Now Kiernan and D’Agnese have turned their attention to the 39 men who put their names to the U.S. Constitution in
The United States was on the verge of a vast political collapse. The Articles of Confederation were too weak to govern such a large new nation. Some citizens feared the idea of a strong central government. After Shay’s Rebellion, the wealthy feared anarchy and mob justice. Many predicted a civil war. But 1787, representatives from the states converged in Philadelphia to hammer out a governing system that would work. Many of them were battle-hardened militarists who’d served in the War- others were profound legal scholars. Many of them were just as quirky and flawed as the elected officials we have today.
• David Brearley of New Jersey wanted to erase state boundaries and start over.
• Rufus King of New York ran for president or vice president every few years, lost every time.
• Henry Williamson of North Carolina was said to believe in aliens.
• Robert Morris of Philadelphia went to prison and died penniless.
• John Rutledge of South Carolina attempted suicide twice.
• Gouverneur Morris of New York, a peg legged playboy, once set his sights on Dolly Madison.
With 39 mini-biographies, a Constitutional Cheat Sheet, and a dust jacket that unfolds into a facsimile of the Constitution, Signing Their Rights Away offers an entertaining and enlightening narrative for history buffs of all ages.
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