From Pulitzer Prize–winning American historian Joseph J. Ellis, the unexpected story of why the thirteen colonies, having just fought off the imposition of a distant centralized governing power, would decide to subordinate themselves anew. We all know the famous opening phrase of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this Continent a new Nation.” The truth is different. In 1776, thirteen American colonies declared themselves independent states that only temporarily joined forces in order to defeat the British. Once victorious, they planned to go their separate ways. The triumph of the American Revolution was neither an ideological nor a political guarantee that the colonies would relinquish their independence and accept the creation of a federal government with power over their autonomy as states. The Quartet is the story of this second American founding and of the men most responsible—George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison. These men, with the help of Robert Morris and Gouverneur Morris, shaped the contours of American history by diagnosing the systemic dysfunctions created by the Articles of Confederation, manipulating the political process to force the calling of the Constitutional Convention, conspiring to set the agenda in Philadelphia, orchestrating the debate in the state ratifying conventions, and, finally, drafting the Bill of Rights to assure state compliance with the constitutional settlement. Ellis has given us a gripping and dramatic portrait of one of the most crucial and misconstrued periods in American history: the years between the end of the Revolution and the formation of the federal government. The Quartet unmasks a myth, and in its place presents an even more compelling truth—one that lies at the heart of understanding the creation of the United States of America. From the Hardcover edition.
"The prizewinning author of Founding Brothers and American Sphinx now gives us the unexpected story--brilliantly told--of why the thirteen colonies, having just fought off the imposition of a distant centralized governing power, would decide to subordinate themselves anew. The triumph of the American Revolution was neither an ideological nor political guarantee that the colonies would relinquish their independence and accept the creation of a federal government with power over their individual autonomy. The Quartet is the story of this second American founding and of the men responsible--some familiar, such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, and some less so, such as Robert Morris and Governeur Morris. It was these men who shaped the contours of American history by diagnosing the systemic dysfunctions created by the Articles of Confederation, manipulating the political process to force a calling of the Constitutional Convention, conspiring to set the agenda in Philadelphia, orchestrating the debate in the state ratifying conventions, and, finally, drafting the Bill of Rights to assure state compliance with the constitutional settlement"--
The Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of First Family presents a revelatory account of America's declaration of independence and the political and military responses on both sides throughout the summer of 1776 that influenced key decisions and outcomes.
Draws on the Washington papers from archives at the University of Virginia to chronicle George Washington's military career and presidential years, discussing his struggle to keep an emerging America united and other accomplishments.
Following Thomas Jefferson from the drafting of the Declaration of Independence to his retirement in Monticello, Joseph J. Ellis unravels the contradictions of the Jeffersonian character. He gives us the slaveholding libertarian who was capable of decrying mescegenation while maintaing an intimate relationship with his slave, Sally Hemmings; the enemy of government power who exercisdd it audaciously as president; the visionarty who remained curiously blind to the inconsistencies in his nature. American Sphinx is a marvel of scholarship, a delight to read, and an essential gloss on the Jeffersonian legacy.
In this landmark work of history and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Joseph J. Ellis explores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed individuals—Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison—confronted the overwhelming challenges before them to set the course for our nation. The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers—re-examined here as Founding Brothers—combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government. Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes—Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, Adams’ administration and political partnership with his wife, the debate about where to place the capital, Franklin’s attempt to force Congress to confront the issue of slavery and Madison’s attempts to block him, and Jefferson and Adams’ famous correspondence—Founding Brothers brings to life the vital issues and personalities from the most important decade in our nation’s history.
Offers a concise biographical dictionary of important early American statesmen and leaders, from "Abigail Adams" to "George Wythe," with additional entries on key issues and events relevant to the formation of the United States.
A spellbinding history of the epic rivalry that shaped our republic: Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and their competing visions for America.
The Quartet by Joseph J. Ellis | Summary & AnalysisPreview:The Quartet is an historical account of the debates and events leading up to, during, and immediately following the creation of the Constitution of the United States of America. The quartet is four politicians that played an integral role in the creation, shaping, and implementation of the Constitution and early federal government in the US. These include George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay.Each man had some involvement in the American Revolution, which lent credence to the worthiness of their cause and ability to establish a national government. Washington served as the head of the Continental Army. Hamilton served as Washington's aide de camp and later served as commander of his own troops. Madison was a commissioned colonel of the Orange County militia from Virginia and served on the Continental Congress. Jay also served on the Continental Congress and negotiated the terms of the Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolutionary War...Inside this Instaread Summary & Analysis of The Quartet* Summary of book* Introduction to the Important People in the book* Analysis of the Themes and Author's Style
In this biography, the acclaimed author of Sons of Providence, winner of the 2007 George Wash- ington Book Prize, recovers an immensely important part of the founding drama of the country in the story of Robert Morris, the man who financed Washington’s armies and the American Revolution. Morris started life in the colonies as an apprentice in a counting house. By the time of the Revolution he was a rich man, a commercial and social leader in Philadelphia. He organized a clandestine trading network to arm the American rebels, joined the Second Continental Congress, and financed George Washington’s two crucial victories—Valley Forge and the culminating battle at Yorktown that defeated Cornwallis and ended the war. The leader of a faction that included Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Washington, Morris ran the executive branches of the revolutionary government for years. He was a man of prodigious energy and adroit management skills and was the most successful businessman on the continent. He laid the foundation for public credit and free capital markets that helped make America a global economic leader. But he incurred powerful enemies who considered his wealth and influence a danger to public "virtue" in a democratic society. After public service, he gambled on land speculations that went bad, and landed in debtors prison, where George Washington, his loyal friend, visited him. This once wealthy and powerful man ended his life in modest circumstances, but Rappleye restores his place as a patriot and an immensely important founding father.
“Passionate Sage is [Ellis’s] best book.”—Judith Shulevitz, The New York Times Book Review A fresh look at this astute, likably quirky statesman, by the author of the Pulitzer Award-winning Founding Brothers and the National Book Award winning American Sphinx. "The most lovable and most laughable, the warmest and possibly the wisest of the founding fathers, John Adams knew himself as few men do and preserved his knowledge in a voluminous correspondence that still resonates. Ellis has used it with great skill and perception not only to bring us the man, warts and all, but more importantly to reveal his extraordinary insights into the problems confronting the founders that resonate today in the republic they created."—Edmund S. Morgan, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University.
Explores how the 1789 congressional election between two future presidents with differing views on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights influenced the destiny of the United States.
A masterful examination of the early years of the American Republic analyzes the eventful last quarter of the eighteenth century, the accomplishments of the American founders, and the triumphs and failures that shaped the early nation and the American character. Reprint. 175,000 first printing.
Presents a narrative profile of the second president and his wife that traces their more than fifty-year partnership in such areas as civic and foreign affairs.
A sweeping and path-breaking history of the post–World War II decades, during which an activist federal government guided the country toward the first real flowering of the American Dream. In The Gifted Generation, historian David Goldfield examines the generation immediately after World War II and argues that the federal government was instrumental in the great economic, social, and environmental progress of the era. Following the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation, the returning vets and their children took the unprecedented economic growth and federal activism to new heights. This generation was led by presidents who believed in the commonwealth ideal: the belief that federal legislation, by encouraging individual opportunity, would result in the betterment of the entire nation. In the years after the war, these presidents created an outpouring of federal legislation that changed how and where people lived, their access to higher education, and their stewardship of the environment. They also spearheaded historic efforts to level the playing field for minorities, women and immigrants. But this dynamic did not last, and Goldfield shows how the shrinking of the federal government shut subsequent generations off from those gifts. David Goldfield brings this unprecedented surge in American legislative and cultural history to life as he explores the presidencies of Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon Baines Johnson. He brilliantly shows how the nation's leaders persevered to create the conditions for the most gifted generation in U.S. history.
Blood of Tyrants reveals the surprising details of our Founding Fathers’ approach to government and this history’s impact on today. Delving into forgotten—and often lurid—facts of the Revolutionary War, Logan Beirne focuses on the nation’s first commander in chief, George Washington, as he shaped the very meaning of the United States Constitution in the heat of battle. Key episodes of the Revolution illustrate how the Founders dealt with thorny wartime issues: How do we protect citizens’ rights when the nation is struggling to defend itself? Who decides war strategy? When should we use military tribunals instead of civilian trials? Should we inflict harsh treatment on enemy captives if it means saving American lives? Beirne finds evidence in previously unexplored documents such as General Washington’s letters debating the use of torture, an eyewitness account of the military tribunal that executed a British prisoner, Founders’ letters warning against government debt, and communications pointing to a power struggle between Washington and the Continental Congress. Vivid stories from the Revolution set the stage for Washington’s pivotal role in the drafting of the Constitution. The Founders saw the first American commander in chief as the template for all future presidents: a leader who would fiercely defend Americans’ rights and liberties against all forms of aggression. Pulling the reader directly into dramatic scenes from history, Blood of Tyrants fills a void in our understanding of the presidency and our ingenious Founders’ pragmatic approach to issues we still face today.
The Quartet by Joseph J. Ellis | Summary & Analysis Preview: The Quartet is an historical account of the debates and events leading up to, during, and immediately following the creation of the Constitution of the United States of America. The quartet is four politicians that played an integral role in the creation, shaping, and implementation of the Constitution and early federal government in the US. These include George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. Each man had some involvement in the American Revolution, which lent credence to the worthiness of their cause and ability to establish a national government. Washington served as the head of the Continental Army. Hamilton served as Washington’s aide de camp and later served as commander of his own troops. Madison was a commissioned colonel of the Orange County militia from Virginia and served on the Continental Congress. Jay also served on the Continental Congress and negotiated the terms of the Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolutionary War… PLEASE NOTE: This is a summary and analysis of the book and NOT the original book. Inside this Instaread Summary & Analysis of The Quartet • Summary of book • Introduction to the Important People in the book • Analysis of the Themes and Author’s Style
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Founding Brothers shares historical insights into America's post-Revolution efforts for independence, citing key debates over the creations of the Articles of Confederation and the Bill of Rights.
Acclaimed historian Richard R. Beeman examines the grueling 22-month period between the meeting of the Continental Congress on September 5, 1774, and the audacious decision for independence in July 1775.
Through portraits of four figures—Charles Willson Peale, Hugh Henry Brackenridge, William Dunlap, and Noah Webster—Joseph Ellis provides a unique perspective on the role of culture in post-Revolutionary America, both its high expectations and its frustrations. Each life is fascinating in its own right, and each is used to brightly illuminate the historical context.

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