Founding Brothers Joseph Ellis Thesis

How accurate was George Washington’s belief that "slavery was a cancer on the body politic of America that could not at present be removed without killing the patient" [p. Should the nation’s leaders have pressed harder, given that "the further one got from 1776, the lower the revolutionary fires burned and the less imperative the logic of the revolutionary ideology seemed" [p. What difference might it have made in the racial currents of contemporary American life if slavery had been abolished in the early days of the nation? What does Ellis mean when he says that the public figures on which he focuses in this book were "America’s first and, in many respects, its only natural aristocracy" [p. What qualities made Washington so indispensable to the new nation? Ellis focuses more intensively on the plight of the slaves than that of the Indians, but he does point out that Washington addressed their situation with the suggestion that they abandon their hunter-gatherer way of life and assimilate themselves into the general population as farmers [p. Was this a viable solution, or merely a pragmatic one?

What other solutions might have been offered at the time? What is most surprising about Thomas Jefferson’s character, as presented by Ellis?

He was educated at the College of William and Mary and Yale University and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, Ellen, and three sons.

Benson Bobrick, Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution; H. Brands, The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin; David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution 1770-1823; Stanley Elkins and Eric Mc Kitrick, The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788-1800; A. Langguth, Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution; Pauline Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence; John Marshall, The Life of George Washington; David Mc Cullough, John Adams; Toni Morrison, Beloved; James Roger Sharp, American Politics in the Early Republic: The New Nation in Crisis; Lytton Strachey, Eminent Victorians; William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner; Mercy Otis Warren, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution; Roger Wilkins, Jefferson’s Pillow: The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism; Gordon S.

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 1 790 proved how loyal the “Founding Fathers” were to their Constitutional roots.

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As Ellis points out, if the British commanders had been more aggressive, "The signers of the Declaration would . How successful is Founding Brothers in taking the reader back in time, in order to witness the contingencies of a historical gamble in which "sheer chance, pure luck" [p. To what degree were the founders complicit in this deliberate refusal to name and acknowledge the moral problem of slavery? Because of the founders’ refusal to press for abolition, the slavery question was bequeathed to Abraham Lincoln to solve–and the Civil War illustrated just how divisive the issue was. How does Washington measure up to the mythology that surrounded him even in his own time?

The introduction, discussion questions, suggestions for further reading, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your reading group’s discussion of Joseph Ellis’s Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation.

We hope they will enrich your experience of this Pulitzer Prize-winning 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. What was really at stake in the disagreement and duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton?

What did George Washington do to quell the Whiskey Rebellion? (b) He wrote a letter to the Philadelphia newspaper.

Where did Jefferson spend most of his term as vice president?

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