About this Book Review
In writing the history of the proposal and ratification of the Bill of Rights, Carol Berkin made the eminently sensible decision to focus on James Madison. Were it not for Madison, who proposed and shepherded the Bill of Rights through the First Congress, it is unlikely that the Bill of Rights would have taken the form it did. Indeed, it is possible that it would not have happened. This is because hardcore supporters were too few to win majority votes, and opponents believed that the First Congress had more important things to do. Hence, the Bill of Rights can be explained only by way of Madison, who himself underwent a conversion of sorts. He was against the Bill of Rights before he was for it.
In Berkin’s presentation, Madison became a supporter of the Bill of Rights because he believed he could crush the anti-Federalist opposition by co-opting the one policy that united them. But Berkin says that Madison also changed his mind about the merits of the Bill of Rights in that he came to hold a “profound, and much broader understanding of a bill of rights,” namely, that “it might be able to directly shape—and regulate the behavior of the community itself” (p. 42). There is some tension in Berkin’s presentation of these two objectives. In the epilogue, she concludes that historical development has “fulfilled James Ma
To continue reading, see options above.
About PSQ's EditorDemetrios James Caraley
Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.
From the Archives
LONDON TERRORIST ATTACK
Tactical Advantages of Terror
RICHARD BETTS applies offense-defense theory to explain the intense advantages that terrorist groups have in launching offensive strikes and in exploiting the defenses that a nation can put up in this era of globalization and asymmetric warfare.
Search the Archives
Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilsonview additional issues
Articles | Book reviews
Academy of Political Science
The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.
Political Science Quarterly
With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.