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Critical Review And Analytical Evaluation Of "The Founding Brothers"

1046 words - 4 pages

"The Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation"Focusing on personal relationships, the book "The Founding Brothers - The Revolutionary Generation" by Joseph J. Ellis revolves around the theme of its characters. The situation during that time brought people close together especially since they endured great difficulties and also hurdled a lot of risks. Set during the years 1776 to 1800, this book is a tour of the workings of the minds of Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams and Madison. It gives readers a different perspective of American History since it is a collection of six different vignettes with these characters as lead actors. Ellis, like all great historians, examines the different personalities and the roles they played in history (Founding Brothers).The author focuses on the first decade and a half of the nation. He exposes the faults of these founding brothers whom the author labeled as "band of brother." Some of the faults that Ellis brings out involve petty jealousies and their moral failures on slavery and the slave trade. In writing the Constitution, they agreed to protect the slave trade for at least two decades. "Ben Franklin at least had the courage to sign the first abolition petition presented to Congress in 1790, which is when we held our first national and open debate about slavery." (Founding Brothers).Ellis points to the Founding brothers as "eventually compromising by not banning the slave trade and in return adopting New England's position for an expansive reading of the power of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce. One hundred seventy four years later when Congress adopted the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the legal basis for that modern law would be the expanded scope of the Interstate Commerce clause."In clear, concise language, the author poses several questions that make one think deeper about several issues prominent at that time. "Do people or issues shape the course of history? If Burr had not killed Hamilton, would either of them have become one of our early presidents? If Abigail Adams had not intervened, would ex-presidents Adams and Jefferson ever have resumed their personal friendship and the correspondence that is so important to historians today? Is Tom Brokaw correct in labeling the World War II folks as the "greatest generation?" (Bishop, Roger).It is said that Ellis focuses on six discrete moments that highlight the most crucial issues facing the fragile new nation: "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...

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