While by no means an expert on the Founding Fathers or the creation of the United States Constitution, I chose to tackle this book to further flesh out the story surrounding the founding of America and the entrenched rules by which it would run. DeRose examines the lives of the two Virginia Jameses, Madison and Monroe, as well as the influential roles they played in the early stages of American independence. This book examines their clashes, teamwork, and the efforts both put into creating what would be the US Constitution during the late 18th century. While they were able to work together to shape the latter years of colonial North America, where Monroe could play a key role in the Continental Congress, it was the formal election of 1789 that shaped America, with Monroe and Madison running against one another. Madison was the firm constitutionalist and was, like Alexander Hamilton, well-versed in the nuances of the legal language surrounding the rules of the state. DeRose argues that the aforementioned election was a major turning point in the state and American history, since Madison won and went on to Congress to present amendments to the constitutional document, eventually called the Bill of Rights. Without these changes, America would have easily been sunk into a quagmire and civil unrest would surely have led to a war within the states, with the ink still wet on the new U.S. Constitution. DeRose effectively shows how it was Madison’s openness to freedoms and the hands-off approach when it came to religion that kept the thirteen colonies sated and permitted the eventually expansion of the Union. Had Monroe claimed victory, none of that would have come to pass, leaving Washington that the likely sole president of the offshoot Union, which might have collapsed in on itself. A powerful set of arguments surrounding these key moments in early American history, the only time two men who would be future presidents squared off in a congressional election, leaves the reader to learn much from DeRose’s research.