Founding Brothers The Revolutionary Generation

ISBN-10: 0375405445
ISBN-13: 9780375405440
Edition: 2000
Authors: Joseph J. Ellis
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Description: An illuminating study of the intertwined lives of the founders of the American republic--John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. During the 1790s, which Ellis calls the  More...

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Book details

List price: $30.00
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/17/2000
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 304
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.408
Language: English

An illuminating study of the intertwined lives of the founders of the American republic--John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. During the 1790s, which Ellis calls the most decisive decade in our nation's history, the greatest statesmen of their generation--and perhaps any--came together to define the new republic and direct its course for the coming centuries. Ellis focuses on six discrete moments that exemplify the most crucial issues facing the fragile new nation: Burr and Hamilton's deadly duel, and what may have really happened; Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison's secret dinner, during which the seat of the permanent capital was determined in exchange for passage of Hamilton's financial plan; Franklin's petition to end the "peculiar institution" of slavery--his last public act--and Madison's efforts to quash it; Washington's precedent-setting Farewell Address, announcing his retirement from public office and offering his country some final advice; Adams's difficult term as Washington's successor and his alleged scheme to pass the presidency on to his son; and finally, Adams and Jefferson's renewed correspondence at the end of their lives, in which they compared their different views of the Revolution and its legacy. In a lively and engaging narrative, Ellis recounts the sometimes collaborative, sometimes archly antagonistic interactions between these men, and shows us the private characters behind the public personas: Adams, the ever-combative iconoclast, whose closest political collaborator was his wife, Abigail; Burr, crafty, smooth, and one of the most despised public figures of his time; Hamilton, whose audacious manner and deep economic savvy masked his humble origins; Jefferson, renowned for his eloquence, but so reclusive and taciturn that he rarely spoke more than a few sentences in public; Madison, small, sickly, and paralyzingly shy, yet one of the most effective debaters of his generation; and the stiffly formal Washington, the ultimate realist, larger-than-life, and America's only truly indispensable figure. Ellis argues that the checks and balances that permitted the infant American republic to endure were not primarily legal, constitutional, or institutional, but intensely personal, rooted in the dynamic interaction of leaders with quite different visions and values. Revisiting the old-fashioned idea that character matters, Founding Brothers informs our understanding of American politics--then and now--and gives us a new perspective on the unpredictable forces that shape history.

Joseph J. Ellis was born in Washington, D.C. on July 18, 1943. He earned a B.A. from the College of William and Mary in 1965 and a M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Yale University in 1969. He was an instructor in the department of American studies at Yale University from 1968 to 1969 and an assistant professor in the department of history and social studies at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from 1969 to 1972. He began his career at Mount Holyoke College as assistant professor in the department of history in 1972 and was made professor in 1979. Ellis was dean of the faculty at Mount Holyoke from 1980 to 1990. He is also a Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College. He has published articles, essays, reviews, and opinion pieces in such periodicals as American Heritage, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Civilization. He has appeared on C-SPAN and Fox News and was a participant in the 1997 Ken Burns PBS documentary "Thomas Jefferson." In 1997, Ellis published American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson and in 1998 he co-authored the article in Nature that accompanied the controversial study of the descendants of Jefferson and the slave Sally Hemmings. He has received several awards including the National Book Award in Nonfiction for American Sphinx in 1997 and the Pulitzer Prize for History for Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation in 2001. Ellis' other works include Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence, Random House, 2013); First Family: Abigail and John Adams, 2010; American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic, 2007; His Excellency: George Washington, 2004; After the Revolution: Profiles of Early American Culture; Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, 2000; What Did the Declaration Declare? (Historians at Work), editor and contributor, 1999.

Acknowledgments
Preface: The Generation
The Duel
The Dinner
The Silence
The Farewell
The Collaborators
The Friendship
Notes
Index

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