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James McHenry: Forgotten Federalist by Karen E. Robbins (review)

James McHenry: Forgotten Federalist by Karen E. Robbins (review) REVIEWS understand the opposition and what was at stake for them in ratification. More than this, by confining the context, she also limits our understanding of the Federalists and their motives, ideals, and actions. This pro-Federalist slant repeats throughout the book. Maier almost always depicts the Federalists in flattering terms. They are an ``illustrious set of men'' with ``intellectual heft'' (216), who did things based on principle. When Federalists act in seemingly questionable ways, like rushing the ratification elections in Pennsylvania, Maier assures us it is for noble objectives, like obtaining the ``glory'' (62) of being the first state to ratify. Meanwhile, she saves her negative descriptors for the opposition. She deems those who spoke against the Constitution as ``cantankerous'' (69), ``crusty'' (130), ``contentious'' (134), ``notorious'' (160), ``less impressive'' (185) in debates, and prone to making a ``long and rambling speech'' (272) or offering an ``intemperate remark'' rather than ``a reasoned inquiry'' (188). It's as if Maier, who says she is trying to compensate for the one-sided newspaper coverage and record keeping, knows that the sources are badly biased and designed to ridicule the opposition but just can't help herself. Hopefully, the next scholar who promises a fair http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

James McHenry: Forgotten Federalist by Karen E. Robbins (review)

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 34 (4) – Nov 24, 2014

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
Publisher site
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Abstract

REVIEWS understand the opposition and what was at stake for them in ratification. More than this, by confining the context, she also limits our understanding of the Federalists and their motives, ideals, and actions. This pro-Federalist slant repeats throughout the book. Maier almost always depicts the Federalists in flattering terms. They are an ``illustrious set of men'' with ``intellectual heft'' (216), who did things based on principle. When Federalists act in seemingly questionable ways, like rushing the ratification elections in Pennsylvania, Maier assures us it is for noble objectives, like obtaining the ``glory'' (62) of being the first state to ratify. Meanwhile, she saves her negative descriptors for the opposition. She deems those who spoke against the Constitution as ``cantankerous'' (69), ``crusty'' (130), ``contentious'' (134), ``notorious'' (160), ``less impressive'' (185) in debates, and prone to making a ``long and rambling speech'' (272) or offering an ``intemperate remark'' rather than ``a reasoned inquiry'' (188). It's as if Maier, who says she is trying to compensate for the one-sided newspaper coverage and record keeping, knows that the sources are badly biased and designed to ridicule the opposition but just can't help herself. Hopefully, the next scholar who promises a fair

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Nov 24, 2014

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