Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Excerpt from The Shut Mouth Society

Dealing with sensitive social issues in a novel can be difficult. Racism is a theme that runs through The Shut Mouth Society.


He had been fuming ever since Baldwin quit talking. He had enjoyed the last half hour of civility and hated to ruin it. Making a decision, he said, “Professor, I should tell you that I get angry when someone throws the racist accusation around.”

“Oh.” She hesitated. “There’s a dictionary definition of racist, and Lincoln fits within that strict definition. His own words indict him, but I didn’t mean it to be as derogatory as you might think. Remember, I said a man must be judged in his time, and nearly everyone was racist back then.” When Evarts didn’t comment she asked, “You have some scar tissue?”

“As any cop, especially one that grew up and works in a rich white enclave.”

“Doesn’t your friendship with Abraham Douglass grant you absolution?” 

“It means nothing to those who use the epithet politically, and it means everything to real racists.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Federalist Papers at Constituting America

Tempest at Dawn is a dramatization of the constitutional convention of 1787. The recent publication of my novel has gotten a lot of attention, especially by people concerned about focusing the country's attention on the United States Constitution.

I wrote two essays for Constituting America. Janine Turner and Cathy Gillespie founded Constituting America to "reach, educate and inform America's youth and her citizens about the importance of the U.S. Constitution."

This is an except from my essay on Federalist 60:

"One is struck by the recurrence of the checks and balances theme—in Madison’s convention notes, the Constitution itself, the Federalist Papers, and the minutes of the ratification conventions. There can be no doubt that the Founders believed that liberty depended on one part of the government acting as an effective check on all other parts of the government, and that meant between the national branches and between the states and the national government. The Founders abhorred concentrated power. They believed that only through judiciously balanced power—constituted by dissimilar modes—could liberty survive the natural tendency of man to dictate the habits of other men."

These links will take you to the full essays.