Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787
Imprint: Ohio University Press
718 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: March 1987
- Published: August 2022
James Madison’s record of the Constitutional Convention traces day by day the debates held from May to September 1787 and presents the only complete picture we have of the strategy, interests, and ideas of the Founders at the convention itself.
In this indispensable primary document, Madison not only provides detailed insights into one of the great events of US history, but clearly sets forth his own position on such issues as the balance of powers, the separation of functions, and the general role of the federal government. More than in Federalist, which shows the carefully formalized conclusions of his political thought, we see in Debates his philosophy in action, evolving in daily tension with the viewpoints of the other delegates. It is for this reason that Debates is invaluable for placing in perspective the incomplete records of such well-known figures as Rufus King and Alexander Hamilton, and the constitutional plans of such men as Edmund Randolph and Charles Pinckney.
Madison’s contemporaries regarded him as the chief statesmen at the Philadelphia convention; in addition to this, his record outranks in importance all the other writings of the founders of the American republic. He is thus identified, as no other man is, with the making of the Constitution and the correct interpretation of the intentions of its drafters.
New to this edition of Debates is a thorough, scholarly index of some two thousand entries.
“The one invaluable source for the Federal Convention is, of course, James Madison’s Notes of Debates…. essential for all libraries.” — Harvard Law Review
“An important book…. Certainly this volume should be added to the collection of every library.” — Choice
“In our day when the constitution is often interpreted out of context, or even in an alien context, all who truly revere the Constitution should be conversant with Madison’s Notes, in which are set forth the purposes of the Founding Fathers.” — Journal of Southern History