Founding Brothers

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In retrospect, it seems as if the American Revolution was inevitable. But was it? In [Founding Brothers], Joseph J. Ellis reveals that many of those truths we hold to be self-evident were actually fiercely contested in the early days of the republic.

"Founding Brothers" examines the American Revolution is seen through the points of view of six different prominent figures: Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Madison, Hamilton and Franklin.

The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers (re-examined here as Founding Brothers) combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government.

Most interesting, perhaps, is the debate (still dividing scholars today) over the meaning of the Revolution. In a fascinating chapter on the renewed friendship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson at the end of their lives, Ellis points out the fundamental differences between the Republicans, who saw the Revolution as a liberating act and hold the Declaration of Independence most sacred, and the Federalists, who saw the revolution as a step in the building of American nationhood and hold the Constitution most dear. Throughout the text, Ellis explains the personal, face-to-face nature of early American politics--and notes that the members of the revolutionary generation were conscious of the fact that they were establishing precedents on which future generations would rely.

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