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The Law Library Commemorated Constitution Day with a Book Talk by Professor Michael J. Klarman

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The Law Library of Congress commemorated Constitution Day a little early this year with a book talk by Harvard Law Professor Michael J. Klarman on September 12th. Professor Klarman discussed his book, The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution. Prof. Klarman referred to the Philadelphia convention as a coup because the delegates defied their instructions in crafting a new design for a federal government that was much more nationalist and anti-populist in design than the Articles of the Confederation. Despite the Federalists’ success in crafting a strong federal government, the document still had to be ratified by nine of the thirteen states to become operative. Many of these states had enacted populist legislation, such as debtor relief acts, earlier in the decade which was antithetical to the Framers’ view of government. How did the Federalists overcome Anti-Federalist objections to the new model of government? Watch Prof. Klarman discuss how a combination of guile and good fortune on the part of the Federalists led to the ratification of the United States Constitution, a document that has endured to become one of the world’s longest surviving, written charters of government.

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