations of A-F that Cornell delineates. There was the elitist version associated with thinkers like Richard Henry Lee and Elbridge Gerry. There was a "middling" A-F associated with New York and Pennsylvania thinkers like Melancton Smith. There was a plebian A-F associated w/ writers like William Manning and William Petrikin. By the way, getting to know these two characters is worth the reading of this book. Cornell is excellent in this early part of the book at explicating how these different types of A-F thought differently about issues like federalism, localism, the powers of juries vs. judges, representation and the role of political clubs and popular political rituals.
After A-F failed to stop ratification, they were united by their demands for a Bill of Rights.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on August 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Other Founders" by history professor Saul Cornell is a book about the Anti-Federalists, the "radical" wing of the American Revolution. The Anti-Federalists opposed the ratification of the US constitution, believing that it would grant too much power to the federal authorities. While not necessarily opposed to some sort of federation, the Anti-Federalists wanted most power to be vested in the states, or even further down, at county level. After the US constitution had been ratified, Anti-Federalists usually joined the emerging Democratic-Republican movement of Thomas Jefferson, becoming a kind of "loyal opposition" within the federal structures they had previously opposed.

Saul Cornell believes that Anti-Federalist ideas and attitudes remained an important part of the political landscape even after the US constitution had been ratified. Although Anti-Federalists were, in one sense, on the loosing side, they didn't simply collapse or go away. After all, they were right: the United States *did* become more centralized and (perhaps) less democratic after the constitution had been adopted. As several other reviewers have pointed out, much opposition to the modern federal government sounds Anti-Federalist. (Strangely, many of these dissidents claim to uphold the constitution and the Federalist Papers.)

"The Other Founders" point out that Anti-Federalism wasn't a homogenous movement. Rather, it was a coalition of several different currents, hold together mostly by their shared opposition to the centralization proposed by the Federalists. Cornell distinguishes between elite, middling and plebeian Anti-Federalists.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By New Age of Barbarism on August 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
_The Other Founders_ by Saul Cornell provides a good overview of a unique American political tradition which began in opposition to the ratification of the Constitution. Antifederalists opposed the Constitution on different grounds, including especially the need for a Bill of Rights ammendment. Antifederalists also came to emphasize the rights of states and localism within government, opposing the strong centralizing tendencies within the Constitution and which existed after the Constitution was ratified. Individuals such as Jefferson and Madison came to embrace certain aspects of the Antifederalist tradition in their opposition to the centralizing tendencies of Hamilton, who proposed to create among other things a centralized banking system. Many of the original Antifederalists feared the influence of a large centralized government, maintaining that such a thing could lead to the promotion of an aristocracy who would operate against the interests of the common people. The tradition of Antifederalism continues to play an important part in constitutional debate today. Many have looked towards this tradition as a means for protecting the rights of states as well as Second Ammendment rights to private gun ownership from the influence of the federal government.
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22 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a very well written book that provides an interesting perspective on the roots of anti-federal and dissenting viewpoints from the beginnings of the United States. For better or worse, many of the views of today's militias and anti-government protesters have their roots in some of the anti-federalist currents circulating at the time of, and after, the ratification of the Constitution. Of course, the Anti-Fderalists were in the main on the losing side of the debate, but as this book shows, not entirely so, as important concessions such as the Bill of Rights, were made to them, and important currents of their thinking have continued as strong themes in American politics to this day.
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The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828 (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)
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