I’ve learned a lot from Richard Brookhiser’s short books on the founding fathers, so I especially enjoyed his review of Pauline Maier’s new book on the (incredible) history of the ratification of the Constitution. Brookhiser summarizes the history on offer in Maeier’s book and concludes:
Maier does not lard her conclusion with Big Thoughts, so let me rush in. The ratification process was a tribute to what Nathan Dane of Massachusetts, a reluctant convert to the Constitution, called “the attention of this intelligent people.” Elites who disdain or ignore their fellow citizens come to grief. Witness the mess of the European Union, made and run by Brussels wire-pullers. Americans who tut-tut about our political process sometimes have a point — we can always do better –but sometimes they go too far. The process was not that different in 1787-88, and we did all right.
It’s “the attention of this intelligent people” that we fervently hope will assert itself on November 2.