Revisiting the heyday of department stores and five-and-dimes

John Hancock

The no-names behind our Constitution

The no-names behind our Constitution

On Sept. 17, 1787 members of the Constitutional Convention completed their work. The myth of the historical coverage of this 100-day tour de force is that the confab would make for a good Hollywood movie, highlighted by an articulate and handsome lead cast, a spirit of unanimity and good will, and minor characters dedicated to attendance and hard work. The reality, on the other hand, is that most of the lead and secondary casts consisted of names that neither schoolchildren nor historians would be forced to memorize or readily recount.

Some of the big names of the American Revolutionary era weren't there: John Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock and Samuel...