The Summer of 1787 by David O. Stewart
The Men Who Invented the Constitution

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The Summer of 1787 takes us into the sweltering room in which the founding fathers struggled for four months to produce the Constitution: the flawed but enduring document that would define the nation—then and now.

George Washington presided, James Madison kept the notes, Benjamin Franklin offered wisdom and humor at crucial times. The Summer of 1787 traces the struggles within the Philadelphia Convention as the delegates hammered out the charter for the world’s first constitutional democracy. Relying on the words of the delegates themselves to explore the Convention’s sharp conflicts and hard bargaining, David O. Stewart lays out the passions and contradictions of the, often, painful process of writing the Constitution.

It was a desperate balancing act. Revolutionary principles required that the people have power, but could the people be trusted? Would a stronger central government leave room for the states? Would the small states accept a Congress in which seats were allotted according to population rather than to each sovereign state? And what of slavery? The supercharged debates over America’s original sin led to the most creative and most disappointing political deals of the Convention.

The room was crowded with colorful and passionate characters, some known—Alexander Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, Edmund Randolph—and others largely forgotten. At different points during that sultry summer, more than half of the delegates threatened to walk out, and some actually did, but Washington’s quiet leadership and the delegates’ inspired compromises held the Convention together.

In a country continually arguing over the document’s original intent, it is fascinating to watch these powerful characters struggle toward consensus—often reluctantly—to write a flawed but living and breathing document that could evolve with the nation.

About David O. Stewart

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David O. Stewart turned to writing after more than a quarter century of law practice in Washington, D.C., defending accused criminals and challenging government actions as unconstitutional. His first book about the writing of the Constitution, The Summer of 1787, grew out of Supreme Court case he was working on. It was aWashington Post bestseller and won the Washington Writing Prize for Best Book of 2007. Impeached had its roots in a judicial impeachment trial Stewart defended before the United States Senate, in 1989, and then argued to the Supreme Court. His most recent book, American Emperor, tells this astonishing tale, which traces Aaron Burr’s descent from made man to political pariah to imperialist adventurer. For more information about the author, go to
Published April 10, 2007 by Simon & Schuster. 372 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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With the exceptions of Madison and Hamilton, history’s notice of the rest (the likes of Gouverneur Morris, Roger Sherman, David Brearley and three distinguished dissenters, George Mason, Elbridge Gerry and Edmund Randolph) centers on their contributions to the convention’s unprecedented deliberat...

Jan 15 2007 | Read Full Review of The Summer of 1787: The Men W...

The New York Times

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As delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 put their signatures to the document that would become the charter of the infant nation, Benjamin Franklin pointed to the carving of a sun on the back of George Washington’s chair and observed that he had often looked at the carving “without b...

Apr 20 2007 | Read Full Review of The Summer of 1787: The Men W...

Publishers Weekly

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Stewart, a constitutional lawyer in Washington, D.C., ignores the recent decades' penetrating scholarship about the Constitution's creation in favor of a fast-paced narrative of a long, hot summer's work.

Jan 08 2007 | Read Full Review of The Summer of 1787: The Men W...

Book Reporter

He notes that direct popular election of the President was summarily rejected at the convention, but in a brief appendix he concludes briskly that the reasons given for creating the much-debated electoral college system no longer apply.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summer of 1787: The Men W...

Suite 101

A challenging new book aims to change forever the perception of Stone Age Britons from the primitive to the sophisticated.

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