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A fresh, narrow, knowledgeable-of-minutiatake on a well-known friendship and rivalry during the early establishment of the U.S. Constitution.
Attorney and political strategist DeRose shifts his focus around James Madison's forced championing of a Bill of Rights to the Constitution, the contentious Congressional election campaign between fellow Virginians Madison and James Monroe of 1789 and the early influence of the Virginia Plan on thedrafting of the U.S. Constitution. His depiction of the evolving relationship between the two key Virginians proves a steady, compelling narrative throughout. Several years younger than Madison, the Revolutionary War hero Monroe became Madison's protégé and correspondent. Madison, a soft-spoken, eloquent landowner and delegate, became the architect of the Constitution. Both men, writes DeRose, proved in separate ways their heartfelt patriotism. At the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Madison helped hammer out a perfect-enough Constitution in order to present to the states, and then—along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay—tried to convince the public of its worth in a series of newspaper essays under the pen name Publius (i.e.,The Federalist Papers). Subsequently, Monroe, as a delegate to the Virginia Ratification Convention the next year, presented objections, namely to the lack of controls on the central government and need for preservation of basic rights. In just six months, Madison and Monroe would be battling over election to the first House of Representatives. Madison barely won, largely because of his campaign promise to introduce into the new Congress a Bill of Rights, which he duly did, preempting the anti-Federalists, and thus helping to gain passage for the first 10 amendments by 1791. DeRose maintains that unless Monroe opposed Madison early on, the lack of amendments would have quickly created division and rupture in the new government.
A lively, clear-cut study of the myriad hurdles and uncertainty that characterized the first attempts to form the U.S. government.
Posted November 12, 2011
DeRose captures the essence of this vital yet forgotten scene in American history. Founding Rivals tells a great story of two political titans of early America, who fought for a seat in the US Congress, while the fate of the Constitution hung in the balance. The author tells the life stories of Madison and Monroe, their early friendship, and their political rivalry that changed the course of American history. The author also does a magnificent job of pointing out the fissures in the electorate in 1789, especially between religious groups. "Founding Rivals" is one of the best and most unique books about the Revolutionary era. I highly recommend this book, and look forward to future works by the author.
6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 7, 2012
So often we hear that an upcoming election will be one of the most important elections of our time. While they may not have known it at the time, residents of Virginia’s 5th Congressional District in 1789 participated in one of the most important elections of their time. As Chris DeRose powerfully details in Founding Rivals, the race between James Madison and James Monroe changed the course of history by putting America on a path toward saving the Constitution and adopting a Bill of Rights. DeRose chronicles the lives of these men from the early days of the Revolutionary War to their epic battle for Congress. He presents this time in history as they would have seen it and details their journeys toward becoming statesmen. Well researched and engagingly written, Founding Rivals offers a unique glimpse into the early days of our nation.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2011
Posted January 19, 2012
I found the book to be disappointing. I found the book to resemble a high school students version of a book report or something akin to Cliff Notes. 267 pages long to describe or layout a "rivalry" between two great patriots? You are a third of the way through the book before the two even correspond. There is just nothing new here. I found the writing style very mediocre and simple. There are too many other books worthy of your time.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 28, 2011
Posted November 3, 2013
The author goes back and forth with equal treatment of each man's significance to the establishment of our constitution without being wordy. One was pro and other happy with the articles of confederation which is all I'll say. What puzzled me is Monroe's love life and subsequent marriage was discussed several times yet no mention was made of Dolly Madison.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 25, 2013
This was a great read, well written and packed a great deal of information in a readable length book. Everyone shoudl read it to better understand how the American political system has worked in the past as well as how it can work today!