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Band of brothers

  • Sep 8, 2008
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Ellis brings to well-crafted life the fragile nature of the American experiment in the first years after the revolution and the Constitution. He uses six short stories or incidents to frame this so-fragile balance between war and peace, Federalist and Republican, the very success or ignominious death of the American experiment:

--The Burr/Hamilton duel (in which Burr, the sitting VP shot and killed Hamilton.

--The compromise dinner (one of many clandestine efforts at the time) between Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison to log-roll a compromise to get federal debt assumption and the location of the future capital agreed to the satisfaction of all.

--One none-event as such, "The Silence" over slavery, which debate was postponed by the Constitutional Convention, but reopened by Quakers, and quickly silenced again by honest and moral men of both pro-slavery and anti-slavery dispositions as detrimental to the continuation of the American experiment.

--Washington's Farewell Address, which established the free and willing succession of power in a vast republic, a thing to be marveled at (see: Revolution, French).

--The collaboration between first Adams and Jefferson as Revolutionary partners, than John and Abigail versus Jefferson and Madison as enemies in the bitter partisan struggle of the two president's terms (1796-1808).

--And finally, the reconciliation between the last two standing of this greatest generation, this "band of brothers" (yes, the phrase used by Jefferson and Adams) in their 15-year correspondence concluding with death on July 4, 1826 within five hours on the 50th anniversary of the celebration of their rise to aristocracy!

Ellis is a good storyteller, and I wept silently reading the final events in realization of the 180 years since how much we how to these great men and their leadership and sacrifice for the greatest experiment in human government.

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review by . November 17, 2008
It looked a lot prettier in those Gilbert Stuart and John Trumbull paintings. If there's an overall theme to Joseph Ellis's 2000 book "Founding Brothers", it's that the United States was tempered as much by internal conflict as by war with Great Britain.    Ellis's approach deals with the aftermath of the American Revolution, post-Constitution, in six drawn-out narratives exploring various facets of the often-feuding Founding Fathers. He begins with the most famous and deadly …
review by . July 22, 2006
This work sheds light on our Founding Fathers by discussing early  historical events in more detail. For instance, Benjamin Franklin  tried to force Congress to confront slavery- head on. Our early  lawmakers were at a loss to figure out how slaves would be integrated into the economy and the broader society once freed.  Alexander Hamilton foresaw a scenario; wherein, the federal  government would triumph over the states.Alternatively, the Union …
review by . July 01, 2002
"Founding Brothers," begins with the most famous duel in American history, and ends with what may be the most famous reconciliation. Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, ten-paces apart, level their pistols at each other, shots are fired, and one man is left standing with his reputation about to be demolished as surely as his opponent lay demolished on the banks of the Hudson. At the other end, two friends, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who, in the heat of politics, became bitter enemies, reconcile …
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Todd Stockslager ()
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I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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In retrospect, it seems as if the American Revolution was inevitable. But was it? InFounding Brothers,Joseph J. Ellisreveals that many of those truths we hold to be self-evident were actually fiercely contested in the early days of the republic.

Ellis focuses on six crucial moments in the life of the new nation, including a secret dinner at which the seat of the nation's capital was determined--in exchange for support of Hamilton's financial plan; Washington's precedent-setting Farewell Address; and the Hamilton and Burr duel. Most interesting, perhaps, is the debate (still dividing scholars today) over the meaning of the Revolution. In a fascinating chapter on the renewed friendship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson at the end of their lives, Ellis points out the fundamental differences between the Republicans, who saw the Revolution as a liberating act and hold the Declaration of Independence most sacred, and the Federalists, who saw the revolution as a step in the building of American nationhood and hold the Constitution most dear. Throughout the text, Ellis explains the personal, face-to-face nature of early American politics--and notes that the members of the revolutionary generation were conscious of the fact that they were establishing precedents on which future generations would rely.

In Founding Brothers, Ellis (whose American Sphinx won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1997) has written an elegant and engaging narrative, sure to become a classic. ...

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ISBN-10: 0375705244
ISBN-13: 978-0375705243
Author: Joseph J. Ellis
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Nonfiction
Publisher: Vintage
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