Monday, March 02, 2009

The Founders on the Founders; Word Portraits from the American Revolutionary Era

portrait of Thomas Jefferson 3rd president of the United StatesToo often we read about the great men who founded this country from a scholarly perspective. A view which highlights their accomplishments and their public persona, which sometimes does not give insight into their true character. The Founders on the Founders: Word Portraits from the American Revolutionary Era changes that.

Through a collection of quotes from journals, John P. Kaminski profiles 30 of the revolution's best known men and women and gives them a personality. The quotes he's chosen bring out the character of each individual, but with a twist. The twist is that most of the quotes are candid "conversations" (letters written between two people), where they talk openly and honestly about someone else. This, is what reveals the WORD PORTRAIT of that individual. The result is fascinating.

Take for example, Thomas Jefferson. We mostly know Jefferson as the quiet, eloquent, peace maker, who would greet people in the White House wearing his slippers. Kaminski's book reveals much more.

Written chronologically, each chapter profiles the men and women of the Revolution as we rarely see them. The book reveals a Jefferson who is vulnerable, heartbroken, depressed and inconsolable. A series of letters between James Madison and Edmund Randolph (Member of the Continental Congress, and would eventually become Va. Governor and Secretary of State) help to tell this story. I've inluded one example below.

James Madison to Edmund Randolph - September 30, 1782 (on Jefferson)

"Mrs. Jefferson has at last shaken off her tormenting pains by yielding to them, (she died Sep. 6) and has left our friend inconsolable... I scarcely supposed, that his grief would be so violent, as to justify the circulating report, of his swooning away whenever he sees his children."
A side of Jefferson we rarely think about, a new portrait of the man we associate with pride and eloquence. A word portrait, as painted by the men who new him best.

The book, The Founders on the Founders is a great reference to reveal the true spirit of our founding fathers.

You can read more about the book here: The Founders on the Founders: Word Portraits from the American Revolutionary Erabook revolutionary era founding fathers quotes

Related Posts by Categories


Mike B said...

I agree on you analysis of the book. I read it over Christmas, and it enhanced my understanding of the humanity and frailities of these men, making me admire them all the more for their stand for liberty and independence.

Great review.

US said...

Thanks for checking in Mike, I appreciate your opinion.

Pam Walter said...

This sounds fascinating! I sometimes ask myself, though, if I really want to see "behind the curtain" so to speak. In the past this has resulted in disillusionment.

Arvind Leo Pereira said...

Few queries am seeking:
When the US increased from being 13 states to 52, they bought few states and went to war to acquire the new states.
They acquired states that spoke English, French and Spanish.
But why is that they did not attempt to integrate with Canada?
The forefathers who built the US did not keep Canada in mind and identify Canada as a part of the US.

Post a Comment