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Richard Henry Lee played a pivotal role during the American Revolution, yet he remains one of the most misunderstood revolutionaries. His contemporaries, as well as modern historians, deemed him a political opportunist or dismissed him as an enigma. In bridging the gap between Lee's private interests and public career, J. Kent McGaughy seeks to overturn many of the misconceptions about Lee and shows that, throughout his life, he remained dedicated to his family and public service. By separating fact from fiction and unraveling the history of Lee's life and the times in which he lived, J. Kent McGaughy brings to light not only the truth about Lee, but also the hidden history of the American Revolution.
|List of Figures|
|Note on Sources|
|Prologue: "We Cannot Do without You"|
|1||A Virginia Dynasty||1|
|2||Richard Henry Lee, Esquire||31|
|4||The Making of a Radical||71|
|5||The Decision for American Independence||95|
|6||Business and Politics||121|
|7||Defending the Potomac||149|
|9||Killing Ourselves for Fear of Dying: Debating the Federal Constitution||187|
|10||The Honorable Senator from Virginia||203|
|About the Author||249|
Posted June 10, 2005
If you're interested in reading about a gracious, gentleman aristocrat who has been historically under-credited with helping to guide not only the American Revolution, but also helped construct a new nation upon the principles of democratic stability, you will appreciate this book. The biography's weaknesses include a certain 'textbook' (boring) quality in the beginning, which is to some extent necessary to establish the background and heritage of the Lee family in Virginia, but your patience will be rewarded when the narrative escalates as R.H. Lee became active in public political life. Other weaknesses include a certain 'jumping back and forth' at certain points that can be confusing to the reader, and a lack of real insight into the actual personality, likes and dislikes of RH Lee. However, the 'heart' of the book does accurately and plainly make clear Lee's position on colonial affairs, matters of economics including trade relations between the intercolonies and with Great Britain and other nations, as well as the on-going developing policy of land acquisition and relationships with Native Americans and other colonial developers such as France and Spain. Particularly fascinating, to me, were the very detailed undermining and political backstabbing that Lee was not the aggressor of, but rather the defendant to; Lee, as a prominent representative of his family and other Virginians, was continually thrust into the spotlight to defend his name, his family, and character of Virginian aristocrats' intentions and purposes. The sheer internecine squabbling and petty slander aimed at Lee were almost shocking even by modern standards, and in reading this book, one should develop a better appreciation of the fact that most of the men who authored or advised state and national charters were truly working from personal experience, as they tried to ensure a working democracy with guaranteed civil rights and redresses to give all people the opportunity at true equality and fair-play within the system. By the end of the book, one should also appreciate Lee for having the strength, courage, and character to having diligently served the public from a sense of duty and responsibility to both the family which produced distinguished gentlemen, and to the fellow citizens who benefited from such tireless and conscientious energy. The publication of this book is almost as much of a 'public service' as that attributed to its subject, Richard Henry LeeWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 28, 2004
I thoroughly enjoyed RICHARD HENRY LEE OF VIRGINIA: A PORTRAIT OF AN AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY. It really made the political and economic times come to life. Dr. J. Kent McGaughy's work is brilliant!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.