What kind of America did the Founding Fathers seek to create? In his latest book, historian Myron Magnet examines that question through a series of lively biographies that span the eighty years from the awakening of the revolutionary idea to its fulfillment in the firmly established new republic.
Vivid, energetic men with sophisticated worldviews, the Founders left rich and compelling accounts of their actions and well-considered intentions in their own eloquent writings. Unlike many other historians, Mr. Magnet considers the physical world of the Founders, as well as the rhetorical one, examining the houses the Founders built as revealing embodiments of the ideal of life their owners strove to bring into being. How so many divergent personalities—Washington, Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, John Jay, the Lees of Stratford Hall, and polemicist William Livingston—came together to create a Republic is a standing historical mystery, according to Mr. Magnet, and one that is best understood by pondering the biographies of the men themselves and their profound and world-changing ideas.
Myron Magnet, an editor of City Journal, was awarded a National Humanities Medal in 2008. He lives in New York City.
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