ConversesAmerican Revolution & Founding Fathers History

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1CritEER Primer missatge
ag. 13, 2007, 1:50 pm

Thanks for setting up this discussion group. I hope we can get some active participation resulting in discussions on books from this era and other associated discussion/opinions.

Right now I'm reading John Marshall: Definer of a Nation. While Marshall is not in the top tier of Founding Fathers (my top 5 are Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin and Hamilton), Marshall should be ranked in the tier right below the mentioned greats. I am approximately 150 pages into this 525 page book. This is a very good book, however, after 150 pages Marshall contribution to the American Revolution era is not very significant. That will certainly change as I get into the XYZ affair and his time on the Supreme Court. I started reading this book because I became interested in the Marshall - Jefferson feud and to learn more on Marshall's time on the supreme court (spanning from Jefferson to Jackson presidency) and how it shaped our young country.

març 23, 2008, 6:45 pm

It wasn't all hunky-dory and on the up-and-up and positive: as Jefferson's Sec. of the Treasury, Hamilton worked by surrepticious "backchannel" to undermine Jefferson's Congressional economic initiatives.

And check out Elbridge Gerry, a Framer of the Constitution, and the inventor of "gerrymandering".

I'd rather view the Founders/Framers as human beings with flaws who mostly "lucked in"; "genius" and "greatness" are words too readily flung around, often as a borrowed/cliche and lazy means to jump to self-satisfying conclusions, and thus avoid application of critical faculties.

Oddly, you leave out Madison, who was central, as a brilliant politician, in there being a Constitution -- and Bill of Rights. Washington and Jefferson owned slaves. Hamilton was a backstabbing snake. Adams was responsible for the Alien and Sedition Acts.

And both Washington and Franklin had gout.

There is far too much rosy-glassed portrayal of the Founders/Framers as "Gods against the sky" in order to avoid seeing their less commendable traits and actions.

And I'm waiting to see the usual mistaken assertions of the "Declaration of Independence" and The Federalist as essential to interpreting the Constitution. When historical documents become weapons in ideological battles -- which distorts them all out of context and actual nature, quality, and intent -- not only does fact get thrown out the window, but the documents become tarnished with ideology-polluted presentism.