Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

History & Culture

Joseph J. Ellis Founding Brothers connects the lives of seven of America’s founding fathers – John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington – with the issues, they sought to resolve in creating the United States of America. Ellis does so by examining six events in their lives using the documents written at the time:

  • “Burr and Hamilton’s deadly duel, and what may have really happened;
  • Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison’s secret dinner, during which the seat of the permanent capital was determined in exchange for passage of Hamilton’s financial plan;
  • Franklin’s petition to end the “peculiar institution” of slavery–his last public act–and Madison’s efforts to quash it;
  • Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, announcing his retirement from public office and offering his country some final advice;
  • Adams’s difficult term as Washington’s successor and his alleged scheme to pass the presidency on to his son;
  • Adams and Jefferson’s renewed correspondence at the end of their lives, in which they compared their different views of the Revolution and its legacy.”

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