Summary Of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation By Joseph J. Ellis

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Joseph J. Ellis makes plain his argument in the preface of “Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation”. He argues that “the central events and achievements of the revolutionary era and the early republic were political” and that because these events shaped the development of the republic up to, and including, today, these events are “historically significant” (pg. 13). For this reason, Ellis argues—contrary to what historians such as T. H. Breen and Alfred F. Young argue in their own works—that the most important participants in the Revolution and the era immediately after it were not the ordinary individuals but rather the leaders and the political figures who history has chosen to remember the clearest (pg. 13). Ellis argues that these men developed a sense of their own historical significance long before they were historically significant. He suggests that the fact that they are remembered the clearest is not necessarily an oversight on the part of historians, but rather, they are remembered best because they are the ones we ought to be remembering (pg. 13). Ellis’ narrative is mostly chronological, though the first chapter exists outside of the chronology to show an exception to the norm. His first story, that of the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton at Weehawken on July 11th 1804, is the only such recorded story in which …show more content…

He draws from historical and contemporary scholarship, letters and journals, as well as court and government documents to list just a few. Unfortunately, these sources aren’t terribly accessible and while he cites those directly quoted in the book, he writes that to record all the sources that influenced him would be “cumbersome” (pg. 249). The presentation of these sources that he does choose to highlight would give no trouble to a scholar, but to the average reader who might be interested in further information related to the topic, his notes might be problematic to

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