Read Business of May Next: James Madison and the Founding by William Lee Miller Online


"Good fortune offered this nation an unusual chance at ideal nation-forming and... some honorable leaders seized that chance, " writes William Lee Miller in The Business of May Next, and none among the founders made more of the opportunity than did James Madison, subject of this engaging work. Madison is depicted during the critical years between 1784 and 1791, when he was"Good fortune offered this nation an unusual chance at ideal nation-forming and... some honorable leaders seized that chance, " writes William Lee Miller in The Business of May Next, and none among the founders made more of the opportunity than did James Madison, subject of this engaging work. Madison is depicted during the critical years between 1784 and 1791, when he was so active in articulating the governmental aims of the fledgling nation that he sometimes found himself in official dialogue with himself. More than simply a historical and biographical account, the book traces Madison's political and theoretical development as a means of illuminating its larger theme, the moral and intellectual underpinnings of the American nation. With a sound grasp of his material and a refreshing style Miller reveals how Madison's research into republics and his influence on the writing of the Constitution are central to the values for which the nation stands. From an examination of Madison's notes, Miller traces Madison's early research into other republics and their weaknesses. He reveals how Madison's thinking shaped the Virginia Plan, which, in turn, shaped the United States Constitution and the nation's institutions. The author writes that Madison sought the strands of Republicanism in history and gave republican ideals new and lasting institutional expression. He shows how the making of republican institutions became a collaboration, and how the newly created institutions contained within themselves provision for their own continuing alteration and for the involvement and influence of collective humanity down through the years. Miller follows Madison through the Constitutional Convention("the business of May next") to the great national argument on behalf of the Constitution, notably through the Federalist papers. Of particular interest are his discussions of the constitutional deliberations over religious freedom and the institution of slavery....

Title : Business of May Next: James Madison and the Founding
Author :
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ISBN : 9780813914909
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 312 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Business of May Next: James Madison and the Founding Reviews

  • Shannon
    2019-02-23 20:36

    This review integrates my thoughts on two books: The Business of May Next by William Lee Miller, and Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.The Most Influential Founding FatherMy son had to write a school essay on which Founding Father has had the most lasting influence on U.S. government. Nearly everyone agrees that this is no easy choice, since there are several of them who were indispensable to the founding, and several others who were indispensable to setting the stage for the founding to begin. So we're going to limit our discussion to those contributions directly related to the workings of today's government.Given that limitation, we can narrow the choices down to James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. If you don't know much about either of them, you're not alone. Neither has occupied the honored positions of esteem held by Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin. Thanks to the charming and popular Dolley Madison, people have not forgotten completely her husband's name nor his tireless years of work to compose, rally support for, defend, and ratify the great Constitution that still does a wondrous job of holding us together more than 200 years later. Jean Fritz has written a children's biography entitled The Great Little Madison. Here I must add that I love Jean Fritz's books. She doesn't spend her energy bashing historical figures, but she presents them, with plenty of gentle humor, as real people and not as demigods as Jefferson referred to them when writing about the Federal Convention of 1787. I also recommend William Lee Miller's The Business of May Next: James Madison & the Founding. This book describes Madison's thorough education typical of many of the Founders, preparing him for his thorough self-guided education on republics and why they had failed. He studied every book he could find about every republic with lasting records and ascertained that the one common theme that lead to failure was weakness at the center. He was a revolutionary revolutionary because not only was he passionate about the experiment of self-government, he was passionate about creating a strong enough central government to preserve the ability to self-govern. So far nobody has discovered a precedent for that. James Madison could have aptly been called “the revolutionary who thinks.” Because he was so short, studious, lacked charisma, and had a quiet voice, we might be surprised at how much influence Madison had in making changes. Here's a guy who for nearly three years wrote almost non-stop, first to consolidate his ideas and come up with a workable framework, then to take notes on every detail of every day at the Federal Convention in Philadelphia, and finally to join Hamilton in the Federalist project to convince the public of the great need to ratify the Constitution. Although Madison was not entirely happy with the Constitution itself, he had the wisdom to know when compromise must be made in order to achieve a greater goal. He was even clever enough to figure out how to defend those items that were really indefensible in his view so that the public would see what a wonderful document they were going to have if they would only ratify. Once the ratifying conventions began in the states, Madison had the monumental task of winning over the delegates of the Virginia Convention. Here again he showed the ability to compromise with different factions to get their support of the Constitution. If you have not read about the Virginia Convention, you are missing a great historical drama. The eloquent Patrick Henry made the kind of emotional appeal that modern movie soundtracks make today. How would Madison stand up against that? Even the elements seemed to be on Henry's side when a tremendous storm arose during his impassioned warning against ratification, “We have it in our power to secure the happiness of one-half of the human race.” Virginia ratified by the narrowest of margins and became the 10th state. Madison immediately dispatched the word to Hamilton, who was battling the enemy in New York. Alexander Hamilton was a latecomer to the founding of the United States. I haven't seen a lot of children's books about Hamilton, maybe because he came from a most broken of broken homes in the British West Indies where he was exposed to things we try to keep children away from, or perhaps it's impossible to separate the painful discrepancies marring his personal conduct from the brilliance of his life as a whole. At any rate, through calamitous and providential events, the teenage Hamilton found himself sailing to America in 1772. When I read Ron Chernow's book Alexander Hamilton, I get a picture of a tragic hero. He had the good fortune to settle in New York where he found those who appreciated his astounding genius and endurance as well as those who were immeasurably jealous. Early on Hamilton proved himself worthy at every turn, most importantly as Washington's first officer during the early battles of the Revolutionary War. It is still incredible that someone with his background and resources could follow the political course he followed. In 1787 Hamilton represented New York at the Federal Convention. Since the delegates voted that each state would only get one vote, Hamilton was consistently outvoted by the other New York delegates doing the job they had been planted there to do. This was just one of the painfully frustrating experiences of his political career. In addition to being a genius, Hamilton was outspoken and charismatic, full of energy and unstoppable. These characteristics facilitated his rise to power as well as his tragic end. Hamilton took it upon himself to recruit Madison and others to launch The Federalist project in order to get the states to ratify the Constitution. This involved volumes of writing that perhaps no other could have completed—especially in the short time-frame in which it had to be done. After Hamilton almost singlehandedly pushed New York through to ratification, he remained at the center of American politics.Most people know that as Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton started the National Bank which helped keep the country solvent. That's why he's on the $10 bill, right? Maybe, but most people don't know that Hamilton's prophetic vision of the economic future of the United States is what has made it rich. Well, his vision as well as his driving energy. He continually astounded the legislature with his proposals-—nobody could keep up with his thought processes. He not only created a system to pay off the nation's debts, but he created an infrastructure that led rapidly to wealth and power and remains essentially intact to this day. Hamilton's boundless confidence and revolutionary ideas angered many people, and since he was doing much more than anyone else, jealous leaders saw him as a kingdom builder and a monarchist. Perhaps no founder in American history has had more unfounded falsehoods spread about him. George Washington, thankfully, had great faith in Hamilton and protected him from his enemies so he could continue his work.Since we're talking about lasting influence, we won't go into Hamilton's death or personal events of his life. But I will point out that his widow, Elizabeth Shuyler Hamilton, who outlived him by 50 years, spent much of her life working to preserve her husband's legacy.And honestly, I still don't know who to choose to answer the question, “Which Founder has had the most lasting influence on U.S. Government?” Without Madison we may not have ever had the Constitution, but without Hamilton, the nation may not have become strong enough to pay its debts or defend itself—and it may not have lasted. So I guess you'll have to decide.

  • Babyflake
    2019-03-21 17:41

    if you were ever inspired by the United States Constitution, and wondered how it has come to being, this book is the focal point of its soul, heart and intellect. From his reading and thinking, James Madison formed his own ideas, which described as Virginia Plan, which plan shaped the United States Constitution, which Constitution shaped our governmental institutions, which institutions affect all people in Virginia and elsewhere in our new republic, AND elsewhere around the world! If you ever wonder why illegal immigrants around the world want to risk their lives and to leave behind what they have to start over in this country, you might find you answer in this book. It sure will inspire you.