University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Constitutional documents and records, 1776-1787

Cushman, Robert Eugene, 1889-1969
Introduction and acknowledgments,   pp. 9-16

Page 9

Introduction and Acknowledgments
By Robert E. Cushman
Before his death Robert E. Cushman prepared a first volume con-
taining the official documents recording the action of the Confedera-
tion Congress on the Constitution and the ratification of the Con-
stitution by Delaware and Pennsylvania. The change in editorship
was followed by a major reorganization of the scope and content of
the project. As a result Dr. Cushman's volume has been replaced by
this volume of Constitutional Documents and Records, 1776-1787.
However, as a tribute to Dr. Cushman's devoted labors, we are pre-
senting here his introduction and his acknowledgments to the people
who worked with him during his years as editor. [Ed.]
The Constitution of the United States is the greatest achievement of
American creative statesmanship. This judgment of it has grown
more firm and universal as the Constitution has proved adequate
over the years to serve the needs of a great and growing nation.
The editors of this documentary history of the ratification of the
Constitution, having examined the records which comprise that his-
tory, believe that the ratification of the Constitution, against the
obstacles and uncertainties which it faced, stands out as a construc-
tive political achievement second only to the drafting of the Consti-
tution itself. The political maturity and statesmanship necessary to
achieve ratification were not limited to a few outstanding leaders,
but were exhibited by shrewd and tough-minded men all the way
from New Hampshire to Georgia; the bitter controversies which had
to be won were scattered up and down the Atlantic seaboard as well
as in the back country; and, in the cases of North Carolina and Rhode
Island, a good deal of time was necessary to achieve victory. If, how-
ever, the entire struggle for ratification is viewed as a whole, the fact
that will emerge most conspicuously is the political maturity and wis-
dom shown both by those who favored ratification and by those
who did not. Had this quality been lacking in the leaders as well as
in the rank and file of citizens of the American states when they faced
the issue to ratify or reject the new Constitution, the work of the
Federal Convention might have gone for naught, and the hopes for
a firm national government might have been frustrated for many years.

Go up to Top of Page