Brief Outline of Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis
In many ways, Ellis has managed to create a detailed and carefully illustrated history of the American Revolution and the people and events that surrounded it in the parameters of a series of stories that few have ever heard. Depictions of the duel between Hamilton and Burr that changed the strictly passive coping mechanism of the revolutionary generation give a helpful insight into the minds of those who contributed to the creation of such a young nation. Earlier, in 1790, a great deal was struck in the home of Thomas Jefferson, and it was decided by Hamilton and Madison that the future of the capital of the United States was to be near the Potomac, and the fiscal plan was soon to be labeled assumption. Constantly changing and improving from previous British government, the deal showcased America and the revolutionary generation’s ability to adapt to quickly changing tides. Another issue that baffled many a member of Congress and the Constitutional commission was slavery and how to approach it, and the compromise between Madison and the House in 1790 proved how loyal the “Founding Fathers” were to their Constitutional roots. Another event that shook the foundation of the revolutionary generation was the retirement of the most important and one of the only figures in American history in 1796, George Washington. The overwhelming sadness that resonated in the political as well as the local and residential atmosphere was soon outweighed by the desire to continue improving the country and bettering it for future generations, which helps us to understand exactly how strong the willpower of the revolutionary era was. A sporadic friendship, the collaboration between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams is another example of how the relationships between the “fathers of the country” endured throughout controversy and confrontation and prevailed until the end of life itself. Ellis writes a beautiful rendition of a series of events that sculpted the revolutionary era and ultimately the foundation of which we live upon today, and the stories that seem to have no further effect in such a time like ours are closer in our hearts than one would ever imagine.
Preface: The Generation
Although many believe the popularized idea that the revolutionary leaders of the late 18th century brought about a god-like persona that enabled the creation of a perfect government and a thriving economy, the truth behind the thoughts of many is that those who led the Revolution had more than a tough time in creating a government that accommodated the populace, as well as stabilizing such a young nation that had just found its footing. After breaking away from the British regime, the members of the revolutionary generation had many a discussion about how to structure a government in such a newly free nation. In the long run, as Washington believed, if America could survive its infancy, it would go on to be a great nation cable of many things, but if a stable government could not be attained, the dreams of a thriving nation would be shattered. In this chapter, Ellis creates a historical base for a series of stories that define the American Revolution in all aspects, and he begins with the facts of how the nation succeeded, how there were barely any scenes of blood shedding and slaughter, and how the emerging imperial leadership performed so well. His personal explanation encompasses the diversity of the revolutionary era, of Abigail and John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. He also answers with their close personal relationships, and their collaboration in public as well as private affairs, and finally, how they managed to defer the slavery question to salvage their newly formed political position. The chapter ends as another begins, the story of the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander...