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Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life…
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Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin (Lives of…

by Bill Kauffman

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This is a life of Luther Martin, one of the most eloquent opponents of the Constitution, whose criticisms within the convention and later outside it during the ratification process made one of the strongest cases against it. Usually, historians have seen him as being on the "wrong side" of history, but Kauffman, as a modern libertarian decentralist, feels Martin was basically right. Personally, as a statist, I do not agree philosophically with Martin or Kauffman, but I think there is no doubt that (as Kauffman repeatedly insists) the Federalist Founding Fathers were as human and fallible as their opponents (if not more so) and Martin had a right to make his case and point to the rather dubious methods used to rush through ratification. Kauffman does not pretend Martin was always right, especially in later life when his notorious drinking caught with him, but he does cover not only the constitutional debate but also Martin's significant role as a successful defense attorney for Samuel Chase (Federalist judge impeached by the Jeffersonians) and Aaron Burr (who later repaid Martin's help by taking Martin in during his senile poverty-stricken old age.) ( )
  antiquary | Aug 4, 2017 |
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