Revolutionary characters : what made the founders different /

The author offers a series of studies of the men who came to be known as the Founding Fathers. Each life is considered in the round, but the thread that binds the work together is the idea of character as a lived reality for these men. For these were men, Wood shows, that took the matter of characte...

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Main Author: Wood, Gordon S., (Author)
Format: Book
Language:English
Published:New York : Penguin Press, [2006]
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Main Author:Wood, Gordon S., author.
Summary:The author offers a series of studies of the men who came to be known as the Founding Fathers. Each life is considered in the round, but the thread that binds the work together is the idea of character as a lived reality for these men. For these were men, Wood shows, that took the matter of character very seriously. They were the first generation in history that was self-consciously self-made, men who considered the arc of lives, as of nations, as being one of moral progress. They saw themselves as comprising the world's first meritocracy, as opposed to the decadent Old World aristocracy of inherited wealth and station. Historian Wood's accomplishment here is to bring these men and their times down to earth and within our reach, showing us just who they were and what drove them, and that the virtues they defined for themselves are the virtues we aspire to still.--From publisher description.

Even when the greatness of the founding fathers isn't being debunked, it is a quality that feels very far away from us indeed: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Co. seem as distant as marble faces carved high into a mountainside. We may marvel at the fact that fate placed such a talented cohort of political leaders in that one place, the east coast of North America, in colonies between Virginia and Massachusetts, and during that one fateful period, but that doesn't really help us explain it or teach us the proper lessons to draw from it. What did make the founders different? Now, the incomparable Gordon Wood has written a book that shows us, among many other things, just how much character did matter. Revolutionary Charactersoffers a series of brilliantly illuminating studies of the men who came to be known as the founding fathers. Each life is considered in the round, but the thread that binds the work together and gives it the cumulative power of a revelation is this idea of character as a lived reality for these men. For these were men, Gordon Wood shows, who took the matter of character very, very seriously. They were the first generation in history that was self-consciously self-made, men who understood the arc of lives, as of nations, as being one of moral progress. They saw themselves as comprising the world's first true meritocracy, a natural aristocracy as opposed to the decadent Old World aristocracy of inherited wealth and station. Gordon Wood's wondrous accomplishment here is to bring these men and their times down to earth and within our reach, showing us just who they were and what drove them. In so doing, he shows us that although a lot has changed in two hundred years, to an amazing degree the virtues these founders defined for themselves are the virtues we aspire to still.

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Copyright:©2006
Physical Description:x, 321 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography:Includes bibliographical references (pages 275-307) and index.
ISBN:1594200939
9781594200939
9780143112082
0143112082
0786577916
9780786577910
Author Notes:

History professor and award-winning author Gordon S. Wood was born in Concord, Massachusetts on November 27, 1933. After graduating in 1955 from Tufts University he served in the US Air Force in Japan and earned his master's degree from Harvard University. In 1964, Wood earned his Ph. D. in history from Harvard, and he taught there, as well as at the College of William and Mary and the University of Michigan, before joining the Brown University faculty in 1969.

Wood has published a number of articles and books, including The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, which won the Bancroft Prize and the John H. Dunning Prize in 1970, and The Radicalism of the American Revolution, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize in 1993. He has won many other awards in the past five decades from organizations such as the American Historical Association, the New York Historical Society, and the Fraunces Tavern Museum. Wood is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. In 2014, his book, The American Revolution: A History, was on the New York Times bestseller list.

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