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The First Congress

The First Congress Author Fergus M. Bordewich
ISBN-10 9781451692112
Release 2017-02-21
Pages 416
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This “fascinating” (Chicago Tribune), “lively” (The New York Times) history tells how the First Congress and the Washington administration created one of the most productive and far-reaching governments in American history—“gracefully written…and well worth reading” (The Wall Street Journal). The First Congress may have been the most important in American history because it established how our government would work. The Constitution was a broad set of principles that left undefined the machinery of government. Fortunately, far-sighted, brilliant, and determined men such as Washington, Madison, Adams, Hamilton, and Jefferson (and others less well known today) labored to create a functioning government. In The First Congress, award-winning author Fergus Bordewich brings to life the achievements of the First Congress: it debated and passed the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which we know as the Bill of Rights; admitted North Carolina and Rhode Island to the union when they belatedly ratified the Constitution, then admitted two new states, Kentucky and Vermont, establishing the procedure for admitting new states on equal terms with the original thirteen; chose the site of the national capital, a new city to be built on the Potomac; created a national bank to handle the infant republic’s finances; created the first cabinet positions and the federal court system; and many other achievements. But it avoided the subject of slavery, which was too contentious to resolve. The First Congress takes us back to the days when the future of our country was by no means assured and makes “an intricate story clear and fascinating” (The Washington Post).



The First Congress

The First Congress Author Fergus M. Bordewich
ISBN-10 9781451691931
Release 2016-02-09
Pages 416
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"The First Congress was the most important in US history says prizewinning author and historian Fergus Bordewich, because it established how our government would actually function. Had it failed--as many at the time feared it would--it's possible that the United States as we know it would not exist today,"--NoveList.



The First Congress

The First Congress Author Fergus M. Bordewich
ISBN-10 9781451692136
Release 2016-02-09
Pages 416
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This “fascinating” (Chicago Tribune), “lively” (The New York Times) history tells how the First Congress and the Washington administration created one of the most productive and far-reaching governments in American history—“gracefully written…and well worth reading” (The Wall Street Journal). The First Congress may have been the most important in American history because it established how our government would work. The Constitution was a broad set of principles that left undefined the machinery of government. Fortunately, far-sighted, brilliant, and determined men such as Washington, Madison, Adams, Hamilton, and Jefferson (and others less well known today) labored to create a functioning government. In The First Congress, award-winning author Fergus Bordewich brings to life the achievements of the First Congress: it debated and passed the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which we know as the Bill of Rights; admitted North Carolina and Rhode Island to the union when they belatedly ratified the Constitution, then admitted two new states, Kentucky and Vermont, establishing the procedure for admitting new states on equal terms with the original thirteen; chose the site of the national capital, a new city to be built on the Potomac; created a national bank to handle the infant republic’s finances; created the first cabinet positions and the federal court system; and many other achievements. But it avoided the subject of slavery, which was too contentious to resolve. The First Congress takes us back to the days when the future of our country was by no means assured and makes “an intricate story clear and fascinating” (The Washington Post).



Founding Rivals

Founding Rivals Author Chris DeRose
ISBN-10 9781621570714
Release 2013-05-20
Pages 304
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Explores how the 1789 congressional election between two future presidents with differing views on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights influenced the destiny of the United States.



America s Great Debate

America s Great Debate Author Fergus M. Bordewich
ISBN-10 1439141681
Release 2012-04-17
Pages 496
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The Mexican War introduced vast new territories into the United States, among them California and the present-day Southwest. When gold was discovered in California in the great Gold Rush of 1849, the population swelled, and settlers petitioned for admission to the Union. But the U.S. Senate was precariously balanced with fifteen free states and fifteen slave states. Up to then states had been admitted in pairs, one free and one slave, to preserve that tenuous balance in the Senate. Would California be free or slave? So began a paralyzing crisis in American government, and the longest debate in Senate history. Fergus Bordewich tells the epic story of the Compromise of 1850 with skill and vigor, bringing to life two generations of senators who dominated the great debate. Luminaries such as John Calhoun, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay—who tried unsuccessfully to cobble together a compromise that would allow for California’s admission and simultaneously put an end to the nation’s agony over slavery—were nearing the end of their long careers. Rising stars such as Jefferson Davis, William Seward, and Stephen Douglas—who ultimately succeeded where Clay failed—would shape the country’s politics as slavery gradually fractured the nation. The Compromise saved the Union from collapse, but it did so at a great cost. The gulf between North and South over slavery widened with the strengthened Fugitive Slave Law that was part of the complex Compromise. In America’s Great Debate Fergus Bordewich takes us back to a time when compromise was imperative, when men swayed one another in Congress with the power of their ideas and their rhetoric, when partisans on each side reached across the aisle to preserve the Union from tragedy.



The American Congress

The American Congress Author Julian E. Zelizer
ISBN-10 054734550X
Release 2004-09-21
Pages 784
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Congress is the heart and soul of our democracy, the place where interests are brokered, laws are established, and innovation is turned into concrete action. It is also where some of democracy's greatest virtues clash with its worst vices: idealism and compromise meet corruption and bitter partisanship. The American Congress unveils the rich and varied history of this singular institution. Julian E. Zelizer has gathered together forty essays by renowned historians to capture the full drama, landmark legislation, and most memorable personalities of Congress. Organized around four major periods of congressional history, from the signing of the Constitution to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, this volume brings a fresh perspective to familiar watershed events: the Civil War, Watergate, the Vietnam War. It also gives a behind-the-scenes look at lesser-known legislation debated on the House and Senate floors, such as westward expansion and war powers control. Here are the stories behind the 1868 vote to impeach President Andrew Johnson; the rise of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress and a leading advocate for pacifism; and the controversy surrounding James Eastland of Mississippi, who carried civil rights bills in his pockets so they could not come up for a vote. Sidebars further spotlight notables including Huey Long, Sam Rayburn, and Tip O'Neill, bringing the sweeping history of our lawmaking bodies into sharp focus. If you've ever wondered how Congress worked in the past or what our elected officials do today, this book gives the engaging, often surprising, answers.



George Washington

George Washington Author John Rhodehamel
ISBN-10 9780300229899
Release 2017-02-21
Pages 368
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A much-needed concise biography of America’s first president As editor of the award-winning Library of America collection of George Washington’s writings and a curator of the great man’s original papers, John Rhodehamel has established himself as an authority of our nation’s preeminent founding father. Rhodehamel examines George Washington as a public figure, arguing that the man—who first achieved fame in his early twenties—is inextricably bound to his mythic status. Solidly grounded in Washington’s papers and exemplary in its brevity, this approachable biography is a superb introduction to the leader whose name has become synonymous with America.



Constitutional Construction

Constitutional Construction Author Keith E Whittington
ISBN-10 0674045157
Release 2009-06-01
Pages 316
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This book argues that the Constitution has a dual nature. The first aspect, on which legal scholars have focused, is the degree to which the Constitution acts as a binding set of rules that can be neutrally interpreted and externally enforced by the courts against government actors. This is the process of constitutional interpretation. But according to Keith Whittington, the Constitution also permeates politics itself, to guide and constrain political actors in the very process of making public policy. In so doing, it is also dependent on political actors, both to formulate authoritative constitutional requirements and to enforce those fundamental settlements in the future. Whittington characterizes this process, by which constitutional meaning is shaped within politics at the same time that politics is shaped by the Constitution, as one of construction as opposed to interpretation. Whittington goes on to argue that ambiguities in the constitutional text and changes in the political situation push political actors to construct their own constitutional understanding. The construction of constitutional meaning is a necessary part of the political process and a regular part of our nation's history, how a democracy lives with a written constitution. The Constitution both binds and empowers government officials. Whittington develops his argument through intensive analysis of four important cases: the impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson, the nullification crisis, and reforms of presidential-congressional relations during the Nixon presidency.



Bring Back the Bureaucrats

Bring Back the Bureaucrats Author John DiIulio
ISBN-10 9781599474687
Release 2014-09-02
Pages 176
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In Bring Back the Bureaucrats, John J. DiIulio Jr., one of America’s most respected political scientists and an adviser to presidents in both parties, summons the facts and statistics to show us how America’s big government actually works and why reforms that include adding a million more people to the federal workforce by 2035 might actually help to slow government’s growth while improving its performance. Starting from the underreported reality that the size of the federal workforce hasn’t increased since the early 1960s even though the federal budget has skyrocketed and the number of federal programs has ballooned, Bring Back the Bureaucrats tells us what our elected leaders won’t: there simply are not enough federal workers to do work that’s critical to our democracy. Government in America, DiIulio reveals, is Leviathan by Proxy, a grotesque form of debt-financed big government that guarantees bad government: • Washington relies on state and local governments, for-profit firms, and nonprofit organizations to implement federal policies and programs. Big-city mayors, defense industry contractors, nonprofit executives and other federal proxies lobby incessantly for more federal spending. • The proxy system chokes on chores as distinct as cleaning up toxic waste sites, caring for hospitalized veterans, collecting taxes, handling plutonium, and policing more than $100 billion a year in “improper payments.” • The lack of enough competent, well-trained federal civil servants figured in the failed federal response to Hurricane Katrina and in the troubled launch of Obamacare “health exchanges,” Bring Back the Bureaucrats is further distinguished by the presence of E. J. Dionne Jr. and Charles Murray, two of the most astute voices from the political left and right, respectively, who offer their candid responses to DiIulio at the end of the book.



Washington s Circle

Washington s Circle Author David S. Heidler
ISBN-10 9780812981599
Release 2016-02
Pages 576
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A group portrait of America's first President and the men who served with him to create the office shares insights into their personalities and the consequences of Washington's decision to heed or disregard specific advice.



The Framers Coup

The Framers  Coup Author Michael J. Klarman
ISBN-10 9780199942046
Release 2016-09-16
Pages 240
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Americans revere their Constitution. However, most of us are unaware how tumultuous and improbable the drafting and ratification processes were. As Benjamin Franklin keenly observed, any assembly of men bring with them "all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests and their selfish views." One need not deny that the Framers had good intentions in order to believe that they also had interests. Based on prodigious research and told largely through the voices of the participants, Michael Klarman's The Framers' Coup narrates how the Framers' clashing interests shaped the Constitution--and American history itself. The Philadelphia convention could easily have been a failure, and the risk of collapse was always present. Had the convention dissolved, any number of adverse outcomes could have resulted, including civil war or a reversion to monarchy. Not only does Klarman capture the knife's-edge atmosphere of the convention, he populates his narrative with riveting and colorful stories: the rebellion of debtor farmers in Massachusetts; George Washington's uncertainty about whether to attend; Gunning Bedford's threat to turn to a European prince if the small states were denied equal representation in the Senate; slave staters' threats to take their marbles and go home if denied representation for their slaves; Hamilton's quasi-monarchist speech to the convention; and Patrick Henry's herculean efforts to defeat the Constitution in Virginia through demagoguery and conspiracy theories. The Framers' Coup is more than a compendium of great stories, however, and the powerful arguments that feature throughout will reshape our understanding of the nation's founding. Simply put, the Constitutional Convention almost didn't happen, and once it happened, it almost failed. And, even after the convention succeeded, the Constitution it produced almost failed to be ratified. Just as importantly, the Constitution was hardly the product of philosophical reflections by brilliant, disinterested statesmen, but rather ordinary interest group politics. Multiple conflicting interests had a say, from creditors and debtors to city dwellers and backwoodsmen. The upper class overwhelmingly supported the Constitution; many working class colonists were more dubious. Slave states and nonslave states had different perspectives on how well the Constitution served their interests. Ultimately, both the Constitution's content and its ratification process raise troubling questions about democratic legitimacy. The Federalists were eager to avoid full-fledged democratic deliberation over the Constitution, and the document that was ratified was stacked in favor of their preferences. And in terms of substance, the Constitution was a significant departure from the more democratic state constitutions of the 1770s. Definitive and authoritative, The Framers' Coup explains why the Framers preferred such a constitution and how they managed to persuade the country to adopt it. We have lived with the consequences, both positive and negative, ever since.



This Vast Southern Empire

This Vast Southern Empire Author Matthew Karp
ISBN-10 9780674973848
Release 2016-09-12
Pages 350
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Most leaders of the U.S. expansion in the years before the Civil War were southern slaveholders. As Matthew Karp shows, they were nationalists, not separatists. When Lincoln’s election broke their grip on foreign policy, these elites formed their own Confederacy not merely to preserve their property but to shape the future of the Atlantic world.



Washington

Washington Author Fergus Bordewich
ISBN-10 9780061755545
Release 2009-03-17
Pages 400
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Washington, D.C., is home to the most influential power brokers in the world. But how did we come to call D.C.—a place once described as a mere swamp "producing nothing except myriads of toads and frogs (of enormous size)," and which was strategically indefensible, captive to the politics of slavery, and the target of unbridled land speculation—our nation's capital? In Washington, acclaimed, award-winning author Fergus M. Bordewich turns to the backroom deal-making and shifting alliances among our Founding Fathers to find out, and in doing so pulls back the curtain on the lives of the slaves who actually built the city. The answers revealed in this eye-opening book are not only surprising but also illuminate a story of unexpected triumph over a multitude of political and financial obstacles, including fraudulent real estate deals, overextended financiers, and management more apt for a banana republic than an emerging world power. In a page-turning work that reveals the hidden and unsavory side to the nation's beginnings, Bordewich once again brings his novelist's eye to a little-known chapter of American history.



Without Precedent

Without Precedent Author Joel Richard Paul
ISBN-10 9781594488238
Release 2018
Pages 512
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No member of America's Founding Generation had a greater impact on the Constitution and the Supreme Court than John Marshall, and no one did more to preserve the delicate unity of the fledgling United States. From the nation's founding in 1776 and for the next forty years, Marshall was at the center of every political battle. This is the astonishing true story of how a roughcut frontiersman--born in Virginia in 1755 and with little formal education--invented himself as one of the nation's preeminent lawyers and politicians who then reinvented the Constitution to forge a stronger nation.



Becoming Madison

Becoming Madison Author Michael Signer
ISBN-10 9781610392969
Release 2015-03-10
Pages 384
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In 1941 the historian Irving Brant wrote, “Among all the men who shaped the present government of the United States of America,” Brant wrote, “the one who did the most is known the least.” Brant concluded, “When a man rises to greatness in youth, it is with his youth that we should first concern ourselves.” Seven decades have passed since Brant wrote those words. Yet, through the history's increasingly dusty lens, Madison has become ever more a stranger. The default impression of Madison remains as remote and severe as the title of a 1994 book: If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason. Most Americans, if they know anything about him at all, see him as calculating, intellectual, politically astute, dry, and remote. This book finally attempts to answer Brant's call. Madison's life had two major acts, but like a backward play, the climax occurred after the first. In researching that crucial first act, the research, Signer found, again and again, a surprising pattern. Madison was a fighter. He usually did not want to fight. He took no joy in the public arena and in the confrontation with other men. Indeed, the conflicts often left him so anxious he became physically sick. But he saw the fights as necessary events in the larger purpose of the life he set out for himself at a young age: to push the American state to achieve its potential, no matter what obstacles the country and small-minded men might throw in his way. Young James Madison's reluctant but firm decision to hurl himself into the ring, again and again, for the common good prove that leadership is possible in a democracy, and that ideas can make a difference. His story shows how much democracy depends on leaders like Madison, and how hollow democracy will be without statesmen. Signer's book takes the reader into a journey of how Madison became Madison. The stunning story of his victories is simply incomprehensible without the passion, charisma, energy, humor, and fierceness of Madison the actual man.



Decision in Philadelphia

Decision in Philadelphia Author James Lincoln Collier
ISBN-10 9781620641958
Release 2012-08-01
Pages 448
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Decision in Philadelphia is just such a book. It is the best popular history of the Constitutional Convention available. This clear and well-written volume traces the major issues involved, dismissing sectional, economic, or class interests as dominant factors and concentrating instead on the "deeply rooted attitudes" and "emotions" of individual members. Modern readers will find the authors' comments on the Constitution particularly interesting, casting many of the Founding Fathers in a new light.



The Republic for Which It Stands

The Republic for Which It Stands Author Richard White
ISBN-10 9780190619060
Release 2017-08-04
Pages 912
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The Oxford History of the United States is the most respected multivolume history of the American nation. In the newest volume in the series, The Republic for Which It Stands, acclaimed historian Richard White offers a fresh and integrated interpretation of Reconstruction and the Gilded Age as the seedbed of modern America. At the end of the Civil War the leaders and citizens of the victorious North envisioned the country's future as a free-labor republic, with a homogenous citizenry, both black and white. The South and West were to be reconstructed in the image of the North. Thirty years later Americans occupied an unimagined world. The unity that the Civil War supposedly secured had proved ephemeral. The country was larger, richer, and more extensive, but also more diverse. Life spans were shorter, and physical well-being had diminished, due to disease and hazardous working conditions. Independent producers had become wage earners. The country was Catholic and Jewish as well as Protestant, and increasingly urban and industrial. The "dangerous" classes of the very rich and poor expanded, and deep differences -- ethnic, racial, religious, economic, and political -- divided society. The corruption that gave the Gilded Age its name was pervasive. These challenges also brought vigorous efforts to secure economic, moral, and cultural reforms. Real change -- technological, cultural, and political -- proliferated from below more than emerging from political leadership. Americans, mining their own traditions and borrowing ideas, produced creative possibilities for overcoming the crises that threatened their country. In a work as dramatic and colorful as the era it covers, White narrates the conflicts and paradoxes of these decades of disorienting change and mounting unrest, out of which emerged a modern nation whose characteristics resonate with the present day.