Joseph J. Ellis Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

883 Words4 Pages

Sarah Lewis
Mr. Bishop
HIS 131-05IN
It Takes Many Men to Make a Country
Joseph J. Ellis reveals just how much each person’s decisions affect the history of America in Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. It is a good representation of America’s past emphasizing the various people involved. It starts slow but improves as the book progresses by including multiple accounts of the same story, many different sources, and facts to verify the different statements. America came to be on July 4, 1776. Since this day, America has greatly expanded and become one of the world’s leading countries. The development of America and its government did not just occur on its own. It took many great men, difficult decisions, and quite …show more content…

He covers people such as Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. He does not cover everything about these people; just the portions of their lives that he feels are the most important to America’s history. The entire first chapter discusses the duel between Hamilton and Burr. It emphasizes the importance of honor these two men wished to obtain. Ellis summarizes the whole purpose of the duel when he says, “Honor mattered because character mattered.” (47) Good character was essential to becoming important in the political world. With a new government just starting out, being involved in the political scene was a high priority for these men. They could not seem to work out their differences so they had a duel. The duel resulted in the death of Alexander Hamilton. Ellis references a viewpoint in favor of Hamilton and one in favor of Burr. Although no one will ever know exactly what happened during the duel, Ellis points out that it forever changed the life of Burr. Burr’s decisions ruined his chance at being a leading man in the government and therefore influenced who would pick up where Burr had left off. This situation emphasizes Ellis’s argument that men make history. Ellis not only uses stories to prove his point; he also used a chart to make his facts easy to …show more content…

The chart on page 102 makes the numbers about the north and the south easy to compare. He also manages to incorporate song lyrics, speeches, and direct quotes. This is an effective method because it utilizes multiple information methods. Joseph Ellis uses various types of sources in Founding Brothers. He gathers material from the founding fathers letters, speeches, biographies of men such as Burr, and novels. Ellis provides an extensive list of creditable sources basing his argument on research. The founding fathers thoughts and words affected their decisions, which influenced the fate of the country. George Washington’s Farewell Speech revealed his decisions to leave the presidency after two terms. “This was both a matter of personal pride and a crucial political precedent.” (149) Washington’s decision to step down after two terms would eventually become a presidential requirement. Washington’s choice affected the history of almost every president that followed

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