I was excited about this week’s book, “Founding Rivals”, because it was written by a Pepperdine Law School classmate of mine, Chris DeRose. I met Chris during the summer after the first year of law school, when we both attended a London “summer abroad” program. (Chris is on the left in the picture below taken during our trip to England)
Chris is a superb writer, and I was amazed at the great job he did of making the events leading up to the signing of the Constitution—and its ratification afterwards—interesting!
I think Americans generally view the Constitution as the law of the land, and that its creation was based upon a solid agreement of the founding fathers. Chris’ book dispels that myth, in that the Constitution, its ratification and agreement by the states (at the time our country was founded), only occurred after critical elections, and after painstaking Constitutional conventions. It could have just as easily been decided to have the Constitution thrown out and something else put in its place—or even worse—having a confederacy of states without any uniform legal rules. I guess that would have made the U.S. something more like European countries.
The focus of Founding Rivals is on a single election involving James Madison and James Monroe (and important events that shaped the lives of the two men). As Chris states:
“But for the result of one election, the United States of America might well have died in infancy.”
“On the Federalist side stood James Madison, determined to defend the Constitution and the new government he had worked so hard to create. Against him stood James Monroe, Anti-Federalist, opponent of the Constitution as written, and erstwhile ally of Madison.”
Given the current state of politics, it was refreshing to read about the greatness of some politicians at the founding of the country, and the deep respect they had to that foundation.
In summary, I am very impressed with Chris’ book, and it stands as an inspiration to others, in that, if you apply yourself, you can do amazing things—such as get a book published. Chris has an ability to draft the human background stories in a way that brought the late 1700’s to life…
In the picture below: "Founding Rivals" book displayed in my office (Chris I still want my copy signed)
*Note this is not a business book, however, it provides a great discussion about the time period of the signing and ratification of the Constitution. Also, besides being on display my second copy is on my IPAD.