George Washington Book Prize Goes to Pauline Maier for Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788Historians in the News
MOUNT VERNON, Va., May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The seventh annual George Washington Book Prize, co-sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington's Mount Vernon, honoring the year's best book about America's founding era, has been awarded to Pauline Maier for Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 (Simon & Schuster, 2010). Maier, author of five previous books on the history of revolutionary America, received the $50,000 prize Wednesday evening, May 25, at a black-tie dinner at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.
"This book will really prove to be an eye-opener to many people who think that drafting the Constitution was the end of a long road to creating a strong and effective government," said Mount Vernon's president, James C. Rees. "But getting the document ratified was an uphill struggle most historians ignore, and on more than one occasion, the entire unification process was almost doomed to failure."
The debates over drafting the Constitution that took place in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 have long been enshrined in American history. But Maier's book reveals an equally dramatic and essential -- though almost forgotten -- series of debates that played out during the year that followed, as citizens, journalists, and politicians argued state-by-state over whether to ratify the nation's founding document....
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