A Faction of One: Revisiting Madison's Notes on the Constitutional Convention
27 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2017 Last revised: 29 Apr 2017
Date Written: January 30, 2017
This Essay on Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention, Mary Bilder’s revisionist account (2016) of James Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention argues that her central thesis, which is that Madison substantially revised the Notes long after the Convention adjourned, is groundbreaking but will have no effect on constitutional law. Madison’s Hand is groundbreaking because the book yields many powerful insights into the deliberations of the Convention and into the evolution of Madison’s thought. Nevertheless, constitutional practice in the Supreme Court and among elite lawyers is so divorced from the Notes that even a dramatic shift in their interpretation will not disturb the evolution of judicial doctrine applying the text written in 1787.
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