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Get American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of PDF

By Joseph J. Ellis

ISBN-10: 0307276457

ISBN-13: 9780307276452

National Bestseller

Acclaimed historian Joseph J. Ellis brings his unheard of skills to this riveting account of the early years of the Republic.

The final zone of the eighteenth century is still the main politically inventive period in American heritage, while a devoted staff of guys undertook a daring scan in political beliefs. It was once a time of either triumphs and tragedies—all of which contributed to the shaping of our burgeoning country. Ellis casts an incisive eye at the slow speed of the yankee Revolution and the contributions of such luminaries as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, and brilliantly analyzes the disasters of the founders to safely remedy the issues of slavery and the therapy of local american citizens. With available prose and beautiful eloquence, Ellis delineates in American Creation an period of improper greatness, at a time while knowing our origins is extra vital than ever.


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Extra info for American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic

Example text

16 A third explanation comes from Bernard Bailyn, who offers the disarmingly counterintuitive argument that the prescience of the founders was a function of their provincialism. Bailyn poses, more clearly than anyone else, the core question: How did this backwoods population of three to five million farmers, mechanics, and minor gentry, huddled on the distant edge of the British Empire, far removed from the epicenters of learning and culture in London and Paris, somehow produce thinkers and ideas that fundamentally transformed the landscape of modern politics?

The obsession with posterity’s judgment also explains why, in their old age, they often chose to retrospectively airbrush their youthful blunders out of the picture, as when Jefferson edited out his confident claim that the French Revolution would be a bloodless triumph. Especially toward the end, posing for posterity became an instinctive act, because posterity was the only afterlife of which most of them were certain. 15 An altogether different explanation for the distinctive character of the founders’ achievement comes from Gordon Wood, whose argument echoes the earliest observation by Washington that timing was crucial.

The former is a radical document that locates sovereignty in the individual and depicts government as an alien force, making rebellion against it a natural act. The latter is a conservative document that locates sovereignty in that collective called “the people,” makes government an essential protector of liberty rather than its enemy, and values social balance over personal liberation. It is extremely rare for the same political elite to straddle both occasions. Or, to put it differently, it is uncommon for the same men who make a revolution also to secure it.

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American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic by Joseph J. Ellis

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