The start of the book Dahl talks about his aim of the Constitution. His aim for the book is to suggest changes in the way we think and look at our constitution. He then talks about the constitutional convention. He says that only eleven out of the thirteen states sent delegates to attend the start of the convention. Rhode Island and New Hampshire sent their delegates weeks after the convention had opened. When he referred to this event he questioned why we should listen to a document that was wrote by fifty five men, who have long been died was signed but two centuries ago. Although, thirty-nine men only signed the constitution, many of them were slave owners. He insists the constitution be looked at as nothing more than a set of basic institutions or practices. .
In the next chapter Dahl talks about the compromise that would need to happen to accompany the different views of the conventions members. The views were slavery, and representation in the senate. Delegates from the five southern states opposed any changes to slavery. As for the delegates from the other seven states, they wanted to have an acceptable coexistence. Then with the representation in the senate, the smaller states wanted equal representation in the senate. If the smaller states didn't get equal representation and renounced their equality they would also renounce their liberty. The Framers then went through a phase of trying to make a democratic republic. One phase was the protorepublican phase, which was the practices, political cultures that were needed to sustain a republican government. This phase was creating a popular republic with the Declaration of Independence. The democratic republic was the next phase. Dahl also talks about some of the amendments from the constitution. He starts with the first ten, known by most as the bill of rights. When changes to the constitution were made such as the 19th, 16th, and the amendments that attempted to abolish slavery; Jefferson and Madison developed our two party system we use today.