The Anti-Federalist Luther Martin of Maryland is known to us - if he is known at all - as the wild man of the Constitutional Convention: a verbose, frequently drunken radical who annoyed James Madison, George Washington, Gouverneur Morris, and the other giants responsible for the creation of the Constitution. In Bill Kauffman's rollicking account of his turbulent life and times, Martin is a fitfully charming reprobate, but he is also a prophetic voice, warning his heedless contemporaries and his amnesiac posterity that the Constitution, whatever its devisers' intentions, would come to be used as a blueprint for centralized government and a militaristic foreign policy.In Martin's view, the Constitution was the tool of a counterrevolution aimed at reducing the states to ciphers and at fortifying a national government whose powers to tax and coerce would be frightening. Martin delivered the most forceful and sustained attack on the Constitution ever levied - a critique that modern readers might find jarringly relevant.
And Martin's later career, though clouded by drink and scandal, found him as defense counsel in two of the great trials of the age: the Senate trial of the impeached Supreme Court justice Samuel Chase and the treason trial of his friend Aaron Burr."Kauffman's Luther Martin" is a brilliant and passionate polemicist, a stubborn and admirable defender of a decentralized republic who fights for the principles of 1776 all the way to the last ditch and the last drop. In remembering this forgotten founder, we remember also the principles that once animated many of the earliest - and many later - American patriots.
Buy Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet book by Bill Kauffman from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(197mm x 140mm x 23mm)
Publisher: ISI Books
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Author Biography - Bill Kauffman
Bill Kauffman is the author of seven previous books, among them Look Homeward, America (ISI Books, see page 21), which the American Library Association named one of the best books of 2006; and Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette, which won the 2003 national Sense of Place Award from Writers & Books. Kauffman writes for the Wall Street Journal, the American Conservative, and Orion, among other publications.