pennsylvania history author labels the Articles of Confederation “America’s first constitution.” In fact, by the time that the Articles were sent to the states for ratification in November 1777, there were already thirteen constitutions. Like most historians before him, the author neglects the significance of those state constitutions. Those documents offer glimpses of the concepts of American government that powerful state leaders brought with them to Philadelphia in 1787. In many ways those charters, rather than the Articles of Confederation, serve as the foundation upon which the Constitution was built. It is a topic that deserves much more scholarly attention. Despite this flaw, Van Cleve successfully provides “an alternative view that does not fall squarely in either (interpretative) camp” (8). In so doing he pro- vides an important addition to our understanding of the travails the United States faced under the Articles of Confederation. paul e. doutrich York College of Pennsylvania Sheila L. Skemp. The Making of a Patriot: Benjamin Franklin at the Cockpit. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Critical Historical Encounters. Pp. 184. Hardcover, $28.95; paperback, $14.95. Historians of America’s revolution often stumble when they attempt to con- nect over-neat narratives of Quaker Pennsylvania with Puritan New
Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Apr 11, 2019
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