The Founding Fathers Reconsidered

The Founding Fathers Reconsidered

by R. B. Bernstein
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Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press, USA


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The Founding Fathers Reconsidered

Here is a vividly written and compact overview of the brilliant, flawed, and quarrelsome group of lawyers, politicians, merchants, military men, and clergy known as the "Founding Fathers"—who got as close to the ideal of the Platonic "philosopher-kings" as American or world history has ever seen.

In The Founding Fathers Reconsidered, R. B. Bernstein reveals Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, and the other founders not as shining demigods but as imperfect human beings—people much like us—who nevertheless achieved political greatness. They emerge here as men who sought to transcend their intellectual world even as they were bound by its limits, men who strove to lead the new nation even as they had to defer to the great body of the people and learn with them the possibilities and limitations of politics. Bernstein deftly traces the dynamic forces that molded these men and their contemporaries as British colonists in North America and as intellectual citizens of the Atlantic civilization's Age of Enlightenment. He analyzes the American Revolution, the framing and adoption of state and federal constitutions, and the key concepts and problems—among them independence, federalism, equality, slavery, and the separation of church and state—that both shaped and circumscribed the founders' achievements as the United States sought its place in the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199832576
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 09/01/2011
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 610,038
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents


I. The History that Made the Founding Fathers
The State of the Union
Free-Born English Subjects
The Intellectual World

II. The History that the Founding Fathers Made
Church and State
Equality, Inequality, and Slavery
America in the World

Part III. What History Made of the Founding Fathers
Ancestor Worship?
"Which Founding Father Are You?"
The Dead Hand of the Past: Original Intent

Further Reading

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The Founding Fathers Reconsidered 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As someone who has not done a lot reading of American history I found this to be and interesting look at how the constitution was regarded as it was written, ratified, used and interpreted. It does add some dimension to the founding fathers personalities, but it's focus was really on those that wrote the constitution and mostly the constitution itself.