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The Constitution before the Judgment Seat

The Prehistory and Ratification of the American Constitution, 1787–1791
Jürgen Heideking. Edited by John P. Kaminski and Richard Leffler
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Originally published in German in 1988, the late Jürgen Heideking's exhaustive study of the debates over the ratification of the U.S. Constitution compares the methods used to call state ratifying conventions and explores everything that made up the ratification debate, from town meetings and festive culture to private correspondence and print media. In Heideking's view, the construction of a new political process was an unintended but key result of ratification debates over the federal Constitution. Heideking's work anticipated diverse strands of subsequent scholarship; this translation can claim to provide not only an invaluable account of the ratification debates but also a master narrative for integrating future studies.