Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution by Woody Holton

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Synopsis

Average Americans Were the True Framers of the Constitution



Woody Holton upends what we think we know of the Constitution's origins by telling the history of the average Americans who challenged the framers of the Constitution and forced on them the revisions that produced the document we now venerate. The framers who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 were determined to reverse America's post–Revolutionary War slide into democracy. They believed too many middling Americans exercised too much influence over state and national policies. That the framers were only partially successful in curtailing citizen rights is due to the reaction, sometimes violent, of unruly average Americans.



If not to protect civil liberties and the freedom of the people, what motivated the framers? In Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution, Holton provides the startling discovery that the primary purpose of the Constitution was, simply put, to make America more attractive to investment. And the linchpin to that endeavor was taking power away from the states and ultimately away from the people. In an eye-opening interpretation of the Constitution, Holton captures how the same class of Americans that produced Shays's Rebellion in Massachusetts (and rebellions in damn near every other state) produced the Constitution we now revere.



Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution is a 2007 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.



 

About Woody Holton

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Woody Holton is an associate professor of history at the University of Richmond and the author of the award-winning book Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia.
 
Published October 14, 2008 by Hill and Wang. 388 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Holton painstakingly locates all the key political figures of the era within the divisive, argumentative Continental Congress, including Washington, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson and Madison, explaining how each was affected by the fiscal turmoil roiling the land.

Oct 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Unruly Americans and the Orig...

Publishers Weekly

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The framers, Holton says, distrusted the middling farmers who made up much of America’s voting population, and believed governance should be left in large part to the elites.

Jul 09 2007 | Read Full Review of Unruly Americans and the Orig...

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