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Libertys Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote The Federalist, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 3, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Some legal scholars focus on minutia. Fortunately for us, Professor Meyerson is a skilled popular writer, with a true gift for synthesizing and explaining first principles. Using the best of modern scholarship, he provides us with a clear and fresh overview of the main arguments in the Federalist Papers.
Especially helpful is Professor Meyerson's frequent reference to the Anti-Federalist writings. Ignoring them is like hearing only one side of a phone conversation. By reconstructing both sides of the debate, Meyerson creates a dynamic work that transports us back to that turbulent time, when the public's approval of the new Constitution was in the balance.
I was fascinated by Professor Meyerson's clear explanation of the checks and balances in the Constitution, designed to avoid concentrations of power, which are the principal risk with a strong government, due to the defects in human nature.
Perhaps the main weakness in the book is its effort to comment on current political debates. Here, if I'm not mistaken, Professor Meyerson seems a bit too eager to criticize various Republican and conservative ideas. Perhaps he thinks that Democracts have ceded the Federalist Papers to the Republicans in recent years, and he is seeking to redress the balance. In my view, this weakens the work by interjecting a partisan perspective in an otherwise excellent and balanced historical analysis.
But in order to understand its purpose, Meyerson has had to revisit the history of the framers of The Federalist essays, which helped shape freedom and democracy in the US. However, their story is not as romanticized as history books have painted it out to be, but rather it was a series of events that consisted of a blend of squabbles and commiseration that involved rumors of Hamilton's precipitous idea of moving the capital from Philadelphia to New York, which turned out to be congressional President Elias Boudinot's political influence that later had Hamilton confiding with Madison to clear his name from the matter; this event would strengthen their collaboration but also eventually be one of the factors, which ended their friendship.
Despite Hamilton and Madison's demise, they have left a lasting legacy that is relevant today. Meyerson suggests that Madison and Hamilton wanted to provide an understanding of the how laws have an enormous effect on the entire populace be it through a state or national level.Read more ›
If you are a student, or recently graduated, then this book will be right up your alley.
For those of us that are a "bit" older, it is not very well written nor is it easy to read and follow. Much of it feels disjointed.
As a student of those times I have read a lot of books from numerous authors about this glorious time in American History. While I can not fault the facts presented in this book, it is not an easy read.
The description on the synopsis provided by the "Book reviews" is fairly accurate. Therefore, I will only point out that this work,combining the personal and the constitutional, law and history, takes a close look at the Federalist Papers,which are essays written by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton in favor of ratifying the Constitution. The book is basically divided in two parts. Part I explains how Hamilton (combustible and heedless) and Madison (priggish and intellectual) became friends, came to write THE FEDERALIST together (John Jay's contribution is briefly mentioned), and afterwards became political enemies. Part II provides reasons to read, understand and appreciate the influence of THE FEDERALIST, the author's succinct and readable interpretation of it and his defense of THE FEDERALIST's critical importance for understanding many of present America's divisive political debates.
Just in case some people may refrain from this work lest it will be scholarly dull, let me tell you that is not the case at all. I could not put it down it and read it in less than a week's time (content: 5 starts; pleasure of Part I: 5; pleasure of Part II: 3 to 4). So I highly recommend it.
All that (and much more that I do not mention in this summary) is developed in 297 pages (footnotes included), the book being divided in the following way: Preface. /Introduction: "A well-established historical controversy": solving the mystery of who wrote THE FEDERALIST //Part I: Writing THE FEDERALIST.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book was as advertised. Highly informative regarding how the judiciary and the layperson should read the collected Federalist Papers - not as "scripture", but rather in... Read morePublished on July 2, 2014 by GrantHorn
This book is not for the faint of heart. If it's a light read you are looking for, find another selection. Read morePublished on August 30, 2012 by John P. Soderblom
As we contemplate the dawn of the computer age, the rivalries between the mainstream media and bloggers, the rise of the security state and telecommuting, perhaps a case could be... Read morePublished on September 25, 2008 by Ted
During the summer of 1787, Alexander Hamilton began a series of essays designed to convince reluctant voters in New York to ratify the newly-proposed United States Constitution. Read morePublished on July 7, 2008 by Robin Friedman
In a nice blend of history, biography, and legal analysis, law professor Meyerson examines the dynamic, though short-lived, friendship and literary collaboration between two of the... Read morePublished on June 27, 2008 by Michael G. Radigan