A classic history of the Federal Convention at Philadelphia in 1787, the stormy, dramatic session that produced the most enduring of political documents: the Constitution of the United States.
From Catherine Drinker Bowen, noted American biographer and National Book Award winner, comes the canonical account of the Constitutional Convention recommended as "required reading for every American." Looked at straight from the records, the Federal Convention is startlingly fresh and new, and Mrs. Bowen evokes it as if the reader were actually there, mingling with the delegates, hearing their arguments, witnessing a dramatic moment in history.
Here is the fascinating record of the hot, sultry summer months of debate and decision when ideas clashed and tempers flared. Here is the country as it was then, described by contemporaries, by Berkshire farmers in Massachusetts, by Patrick Henry's Kentucky allies, by French and English travelers. Here, too, are the offstage voices—Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine and John Adams from Europe.
In all, fifty-five men attended; and in spite of the heat, in spite of clashing interests—the big states against the little, the slave states against the anti-slave states—in tension and anxiety that mounted week after week, they wrote out a working plan of government and put their signatures to it.
"To understand the fundamental issues that divided the states and the spirit of toleration that finally overcame them, the reading of a single book could make a difference. This is Catherine Drinker Bowen's Miracle at Philadelphia, a remarkable account of the men and issues of that historic gathering."—New York Times