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date: 16 December 2017

Abstract and Keywords

James Madison, the chief architect of the United States Constitution, drafted an introduction to notes from the proceedings of the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Unlike modern interpreters, which tend to view the U.S. Constitution as the blueprint of a liberal democratic society that protects the rights of individuals and minorities from the actions of overbearing majorities, Madison saw the Constitution as a plan of union between independent state-republics. It represented an attempt to reform the already existing union between the states that had been put in place by the chapters of Confederation. Until recently, few historians regarded international politics and problems of federalism as the main impetus for constitutional reform. Instead, it was usually argued that the Constitution was primarily an attempt to counteract the alarming revolutionary democratization of state politics. In recent years, historians have begun to focus on foreign affairs and federalism—the very issues emphasized by Madison.

Keywords: Constitution, James Madison, United States, state-republics, federal union, constitutional reform, chapters of Confederation, federalism, international politics, foreign affairs

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