Fourth, the faces that look down upon us with such classical dignity in those portraits by John Trumbull, Gilbert Stuart, and Charles Willson Peale, the voices that speak to us across the ages in such lyrical cadences, seem so mythically heroic, at least in part, because they knew we would be looking and listening. It takes an in-depth look at the psychology of these first statesmen, their ideologies, and the choices they make in the interest of national unity. Overall, based on the sources used, the history is unbiased, although Ellis does acknowledge the sometimes exaggerated and biased writings of the Founding Fathers and of those who were around them at the time. He puts us in the minds of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr as they made their way to Weehawken, New Jersey the morning of July 11, 1804, the day that would mark the culmination of their years-long political animosity. The Constitutional Convention is often criticized for its secrecy, extra-legality, and the fact that its members were of the elite¡ªhardly a good representation of the masses. Though-provoking, enjoyable and a good prelude to fuller biographies of these men and their times.
Having read the Washington biography, I knew a little about how much Washington trusted Hamilton who was on hand during the military campaign and the two terms as president. It is like conveying himself as his own brother, saying that no much more can embrace his self very much rather than himself only. Jefferson took Robespierre, The Committee of Public Safety and heads rolling in the streets of Paris in stride. The author reminds us that the founders did not know whether their creation would last. Ellis isn't trying to tell us about Hamilton or Jefferson, he is trying to tell us about the relationship between these two powerful men that led to a historic compromise. The stories did spark a desire for further reading.
It actually took me quite a while to finish the book, but I'm glad that I did. In his next story, Ellis examines how the relationships of 1776 turned into more sensible collaborations that would mold American history. By starting with a violent clash, Ellis establishes the stakes for which these men had learned to debate one another. Some of the highlights include the Hamilton-Burr duel, the ever-contentious debate about slavery, the celebrity status of George Washington and the point-of-view of his detractors , the star-crossed presidency of John Adams and his eventual correspondence with political rival Thomas Jefferson. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. The pistols had a hair-trigger that required less pressure to discharge, but were inaccurate at longer ranges.
Hamilton was mortally wounded, and died the next day. Founding Brothers is divided into six different chapters, each with a distinctly different stories. Interesting stories, but much drier than I expected. Even though their friendships sometimes wavered, most were able to mend fences when necessary. The subject of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation focuses on the lives of the Founding Fathers and how they affected America then, and today. But Ellis does much more than recall the events of that day: he details the many years of conflict that preceded it, allowing us to understand both the historical context and long-term ramifications of the famous duel.
Ellis asks the reader to consider the stories from both foresight and hindsight, suggesting that the stories should be understood both in terms of how they actually occurred, and in terms of what was later revealed over the years. On the nearsighted side, the key insight, shared by most of the vanguard members of the revolutionary generation, is that the very arguments used to justify secession from the British Empire also undermined the legitimacy of any national government capable of overseeing such a far-flung population, or establishing uniform laws that knotted together the thirteen sovereign states and three or four distinct geographic and economic regions. On the inevitability side, it is true there were voices back then urging prospective patriots to regard American independence as an early version of manifest destiny. This book was the first book that ever made me cry because it was too hard to read pleasurably. Though the actions of this small group of political elites have left their mark our American history they were like you and I merely people with the some of the same flaws. His focus is on Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, and Hamilton, with supplemental attention given to Madison, Burr, and Franklin. These friends and collaborators during the revolution became political enemies following Adams election as President.
The writing is superb and engaging. With a few states making threats about seceding, the petition was ignored. Our take: Teen and sensitive readers should exercise caution. His history is concise, never overwhelming the reader, but it is meticulously researched and accompanied by copious notes for those who wish to read more. This book deserves all the awards it got.
I have read history which put me to sleep. A good read overall and not a bad starting point for readers who want to focus on a few of the titans who took such giant steps. Ellis blends the facts with characterizations making history more of a story for the reader. Ellis is particularly good at adding interesting shades of character that break the staid portrait we often have of these 'Founding Fathers'. We can look back and make the era of the American Revolution a center point, then scan the terrain upstream and downstream, but they can only know what is downstream. The author reminds us that the founders did not know whether their creation would last. The national government established during the war under the Articles of Confederation accurately embodied the cardinal conviction of revolutionary-era republicanism; namely, that no central authority empowered to coerce or discipline the citizenry was permissible, since it merely duplicated the monarchical and aristocratic principles that the American Revolution had been fought to escape.
Adams reached out to include Jefferson in his administration, but Jefferson refused, perhaps more from political expediency than policy differences. Benjamin Franklin and James Madison reactions are issued. There is so much we can learn from history if we allow ourselves to learn it objectively and draw our own conclusions as we study it. No money, squabbling among states, egos galore. It set the precedents, established in palpable fact what the Constitution had only outlined in purposely ambiguous theory, thereby opening up and closing off options for all the history that followed. We have to judge them and their actions in that context, in light of what they knew not what has since come to be true.
Th Burr-Hamilton duel represented the singular exception to this rule. Washington knew how powerful his influence was, and believed that by setting a two-term precedent for Presidency, he would ensure the strength of the country. Well written, well researched description of several pivotal events in the formation of our republic. . In fact your own review seems to be guilty of the very flaws it condemns, the bending of the evidence. The Burr party arrived first, around 7:00am, and was shortly joined by Hamilton and his associates.
He praises Adams for a more post-modern recollection of the Revolutionary period; where randomness and chance played just as much a role in the success in the 'Great Experiment' of government as did its early figures. Perhaps this is why I have a tendency to collect books about these men, hoping I can always learn more about them. What happened next remains the subject of mystery, speculation, and conspiracy theories. The former centered on the decision to have the federal government pay all state debts -- in which Hamilton prevailed over Jefferson and Madison. Perhaps this is why I have a tendency to collect books about these men, hoping I can always learn more about them. First, the achievement of the revolutionary generation was a collective enterprise that succeeded because of the diversity of personalities and ideologies present in the mix. However, the book is historically accurate and gives an objective view of each situation.