Pauline Maier is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History at M.I.T. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1968. She is the author of several books and textbooks on American history, including From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776, The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams, and American Scripture, which was on the New York Times Book Review "Editor's Choice" list of the best 11 books of 1997 and a finalist in General Nonfiction for the National Book Critics' Circle Award.
The debates over and ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787-1788 have been described as "the first great stroke of popular democracy in America and perhaps its most successful and momentous as well." This week on dialogue host John Milewski is joined by Pauline Maier, to discuss her new book Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788. Maier draws on new sources to illustrate how the document we revere today as the foundation of our country's laws and the cornerstone of our legal system was not easily ratified but hotly contested in a year long debate which riveted the entire country.