Other books byRichard Beeman
The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution
A Fully Annotated Declaration of Independence,...
A unique and handy guide to the law of land from one of America's most esteemed constitutional scholars. Known across the country for his appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Professor Richard Beeman is one of the nation's foremost experts on the United States Constitution. In this book, he has produced what every American should have: a compact, fully annotated copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and amendments, all in their entirety. A marvel of accessibility and erudition, the guide also features a history of the making of the Consittution with excerpts from The Federalist Papers and a look at crucial Supreme Court cases that reminds us that the meaning of many of the specific provisions of the Constitution has changed over time.
The Varieties of Political Experience in Eighteenth-Century America
On the eve of the American Revolution there existed throughout the British-American colonial world a variety of contradictory expectations about the political process. Not only was there disagreement over the responsibilities of voters and candidates, confusion extended beyond elections to the relationship between elected officials and the populations they served. So varied were people's expectations that it is impossible to talk about a single American political culture in this period. InThe Varieties of Political Experience in Eighteenth-Century America, Richard R. Beeman offers an ambitious overview of political life in pre-Revolutionary America. Ranging from Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania to the backcountry regions of the South, the Mid-Atlantic, and northern New England, Beeman uncovers an extraordinary diversity of political belief and practice. In so doing, he closes the gap between eighteenth-century political rhetoric and reality. Political life in eighteenth-century America, Beeman demonstrates, was diffuse and fragmented, with America's British subjects and their leaders often speaking different political dialects altogether. Although the majority of people living in America before the Revolution would not have used the term "democracy," important changes were underway that made it increasingly difficult for political leaders to ignore "popular pressures." As the author shows in a final chapter on the Revolution, those popular pressures, once unleashed, were difficult to contain and drove the colonies slowly and unevenly toward a democratic form of government. Synthesizing a wide range of primary and secondary sources, Beeman offers a coherent account of the way politics actually worked in this formative time for American political culture.
Origins of the Constitution and American...
Beyond Confederationscrutinizes the ideological background of the U.S. Constitution, the rigors of its writing and ratification, and the problems it both faced and provoked immediately after ratification. The essays in this collection question much of the heritage of eighteenth-century constitutional thought and suggest that many of the commonly debated issues have led us away from the truly germane questions. The authors challenge many of the traditional generalizations and the terms and scope of that debate as well. The contributors raise fresh questions about the Constitution as it enters its third century. What happened in Philadelphia in 1787, and what happened in the state ratifying conventions? Why did the states—barely—ratify the Constitution? What were Americans of the 1789s attempting to achieve? The exploratory conclusions point strongly to an alternative constitutional tradition, some of it unwritten, much of it rooted in state constitutional law; a tradition that not only has redefined the nature and role of the Constitution but also has placed limitations on its efficacy throughout American history. The authors are Lance Banning, Richard Beeman, Stephen Botein, Richard D. Brown, Richard E. Ellis, Paul Finkelman, Stanley N. Katz, Ralph Lerner, Drew R. McCoy, John M. Murrin, Jack N. Rakove, Janet A. Riesman, and Gordon S. Wood.
The radical pamphlet that helped incite the American Revolution Penguin presents a series of six portable, accessible, andabove allessential reads from American political history, selected by leading scholars. Series editor Richard Beeman, author of The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, draws together the great texts of American civic life to create a timely and informative mini-library of perennially vital issues. Whether readers are encountering these classic writings for the first time, or brushing up in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, these slim volumes will serve as a powerful and illuminating resource for scholars, students, and civic-minded citizens. Common Sense is the book that created the modern United States, as Paine's incendiary call for Americans to revolt against British rule converted millions to the cause of independence and set out a vision of a just society. Published anonymously in 1776, six months before the Declaration of Independence, Common Sense was a radical and impassioned call for America to free itself and set up an independent republican government. Savagely attacking hereditary kingship and aristocratic institutions, Paine urged a new beginning for his adopted country in which personal freedom and social equality would be upheld and economic and cultural progress encouraged. His pamphlet was the first to speak directly to a mass audienceit went through fifty-six editions within a year of publicationand its assertive and often caustic style embodied the democratic spirit he advocated.