Eavesdropping on the Vox Populi

Alison L. LaCroix

This review of Pauline Maier’s Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 (2010) and Jack N. Rakove’s Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America (2010) analyzes the books’ treatment of the themes of commerce, constitutionalism, and the role of uncertainty in the American founding. The review also discusses the authors’ distinctive methodological approaches and considers the strengths and weaknesses of a narrative approach to writing the history of the period.