In the book Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis, the author relates the stories of six crucial historic events that manage to capture the flavor and fervor of the revolutionary generation and its great leaders. While each chapter or story can be read separately and completely understood, they do relate to a broader common theme. One of Ellis' main purposes in writing the book was to illustrate the early stages and tribulations of the American government and its system through his use of well blended stories. The idea that a republican government of this nature was completely unprecedented is emphasized through out the book. Ellis discusses the unique problems that the revolutionary generation experienced as a result of governing under the new concept of a democracy. These problems included- the interpretation of constitutional powers, the regulation of governmental power through checks and balances, the first presidential elections, the surprising emergence of political parties, states rights vs. federal authority, and the issue of slavery in a otherwise free society. Ellis dives even deeper into the subject by exposing the readers to true insight of the major players of the founding generation. The book attempts to capture the ideals of the early revolutionary generation leaders and their conflicting political viewpoints. The personalities of Hamilton, Burr, Adams, Washington, Madison, and Jefferson are presented in great detail. Ellis exposes the reality of the internal and partisan conflict endured by each of these figures in relation to each other. Ellis emphasizes that despite these difficult hurdles, the young American nation survived its early stages because of its great collection of charismatic leaders and their ability to ... ... middle of paper ... ...s not favor one founding brother over another. The book's sources seem to come from a wide variety of both primary documents and critical literature. Great quotations from each of the founding brothers are adequately and properly dispersed to create an illusion that the major players in the book are arguing their respective points. The quotations are so effective because they come directly from the American leaders themselves and are seamlessly blended with Ellis's additional commentary. Unfortunately, by choosing to focus on only a few events, Ellis's book fails in that it lacks somewhat of a scope. The book also focuses on some of the founding brothers in much greater detail than others. While I come away with a wealth of knowledge about both Adams and Jefferson, I have less knowledge of Ben Franklin and Aaron Burr, as Ellis's focus is significantly less on them.
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In Woody Holton's Forced Founders, that most revered segment of the revolutionary generation, the elitist gentry class of Virginia, comes across very much as a group of self-serving reactionaries, rather then the idealized revolutionaries of the great patriotic myth of popular history. He sets about disassembling a central portion of the myth created by earlier generations of Consensus historians, by asserting that rather then gallantly leading the charge for independence, Virginia's elitist gentry resorted to independence as their last and only means of saving their elite ruling status, their economic futures, and even their very lives many feared. While this is very much an example of revisionist history, Holton has not so much rewritten history, as he has provided the back story of the complexity and diversity of the Virginia colony on the eve of the American Revolution. For while the book's title may insinuate otherwise, lowly groups like slaves and Indians discussed here are afforded only the status of “founders” by pressing those traditionally thought of in this role to take the plunge for independence. Still the papers and correspondence of the iconic figureheads of the revolutionary generation like Washington, Jefferson, and Madison make up the bulk of primary sources.
However, the author 's interpretations of Jefferson 's decisions and their connection to modern politics are intriguing, to say the least. In 1774, Jefferson penned A Summary View of the Rights of British America and, later, in 1775, drafted the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms (Ellis 32-44). According to Ellis, the documents act as proof that Jefferson was insensitive to the constitutional complexities a Revolution held as his interpretation of otherwise important matters revolved around his “pattern of juvenile romanticism” (38). Evidently, the American colonies’ desire for independence from the mother country was a momentous decision that affected all thirteen colonies. However, in Ellis’ arguments, Thomas Jefferson’s writing at the time showed either his failure to acknowledge the severity of the situation or his disregard of the same. Accordingly, as written in the American Sphinx, Jefferson’s mannerisms in the first Continental Congress and Virginia evokes the picture of an adolescent instead of the thirty-year-old man he was at the time (Ellis 38). It is no wonder Ellis observes Thomas Jefferson as a founding father who was not only “wildly idealistic” but also possessed “extraordinary naivete” while advocating the notions of a Jeffersonian utopia that unrestrained
The compelling and infectious novel of Founding Brothers; The Revolutionary Generation written by Joseph J. Ellis combines our founding fathers weakness’ and strongest abilities in just six chapters. His six chapters tell the stories of: The duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. This entertaining chapter describes how duels were undertaken and played out in that time, and helps the reader understand both men's motives. The dinner which Thomas Jefferson held for Alexander Hamilton and James
The Founding Fathers were a revolutionary group, diverse in personalities and ideologies but shared the common goal of American liberty. They understood that the citizens should have a say in their government, and the government only obtains its power from the citizen’s consent. In order to avoid endless debates on issues that needed to be solved immediately, the revolutionary leaders compromised their beliefs. Joseph J. Ellis writes of the compromises that changed the constitutional debate into the creation of political parties in, The Founding Brothers. The 3 main chapters that show cased The Founding Brothers’ compromises are The Dinner, The Silence, and The Collaborators.
America was born and survived, its rough road into a nation, through a series of events, or moments in history. The founding brother’s book is about a few important figures during and after the American Revolution. These important figures consisted of Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, John Adams, George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson. Each of these men, contributed to the building of America in one way or another. The book breaks these contributions into a few short stories, to help understand what these important figures did.
Larson is a great read that discusses a more personal view of the election of 1800. Most other books that discuss the election of 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams mostly talk about the major facts of the presidential election and do not discuss much about Jefferson and Adams close relationship as friends before they decided to run for president. The reader gets an inside look at the candidates as people and not only how they acted while in the election, and also how the election changed their lives and their friendship. The only reason this book would not be a good choice to read is if the reader wants to know more about the other major candidates in the election like Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, because Larson does not really go into detail about their character or past as much as he does for Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The book in its entirety covers the election of 1800 historically and contemporarily in great detail when talking about the two main candidates in the
One topic that comes to my mind after reading this book is the discussion we had about Jefferson vs Hamilton. How they had different views about farming and manufacturing. Hamilton believe that there should not be conflict between agriculture and manufacturing while Jefferson was of the opinion that America has large amount of land, therefor it is best that citizens should pay more attention on improvement and farming in these lands because those who labor in the earth are chosen by God. This book gave be in-depth knowledge about Jefferson and
With the creation of a new regime, the colonists set aside their differences and worked toward one common goal. Despite opposing political views, most were able to agree on their top priority: gaining independence from Britain. This opinion is stated within Joseph Ellis’s Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. There are a number of opposing viewpoints shared by the American people at the dawn of their Union. The topic of slavery was widely debated at the forefront of America. Ellis explores the noteworthy differences in opinion between Northerners and Southerners. He also explains that the Founding Fathers were more focused on the survival of the union than the ethicality of slavery. They kept the fragility of the newly formed union
Ellis’s Founding Brother is that the success of the United States was not always a foregone conclusion as it is today. No one present in the beginning of the Revolution knew how it would turn out at the end. The Founding Brothers had to work hard in order to bring success to United States. The evidence that supported this thesis is that the leaders during that time doubted the success of the infant nation and they believed that the nation might fall apart. The next evidence is that the Founding Brothers had a strong belief that they can be a seen as a legitimate country to other threating country if they stay together as a united nation. The final evidence is that the country didn’t want to deal with anything that could possibly bring on the thoughts of disunion. For example, slavery was avoided due to this danger towards the unity. Ellis is a very biased historian because he has a special affiliation for George Washington and John Adams. The POV of the author is very significant because when the author of the book is biased towards some particular character, then the author would only show the positive side of the character in order to show him greater than the others. This would lead the people to understand the biased version of the story. This book is written from the political perspective because it talks about political effects caused by the revolution. It also has some social perspective. For example, the friendship and the collaboration of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was a social thing which affected the politics. Overall, this was a very good and interesting book which improved my understanding of U.S History. It helped me learn the timeline and the details of the significant events during the American Revolution. Some question that I had were about slavery. Slavery’s agenda was closed because of the danger it possessed but I wanted to know about when the agenda was reopened and how the agenda of slavery progressed to the
The fundamental question, which Ellis answered by writing this book, was: “How did the American founding happen?” Furthermore, the writer states that The American Creation is a story about a tragedy as well as triumph. He concludes by saying that he believes the historical talent present in the founding era is unlikely to be ever surpassed.
Bankruptcy, incineration of homes, incarceration, and death: these are only a few of the many hardships met by our Founding Fathers, and yet, none wavered. At a turning point in history, the 56 men were willing to take initiative and sacrifice their own personal comforts for the betterment of their countrymen and nation. As exemplary leaders, they formed the backbone of our United States. The attributes of our Founding Fathers illustrate characteristics necessary for the advancement of our nation in our generation. For these reasons, the sacrifices made are not only relevant, but they are the key to everlasting success and diplomatic authority as a young citizen of this United States. Similar to a pearl in an oyster, the Founding Fathers forced changes that were essential in revealing the true beauty of our country.
In this book Founding Brothers, the author Joseph J. Ellis writes about American Revolution's important figures such as George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin and James Madison exhibit that how the specific relationships of the Founding Fathers have influenced, or were influenced in the course of the American Revolution. These men have become the Founding Fathers and had a strong connection with each other as friends fighting one another to eliminate the British from North America, and forming optimistic brotherhood eager for freedom. However, many of the Founding Fathers were preoccupied with posterity. They wanted to construct and preserve images that served both their egos and
What really makes Mason apart from the other founding fathers , and what keeps him in a sense less well known than many others, is that he also vehemently objected to power granted to the new government, which he believed to be ill-defined and overzealous. He also said’’ i would sooner
“[T]he man on the ten-dollar bill is the father of the American treasury system, a signer of the Constitution, one of the primary authors of the Federalist Papers, and the loser of the infamous duel with Vice President Aaron Burr. Alexander Hamilton's earlier career as a Continental Army officer is less well known. Yet Hamilton's first experience in public service is important, not only because it was the springboard to his later career, but because it also deeply influenced his values and thinking” (Hamilton).