James Madison’s Notes on the 1787 Constitutional Convention are considered the best authority on the creation of the U.S. Constitution. But how reliable is this account?
The new book Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention by Mary Sarah Bilder reveals that Madison revised the Notes to a far greater extent than previously recognized. The Notes began as a diary of the Convention’s proceedings, but Madison abandoned the project leaving the Notes incomplete. He did not return to finish them until several years later, largely for Thomas Jefferson. By then, Madison’s views were influenced by the new government’s challenges and Jefferson’s political ideas. The author uses digital technologies and textual analysis to uncover these later revisions that are invisible in the final 1840 publication. Find the book on the Law Library Balcony KF4510 .B55 2015.