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Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 Reported by James Madison

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  14 reviews
This handsome, affordable paperback edition contains James Madison's entire narrative of the stirring historic debates that led to the creation of one of the free world's most respected documents: the Constitution of the United States. Madison's clear and precise account of the historic summer of 1787 is the primary record of the events that established the United States ...more
Paperback, 695 pages
Published April 1st 1987 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published May 1st 1969)
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Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Art by: Chris burkett
Shelves: slavery, pennsylvania
Original notes from the Constitutional Convention.
Madison at his best.
Great study to go along w/Federalist Papers.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a long, dry read, not least because the delegates went round and round in circles over the same issues for months. Even at the end of August they were still bickering over representation, and some delegates were trying to reopen debates that seemed to have already been decided. It's honestly a miracle that they ever agreed to anything at all. "On the question for a committee to prepare a bill of rights" on September 12, nearly everyone voted no. I think they were just tired at that ...more
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
There’s lots of chatter in the States about returning the Constitution to its authors’ intent. It comes from folks who, having probably not read that slim document, couldn’t be expected to read 700+ pages of notes by the most prominent of those authors; in which they’d learn that their assumptions about that intent are… asinine. Of course, asininity presumes an incapability of learning…. Given Madison’s prolix in his Federalist Papers, his Notes have surprising brevity and clarity (their length ...more
Wolf DeVoon
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Day by day account of the Federal Convention, far more detailed than official records. Essential reading if you want to understand the motives and concerns of the Framers, none of whom got what they hoped to achieve. Persuasion was useless, compromise was an exasperating solution. If you don't want to buy the book, search Avalon at Yale. You can read Madison's Debates free with handy hyperlinks to related material.

Franklin's proposal of a judiciary to be elected by lawyers was wonderful, and I
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To read this book allows us to enter the actual debates as our Founders were discussing the wording and reasoning to our Constitution. Every politician should be required to read this, and it should be taught to every American. We do not have to guess at what the Founding Fathers might have meant to say. We do not have to be content hearing a politician take one clause and explain it as being contrary to the intent of the Founders. We can read in their own words what they said, and we can, ...more
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think this is one of the books that you imagine can't possibly be interesting (imagine reading a secretary's meeting minutes, who voted for what, the silly debates and power struggles)...yet, it really brought the whole process to life for me. Normally history is quite dry and seems so removed. I felt invested in the outcome of all the discussions.

I read this for an intro to political science course, so perhaps the class discussion helped make the book interesting. Nevertheless, my overall
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-history
These notes are the standard of truth about the debates. Madison was passionate about a constitution. He had the best library on the subject at the time, thanks in part to Jefferson sending additions from Europe. Waiting for all participants to pass, he found himself the lone survivor. After his death, they were published.
Aug 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
This is the text for the only class I ever took because the book looked interesting, and it's the only textbook I've ever looked forward to reading every day. Absolutely fascinating first-hand look at the framing of the Constitution.
Michael Anderson
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Madison's telling of the American Constitutional convention. The essential first hand account.
Jun 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
James Madison's notes. A long slog, but ultimately rewarding. Where have all the statesmen gone?
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a great first hand account of the convention.
Dan Cotter
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Original notes by James Madison.
Purple Wimple
Jun 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: law-school
I was pleasantly surprised at how readable these are. And how insightful! Skip the commentaries about these notes-- just read the notes!
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James Madison, Jr. was an American politician and the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817), and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Madison was the last founding father to die. Considered to be the "Father of the Constitution", he was the principal author of the document. In 1788, he wrote over a third of the Federalist Papers, still the most influential commentary on ...more
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