Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

3.7 183
by Joseph J. Ellis
     
 

An illuminating study of the intertwined lives of the founders of the American republic -- John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.

During the 1790s, which Ellis calls the most decisive decade in our nation's history, the greatest statesmen of their generation -- and perhaps of any --

See more details below

Overview

An illuminating study of the intertwined lives of the founders of the American republic -- John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.

During the 1790s, which Ellis calls the most decisive decade in our nation's history, the greatest statesmen of their generation -- and perhaps of any -- came together to define the new republic and direct its course for the coming centuries. Ellis focuses on six discrete moments that exemplify the most crucial issues facing the fragile new nation: Burr and Hamilton's deadly duel, and what may have really happened; Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison's secret dinner, during which the seat of the permanent capital was determined in exchange for passage of Hamilton's financial plan; Franklin's petition to end the "peculiar institution" of slavery -- his last public act -- and Madison's efforts to quash it; Washington's precedent-setting Farewell Address, announcing his retirement from public office and offering his country some final advice; Adams's difficult term as Washington's successor and his alleged scheme to pass the presidency on to his son; and finally, Adams and Jefferson's renewed correspondence at the end of their lives, in which they compared their different views of the Revolution and its legacy.

In a lively and engaging narrative, Ellis recounts the sometimes collaborative, sometimes archly antagonistic interactions between these men, and shows us the private characters behind the public personas: Adams, the ever-combative iconoclast, whose closest political collaborator was his wife, Abigail; Burr, crafty, smooth, and one of the most despised public figures of his time; Hamilton, whose audacious manner and deep economic savvy masked his humble origins; Jefferson, renowned for his eloquence, but so reclusive and taciturn that he rarely spoke more than a few sentences in public; Madison, small, sickly, and paralyzingly shy, yet one of the most effective debaters of his generation; and the stiffly formal Washington, the ultimate realist, larger-than-life, and America's only truly indispensable figure.

Ellis argues that the checks and balances that permitted the infant American republic to endure were not primarily legal, constitutional, or institutional, but intensely personal, rooted in the dynamic interaction of leaders with quite different visions and values. Revisiting the old-fashioned idea that character matters, Founding Brothers informs our understanding of American politics -- then and now -- and gives us a new perspective on the unpredictable forces that shape history.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375405440
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/28/2000
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
155,818
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.55(h) x 1.03(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
Preface: The Generation3
Chapter 1The Duel20
Chapter 2The Dinner48
Chapter 3The Silence81
Chapter 4The Farewell120
Chapter 5The Collaborators162
Chapter 6The Friendship206
Notes249
Index279

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >