June 25, 2012
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
Preface: The Generation
The founding of the United States defeated many odds. In The Generation, it stresses how incredible it is that the U.S. has survived this long as a republic nation. It points out that it is the longest living republic to ever have existed. There were several things that were phenomenal about the founding of the United States. Every event leading up to the founding of the young nation was “unprecedented”. This means there had been no examples previously set to help the founders follow a correct path toward creating a striving nation. Ellis points out that it is easier to look back on what has already happened than to figure out a problematic situation on one’s own. A republic had never been developed amongst a nation as large as the original thirteen colonies. It would be extremely difficult to control especially when the land had no history of cooperating with each other, other than to defeat the British. This is demonstrated by the natives and explorers during the late fifteenth century. There was much fear that the colonies would turn into separate small nations with their own form of government rather than to come together as a whole nation. However, somehow in the end, today we still have a strong republic government. Because all of these challenges had to be overcome, it shows that the founding of the United States is truly exceptional. There was a massive paradox that covered a variety of different things in the midst of the revolutionary era. The wanting to secede from the British resulting in the Revolutionary War was justified by the massive advantages provided by the geographic isolation and plentiful resources of the North American continent. They would be an ocean away from European interference and have a youthful population of nearly 4 million - about half of which was sixteen years of age or younger and therefore certain to grow exponentially. There would be a large distribution of property ownership among the white populace, based on easy access to available land. Also there was clear commitment to the idea of a republican nation as shown by the successful war for independence. Last but not least, a vast majority consensus that the first chief executive would be George Washington. As Ellis stated, if the infant American republic could survive long enough to endure as a national independence and to consolidate its natural advantages, it possessed the potential to become a dominant force. However, 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. There was an obsessive suspicion of any centralized political power that operated in faraway places beyond the immediate supervision or surveillance of the citizens it claimed to govern. The national government established during the war under the Articles of Confederation supported that no central authority empowered to coerce or discipline the citizenry was permissible, since it merely duplicated the monarchial and aristocratic principles that the American Revolution had been fought to escape.
Chapter One: The Duel
The duel between Hamilton and Burr occurred July 11, 1804 and while Aaron Burr, the victor of this duel, may have won, both duelists were ultimate losers. Ellis provides for the reader some of the duelists’ backgrounds and ancestries as well as insight into the unclear components of the duel. Hamilton is described as "the bastard brat of a Scotch pedlar", by John Adams with Ellis adding only that the mother was French and that the Father was Scottish. Hamilton brought Doctor David Hosack and his aid, Nathaniel Pendleton to the duel. Hamilton outranked Burr by...