The American Revolution, State Sovereignty, and the American Constitutional Settlement, 1765–1800 Reprint Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-1498500647
ISBN-10: 1498500641
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Editorial Reviews


A valuable contribution to the study of early American political thought, [this book] seeks to rescue the tradition of state sovereignty from the "taint" attached to it.... I highly recommend Aaron Coleman's book--not just as a work of interesting and original research, but as a useful corrective to the bent of those "nationalist historians" who see in this period the inevitable working out of national triumph over state authority. (Claremont Review of Books)

Coleman has done a great service to the prestige of the academic community.... For once, an academic book has bucked the groupthink so pervasive in the ivory tower and has given us room to hope. Too bad...[some] will inevitably dismiss it as some 'originalist' fantasy. That will say more about them than it does about Coleman’s skill as a historian or his attention to detail both of which are exemplary, as is his book. (The Abbeville Blog)

[This book] is an important contribution to our understanding of the founding era. (Journal of American History)

To say that Coleman’s painstaking reconstruction of the early Republic’s political history complicates Senator Sumner’s narrative doesn’t even begin to capture his achievement. Sumner, like so many others then and since, placed the purpose-driven nation at the center of the American story. Coleman “re-centers” that story by turning the advocates of state sovereignty into the dominant voice and Nationalists into, if not an aberration, then at least into a worrisome challenger to what a large number of patriots thought American liberty and self-government were all about.... If Coleman had achieved nothing more than a rhetorical paradigm shift, his book would be well worth reading. But he has achieved more. Coleman has turned the controversy over state sovereignty back into what philosopher William James called a “live question.” (University Bookman)

Properly understanding the American constitutional founding is both vital and difficult. Professor Coleman has mastered the large and complex literature of the subject and given us a refreshing new perspective. It turns out that, after all, the role of the States was more important than we have been led to believe. (Clyde N. Wilson, University of South Carolina)

Aaron N. Coleman's new book on the place of state sovereignty in the Founders' federal system makes clear again what everyone once knew: that ‘No taxation without representation’ was a claim to government by the state legislatures whose power was primary when the Imperial Crisis began, and that the U.S. Constitution was sold as perpetuating that principle. Contrary to today's trendy teaching, Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, and their fellow nationalists lost the battle over the Constitution in 1787–90, and today's system amounts to an inversion of what the Revolution was intended to establish. (Kevin R. C. Gutzman, Western Connecticut State University, author of James Madison and the Making of America)

This groundbreaking book allows readers to understand the Founders’ vision for the American Republic with greater accuracy and scrupulousness than previously available, and while the scholarship of myriad historians and political theorists are critiqued with great care, this study recovers the authentic basis for the political compact and the perpetuation of the regime. The book constitutes a significant accomplishment. (H. Lee Cheek Jr., East Georgia State College)

Nathan Coleman treads new ground in the history of the United States under the Articles of Confederation. By purposefully avoiding the standard ‘nationalist’ narrative of the Founding era, Coleman successfully challenges a number of long-held assumptions about the origin of American constitutionalism. He boldly explains deep disagreements among American local and national leaders—many long since forgotten or overshadowed by those we venerate today. In doing so, Coleman sheds new light on early commitments to states’ rights, the purpose of political independence, the initial goals of the American union, and concerns about the sustainability of the Articles of Confederation. (Carey M. Roberts, Liberty University)

About the Author

Aaron N. Coleman is associate professor of history and higher education at the University of the Cumberlands.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
  • Paperback : 294 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1498500641
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1498500647
  • Publisher : Lexington Books; Reprint Edition (August 8, 2017)
  • Product Dimensions : 5.9 x 0.85 x 9.04 inches
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    5.0 out of 5 stars 7 ratings