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The Return Of George Washington

Author: Edward Larson
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062248693
Size: 51.52 MB
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "An elegantly written account of leadership at the most pivotal moment in American history" (Philadelphia Inquirer): Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson reveals how George Washington saved the United States by coming out of retirement to lead the Constitutional Convention and serve as our first president. After leading the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War, George Washington shocked the world: he retired. In December 1783, General Washington, the most powerful man in the country, stepped down as Commander in Chief and returned to private life at Mount Vernon. Yet as Washington contentedly grew his estate, the fledgling American experiment floundered. Under the Articles of Confederation, the weak central government was unable to raise revenue to pay its debts or reach a consensus on national policy. The states bickered and grew apart. When a Constitutional Convention was established to address these problems, its chances of success were slim. Jefferson, Madison, and the other Founding Fathers realized that only one man could unite the fractious states: George Washington. Reluctant, but duty-bound, Washington rode to Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 to preside over the Convention. Although Washington is often overlooked in most accounts of the period, this masterful new history from Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward J. Larson brilliantly uncovers Washington’s vital role in shaping the Convention—and shows how it was only with Washington’s support and his willingness to serve as President that the states were brought together and ratified the Constitution, thereby saving the country.

George Washington Nationalist

Author: Edward J. Larson
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
ISBN: 0813938996
Size: 64.38 MB
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George Washington was the unanimous choice of his fellow founders for president, and he is remembered to this day as an exceptional leader, but how exactly did this manifest itself during his lifetime? In George Washington, Nationalist, acclaimed author Edward J. Larson reveals the fascinating backstory of Washington’s leadership in the political, legal, and economic consolidation of the new nation, spotlighting his crucial role in forming a more perfect union. The years following the American Revolution were a critical period in American history, when the newly independent states teetered toward disunion under the Articles of Confederation. Looking at a selection of Washington’s most pivotal acts—including conferring with like-minded nationalists, establishing navigational rights on the Potomac, and quelling the near uprising of unpaid revolutionary troops against the Confederation Congress—Larson shows Washington’s central role in the drive for reform leading up to the Constitutional Convention. His leadership at that historic convention, followed by his mostly behind-the-scenes efforts in the ratification process and the first federal election, and culminating in his inauguration as president, complete the picture of Washington as the nation’s first citizen. This important and deeply researched book brings Washington’s unique gift for leadership to life for modern readers, offering a timely addition to the growing body of literature on the Constitution, presidential leadership, executive power, and state-federal relations. Gay Hart Gaines Distinguished Lectures Preparation of this volume has been supported by The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon and by a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Lewis E. Lehrman.

For Fear Of An Elective King

Author: Kathleen Bartoloni-Tuazon
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801471907
Size: 14.30 MB
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In the spring of 1789, within weeks of the establishment of the new federal government based on the U.S. Constitution, the Senate and House of Representatives fell into dispute regarding how to address the president. Congress, the press, and individuals debated more than a dozen titles, many of which had royal associations and some of which were clearly monarchical. For Fear of an Elective King is Kathleen Bartoloni-Tuazon's rich account of the title controversy and its meanings. The short, intense legislative phase and the prolonged, equally intense public phase animated and shaped the new nation’s broadening political community. Rather than simply reflecting an obsession with etiquette, the question challenged Americans to find an acceptable balance between power and the people’s sovereignty while assuring the country’s place in the Atlantic world. Bartoloni-Tuazon argues that the resolution of the controversy in favor of the modest title of "President" established the importance of recognition of the people's views by the president and evidence of modesty in the presidency, an approach to leadership that fledged the presidency’s power by not flaunting it. How the country titled the president reflected the views of everyday people, as well as the recognition by social and political elites of the irony that authority rested with acquiescence to egalitarian principles. The controversy’s outcome affirmed the republican character of the country’s new president and government, even as the conflict was the opening volley in increasingly partisan struggles over executive power. As such, the dispute is as relevant today as in 1789.

A Magnificent Catastrophe

Author: Edward J. Larson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1416568409
Size: 45.66 MB
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CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title "They could write like angels and scheme like demons." So begins Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward Larson's masterful account of the wild ride that was the 1800 presidential election—an election so convulsive and so momentous to the future of American democracy that Thomas Jefferson would later dub it "America's second revolution." This was America's first true presidential campaign, giving birth to our two-party system and indelibly etching the lines of partisanship that have so profoundly shaped American politics ever since. The contest featured two of our most beloved Founding Fathers, once warm friends, facing off as the heads of their two still-forming parties—the hot-tempered but sharp-minded John Adams, and the eloquent yet enigmatic Thomas Jefferson—flanked by the brilliant tacticians Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, who later settled their own differences in a duel. The country was descending into turmoil, reeling from the terrors of the French Revolution, and on the brink of war with France. Blistering accusations flew as our young nation was torn apart along party lines: Adams and his elitist Federalists would squelch liberty and impose a British-style monarchy; Jefferson and his radically democratizing Republicans would throw the country into chaos and debase the role of religion in American life. The stakes could not have been higher. As the competition heated up, other founders joined the fray—James Madison, John Jay, James Monroe, Gouverneur Morris, George Clinton, John Marshall, Horatio Gates, and even George Washington—some of them emerging from retirement to respond to the political crisis gripping the nation and threatening its future. Drawing on unprecedented, meticulous research of the day-to-day unfolding drama, from diaries and letters of the principal players as well as accounts in the fast-evolving partisan press, Larson vividly re-creates the mounting tension as one state after another voted and the press had the lead passing back and forth. The outcome remained shrouded in doubt long after the voting ended, and as Inauguration Day approached, Congress met in closed session to resolve the crisis. In its first great electoral challenge, our fragile experiment in constitutional democracy hung in the balance. A Magnificent Catastrophe is history writing at its evocative best: the riveting story of the last great contest of the founding period.

Summer For The Gods

Author: Edward J. Larson
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0786721936
Size: 71.90 MB
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In the summer of 1925, the sleepy hamlet of Dayton, Tennessee, became the setting for one of the 20th century's most contentious dramas: the Scopes trial that pit William Jennings Bryan and the anti-Darwinists against a teacher named John Scopes into a famous debate over science, religion, and their place in public education That trial marked the start of a battle that continues to this day-in Dover, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Cobb County, Georgia, and many other cities and states throughout the country. Edward Larson's classic, Summer for the Gods, received the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1998 and is the single most authoritative account of a pivotal event whose combatants remain at odds in school districts and courtrooms. For this edition, Larson has added a new preface that assesses the state of the battle between creationism and evolution, and points the way to how it might potentially be resolved.

The Royalist Revolution

Author: Eric Nelson
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 067473534X
Size: 72.85 MB
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The founding fathers were rebels against the British Parliament, Eric Nelson argues, not the Crown. As a result of their labors, the 1787 Constitution assigned its new president far more power than any British monarch had wielded for 100 years. On one side of the Atlantic were kings without monarchy; on the other, monarchy without kings.

The Men Who United The States

Author: Simon Winchester
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 006207962X
Size: 66.34 MB
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Simon Winchester, the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Atlantic and The Professor and the Madman, delivers his first book about America: a fascinating popular history that illuminates the men who toiled fearlessly to discover, connect, and bond the citizenry and geography of the U.S.A. from its beginnings. How did America become “one nation, indivisible”? What unified a growing number of disparate states into the modern country we recognize today? To answer these questions, Winchester follows in the footsteps of America’s most essential explorers, thinkers, and innovators, such as Lewis and Clark and the leaders of the Great Surveys; the builders of the first transcontinental telegraph and the powerful civil engineer behind the Interstate Highway System. He treks vast swaths of territory, from Pittsburgh to Portland, Rochester to San Francisco, Seattle to Anchorage, introducing the fascinating people who played a pivotal role in creating today’s United States. Throughout, he ponders whether the historic work of uniting the States has succeeded, and to what degree. Featuring 32 illustrations throughout the text, The Men Who United the States is a fresh look at the way in which the most powerful nation on earth came together.

The Quartet

Author: Joseph J. Ellis
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0385353413
Size: 30.28 MB
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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.

Our Lives Our Fortunes And Our Sacred Honor

Author: Richard R. Beeman
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465037828
Size: 34.63 MB
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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.

Don T Know Much About The American Presidents

Author: Kenneth C. Davis
Publisher: Hachette Books
ISBN: 1401304737
Size: 12.96 MB
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Which president broke the law to prevent enslaved people from being freed? Who said, "When the president does it,that means it's not illegal"? Why does America have a president? From the heated debates among the framers of the Constitution in 1787 over an "elected king," to the creation of the presidency, and on through rich profiles of each man who has held the office, New York Times bestselling author Kenneth C. Davis takes readers on a guided tour of American history. Examining each chief executive, from the low lights to the bright lights, the memorable to the forgettable and the forgotten, Davis tells all the stories, offering rich anecdotes about real people. He also charts the history of the presidency itself, debunking myths and grading the presidents from A+ to F. For history buffs and history-phobes alike, this entertaining book may change your understanding of the highest office in the land throughout more than two hundred years of history.