The experience of the American Revolution influenced the creation of the United States Constitution. James Madison, often called the architect of the Constitution, synthesized the problems the new nation faced after the Revolutionary War with lessons he gleaned from governments in world history to recommend a revolutionary structure of a national government by the people. Delegates at ratification conventions, rather than representatives in state legislatures, considered the constitution proposed by delegates who met in Philadelphia in 1787. Opponents of the constitution came to be known as Anti-Federalists while supporters called themselves Federalists. James Madison’s ideas about factions in Federalist 10 and checks and balances in Federalist 51 are key elements in understanding the constitution adopted on the condition the first Congress would add a bill of rights.
Professor Cornell is the author of two prize-winning works in American legal history. He is one of the nation’s leading authorities on early American constitutional thought. His work has been widely cited by legal scholars, historians, and has been cited by the U.S Supreme Court and several state supreme courts. Professor Cornell has also been a leading advocate of using new media to teach history and is the author of a new American history text book, Visions of America. This path breaking book uses visual materials to illustrate the competing visions that have shaped American history.