Penn Professor Richard Beeman’s “Plain Honest Men” Wins 2010 George Washington Book Prize

PHILADELPHIA -- University of Pennsylvania History Professor Richard Beeman has been awarded the 2010 George Washington Book Prize for “Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution.” 

The award, which honors the most important new book about America’s founding era, comes with a $50,000 prize, the nation’s largest literary award for early American history.  The book was a finalist from among 62 nominees.

“Plain, Honest Men” is an account of the nation’s Founding Fathers who met in Philadelphia to design a radically new form of government during the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787. 

 Beeman, the author of five previous books on the history of revolutionary America, is a National Constitution Center trustee and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn.

The jury of scholars who awarded the prize described Beeman’s book as “the fullest and most authentic account of the Constitutional Convention ever written.”  They praised the author for his clear, accessible prose and his mission “to instill a sense of stewardship among 21st-century Americans, urging them to see the Constitution as not only a durable document, but a living one, unfettered by original intentions.”

The George Washington Book Prize is sponsored by a partnership of Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington's Mount Vernon. 

Additional information about the George Washinton Book Prize and previous winners is available at

See Professor Richard Beeman discuss “Plain, Honest Men” on The Daily Show: