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Commentaries on the Constitution: Public and Private, asix volume set, is an integral but autonomous part of the Ratification series. The documents in this volume present the day-by-day regional and national debates over the Constitution that took place in newspapers, magazines, broadsides, pamphlets, and private letters. This volume contains nearly 200 documents, many never before printed in modern editions, that suggest the political complexities involved in ratifying the Constitution, the sense of awe at what the U.S. had accomplished in drafting and adopting a new form of government founded on reason rather than force, the rivalry among states over the location of the capital, and the importance of George Washington as the inevitable first president under the Constitution. This documentary series is a research tool of remarkable power, an unrivaled reference work for historical and legal scholars, librarians, and students of the Constitution. The volumes are encyclopedic, consisting of manuscript and printed documents-contemporary newspapers, broadsides, and pamphlets-compiled from hundreds of sources, copiously annotated, thoroughly indexed, and often accompanied by microfiche supplements. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Michael Kammen has noted that The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution series "will be of enduring value centuries hence" and described it as "one of the most interesting documentary publications we have ever had." The American Bar Association Journal has stated, "Each new volume now fills another vital part of the mosaic of national history."
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John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, and Richard Leffler have been editing The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution series since 1970.Charles H. Schoenleber joined the staff in 1987.Review:
"The most important editorial project in the nation." (Leonard W. Levy, constitutional historian)
“Such documents give us a glimpse of America in 1787–88, of its people in their homes, taverns, and streets, their convictions, rituals, and customs. The DHRC captures that moment in all its complexity and powerfully demonstrates how the great documentary editions being published today can, by extending our command of the historical record, transform our knowledge and understanding of the past. It might well be, as the historian Leonard Levy once said, the most important documentary record being published today. Certainly it is the only one dedicated to uncovering the democratic component of the American founding. It is also a monumental scholarly achievement and a gift to all Americans, now and in the future, who want to know how our nation came into being.” (Pauline Maier, historian and author of Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788)
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