All too many people on the Left and also on the Right (that is, progressives and reactionaries) view history as the story of how good was defeated by bad. This is one way of looking at history, but hardly the most useful way. Leftists, starting probably with the anti-Federalists long before Charles Beard, found the Constitution a document for the rich. For reactionaries, the Constitution was a document for everyone and for all time regardless of changes and developments the Founders could never anticipate. Both groups, on and off the Supreme Court, still maintain these rigid views.

Professor Wilentz takes up the slavery problem and sees clearly that the Constitution neither condemned slavery nor supported it as a good thing; it merely recognized that it existed. It is a pleasure to see such common sense in an academic. Actually, most academics have common sense, but those who make headlines often do not. Congratulations to Professor Wilentz.

Norman Ravitch *62
Savannah, Ga.