The Philadelphia convention of 1787 looms enormous in many accounts of U.S. constitutional history, serving as the set piece in which various and muddled worldviews, theories, interests, and allegiances gelled into a coherent science and structure of politics. The Convention thus becomes time zero in the chronology of U.S. political and constitutional development, a finite and forward-looking first moment defining, for good or ill, the terms according which subsequent debates regarding the nature of U S. government would be conducted.
Alison L. LaCroix is assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. <[email protected]>. She would like to thank David Armitage, Bernard Bailyn, Richard B. Bernstein, William Birdthistle, Adam Cox, Christine Desan, Noah Feldman, Robert Gordon, Morton Horwitz, Daniel Hamilton, Bernard Harcourt, Daniel Hulsebosch, James Kloppenberg, Larry Kramer, Saul Levmore, Serena Mayeri, William Nelson, Claire Priest, John Phillip Reid, Rebecca Rix, Adam Samaha, David Strauss, Cass Sunstein, the anonymous reviewers for Law and History Review, and the members of the University of Chicago Law School Faculty Workshop and the New York University Law School Legal History Colloquium for their helpful comments and discussion.