July 14, 1996
Robin Abcarian's column in which she castigated the framers of this nation for "whining" and "relentless self-obsession" made my blood boil ("A Nation Born of Whiners, By George," July 3). Abcarian states that she reread the Declaration of Independence hoping to be "entranced by its statement of principles, its passion for freedom, its exegesis of what was right with the New World and hopelessly wrong with the old." The document addresses the first and second objects of her search as well as any in the written annals of man. The third, the "exegesis," was not ever considered to be a part of it. That catalog of wrongdoings and repressions was included for a dual purpose: to explain the dissolution of the bonds between the new nation and the British Empire and in a fervent hope that foreign aid would rescue the out-manned, out-gunned, out-trained and undersupplied Continental Army.
January 3, 1999 |
The founding fathers must be spinning in their graves. In the current impeachment battle, both sides incessantly invoke the framers of the Constitution, arguing that they never intended censure as an alternative to impeachment and trial, or that President Bill Clinton's sexual malfeasance does not rise to the prescribed level of "high crimes and misdemeanors." Just last week, Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.
June 7, 1987 |
Major commemorations of historical events, like the recent celebration of the Statue of Liberty, have a tendency to deteriorate into mindless evocations of the American Dream--patriotic, orchestrated, self-congratulatory, ritualistic orgies with little substantive content. The celebration of the Constitution, under the grandiose title "Miracle at Philadelphia," also threatens to become shrouded in mythology.
September 26, 1993 |
"The Age of Federalism" is an impressive achievement. Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick have produced an original, scholarly and sparkling account of this nation's first crucial decade under the Constitution. The book combines meticulous historical analysis with a sweeping narrative in which the founding fathers emerge as believable people--at crucial moments wise, vain, petty, ambitious, confused, imaginative, courageous, self-righteous, passionate and stubborn.
February 18, 2008 |
The names and public acts of the founding fathers are familiar to many Americans, but their thoughts have remained largely a mystery. "People think it would be difficult to touch them as who they were," historian David McCullough told a recent Senate hearing. "And it is, except in what they wrote." For 65 years, scholars have been compiling, transcribing and annotating the writings of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.
July 11, 2003 |
"GENTLEMAN Revolutionary" is an indulgent look at one of the men who played a secondary role in the creation of the United States. Richard Brookhiser, a senior editor at the National Review and author of books on George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, among others, calls Gouverneur Morris a founding father. He was more like a founding cousin.