In the wake of the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers faced a daunting task: overcome their competing visions to build a new nation, the likes of which the world had never seen. As hostile debates raged over how to protect their new hard-won freedoms, two men formed an improbable partnership that would launch the fledgling United States: George Washington and Alexander Hamilton.
Washington and Hamilton chronicles the unlikely collaboration between these two conflicting characters at the heart of our national narrative: Washington, the indispensable general devoted to classical virtues, and Hamilton, an ambitious officer and lawyer eager for fame of the noblest kind.
Working together, they laid the groundwork for the institutions that govern the United States to this day and protected each other from bitter attacks from Jefferson and Madison, who considered their policies a betrayal of the republican ideals they had fought for.
Yet while Washington and Hamilton's different personalities often led to fruitful collaboration, their conflicting ideals also tested the boundaries of their relationship—and threatened the future of the new republic.
From the rumblings of the American Revolution through the fractious Constitutional Convention and America's turbulent first years, this captivating history reveals the stunning impact of this unlikely duo that set the United States on the path to becoming a superpower.
Thompson considers Washington's active participation as a vestryman and church warden as well as a generous donor to his parish prior to the Revolution, and how his attendance declined after the war. He would attend special ceremonies, and stood as godparent to the children of family and friends, but he stopped taking communion and resigned his church office. Something had changed, but was it Washington, the church, or both? Thompson concludes that he was a devout Anglican, of a Latitudinarian bent, rather than either an evangelical Christian or a Deist. The meaning of this description, Thompson allows, when applied to eighteenth-century Virginia gentlemen, is far from self-evident, leaving ample room for speculation.
It began on September 5, 1774, when elected delegates from eleven of the American colonies first assembled in Philadelphia. Surprisingly, that First American Republic is most often dismissed in textbooks and popular history as a failed attempt at self-government. And yet, it was during that fifteen year period that the United States won the war against the strongest empire on Earth, established organized government as far west as the Mississippi River, built alliances with some of the great powers of Europe and transformed thirteen separate entities into a national confederation.
When the Continental Congress initially met in 1774, its very first order of business was to elect one of its own members to serve as President. He functioned as Head of State, much as the Presidents of Germany and Italy do today. He signed all official documents, received all foreign visitors and represented the emerging nation at official events and through extensive correspondence. While Congress retained all other executive, legislative and judicial functions, the President even presided over its deliberations. Eventually, a house, carriage and servants were provided for the President as a sign of national pride and respect.
In all, fourteen distinguished individuals were chosen by their peers for this unique and awesome responsibility. They were the giants of their age, men of power, wealth and experience who often led their new nation through extremely difficult days largely on the strength of their character. For far too long they have been lost to history.
This is their story.
This wide variety of topics has been collected for the first time in Essays on the Presidents, along with new essays and forewords. Boller's prose, distinct and inviting, causes the reader to see what is often overlooked in the history of American presidents: their humanity. Boller has searched for those patriotic narratives we have all heard at some point in our lives—whether from our schoolteachers, coworkers, or various trivia books—and corrects the misconceptions many Americans deem as truth in a lighthearted and truly characteristic voice. From Washington's relationship with the Jews to the electioneering and stump-speaking associated with American presidential campaigns, readers will not only see the significant changes in the presidential office since its conception, but also Boller’s lifetime of research and his expertise in the field of American history. Personality—of the most interesting presidents and of Boller himself—is an important theme throughout this collection.The in-depth retelling of treasured American stories will captivate readers and keep them exploring for more nuggets of truth. Boller tracks the relationship between Americans and the presidents, uncovering the intricate nature of presidential responsibilities and the remarkable men whose leadership shaped the office into what it is today. Celebrating the commanders-in-chief and the career of the nationally-recognized American historian and TCU Emeritus Professor of political science, Essays on the Presidents serves as a unique perspective on American history that fans of both Boller and the presidents will enjoy.
At a time when our country seems divided by extremism, American Gospel draws on the past to offer a new perspective. Meacham re-creates the fascinating history of a nation grappling with religion and politics–from John Winthrop’s “city on a hill” sermon to Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence; from the Revolution to the Civil War; from a proposed nineteenth-century Christian Amendment to the Constitution to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call for civil rights; from George Washington to Ronald Reagan.
Debates about religion and politics are often more divisive than illuminating. Secularists point to a “wall of separation between church and state,” while many conservatives act as though the Founding Fathers were apostles in knee britches. As Meacham shows in this brisk narrative, neither extreme has it right. At the heart of the American experiment lies the God of what Benjamin Franklin called “public religion,” a God who invests all human beings with inalienable rights while protecting private religion from government interference. It is a great American balancing act, and it has served us well.
Meacham has written and spoken extensively about religion and politics, and he brings historical authority and a sense of hope to the issue. American Gospel makes it compellingly clear that the nation’s best chance of summoning what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” lies in recovering the spirit and sense of the Founding. In looking back, we may find the light to lead us forward.
Readers will learn how Jews have created community and institutions, confronted anti-Semitism, and interacted among themselves and with other groups. They will read about immigration, migration, and socioeconomic mobility. And they will discover how Jews have filled critical economic niches, contributed disproportionately in a variety of endeavors, and changed over time and in reaction to circumstances. In this wide-ranging work, Jewish Americans are depicted in a balanced and accurate manner, describing Nobel Prize winners and standout economic success stories as well as those who achieved fame and notoriety in other ways.