Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolutionby Charles Rappleye
Morris started life in the colonies as an apprentice in a/i>
In this biography, the acclaimed author of Sons of Providence, winner of the 2007 George Wash- ington Book Prize, recovers an immensely important part of the founding drama of the country in the story of Robert Morris, the man who financed Washington’s armies and the American Revolution.
Morris started life in the colonies as an apprentice in a counting house. By the time of the Revolution he was a rich man, a commercial and social leader in Philadelphia. He organized a clandestine trading network to arm the American rebels, joined the Second Continental Congress, and financed George Washington’s two crucial victories—Valley Forge and the culminating battle at Yorktown that defeated Cornwallis and ended the war.
The leader of a faction that included Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Washington, Morris ran the executive branches of the revolutionary government for years. He was a man of prodigious energy and adroit management skills and was the most successful businessman on the continent. He laid the foundation for public credit and free capital markets that helped make America a global economic leader. But he incurred powerful enemies who considered his wealth and influence a danger to public "virtue" in a democratic society.
After public service, he gambled on land speculations that went bad, and landed in debtors prison, where George Washington, his loyal friend, visited him.
This once wealthy and powerful man ended his life in modest circumstances, but Rappleye restores his place as a patriot and an immensely important founding father.
“This book, the first full-length modern biography of Morris, restores him to his rightful place among the Founders’ pantheon and tells the story of a man now known to most Americans only from basketball scores.” –Pittsburgh Times Review
“The first full-length modern biography of an extraordinary, forgotten founder of the American republic…the best ever about its subject…. Rappleye (Sons of Providence) brings Morris and his world brightly alive. Nothing of the financier's full life…escapes Rappleye, and his judgments are balanced and astute.” —Publishers Weekly
“The world needs to know more about Morris, and this highly readable book will surely foster more research and writing.” —Concord Monitor (New Hampshire)
Passionate biography of a Founding Father whose legacy exists in the shadow of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, but who played an equally vital role in the creation of the United States.
Born in England, Robert Morris (1734–1806) moved to the American continent at a young age and used a small inheritanceto become a wealthy merchant. Although not a revolutionary by disposition, the proud Philadelphian believed that the British crown had overstepped its power, and he became active in both the formation ofindividual state governments and pushed for the controversial notion of a federal entity that could raise its own money. As the Revolutionary War dragged on, George Washington and other generals could not adequately clothe, feed or pay their troops, who threatened mutiny. Using his contacts and knowledge developed as an import-export businessman, Morris dealt with emissaries from France and other foreign nations, as well asleaders in each of the original states, raising millions of dollars and procuring shipments of badly needed gunpowder as if by magic. Investigative journalist Rappleye (Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution, 2006, etc.) demonstrates that behind the seeming magic, Morris labored mightily, sometimes at great cost to hisbeloved wife and their brood of children, as well as the near loss of his psychologicalequilibrium. In a nascent republic beset by political, geographical and personal rivalries, Morris became theobject of suspicion by some, who accused him of enriching himself at the expense of the new nation. He worked hard for years to clear his name of those allegations and succeeded for the most part. However, his unwise land speculation after the war led to the loss of his fortune andtime in jail before his death. In fluid prose, Rappleye ably resurrects an underrated contributor to the early American republic.
Provides thorough coverage of adeserving subject.
- Simon & Schuster
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Meet the Author
Charles Rappleye is an award-winning investigative journalist and editor. He has written extensively on media, law enforcement, and organized crime. The author of Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution; Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution; and Herbert Hoover in the White House: The Ordeal of the Presidency, he lives in Los Angeles.
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