Review by Choice Review
In declaring independence, US founders deliberately rejected monarchy and with it titles of nobility and the divine right of kings. This did not mean, however, that the patriots were of one mind when it came to the design of the new United States. In his carefully researched interpretation of the founding of the US, Cutterham (Univ. of Birmingham, UK) focuses on the creation of a new republic in which America's elites both redefined the notion of being "gentlemen" and asserted themselves as the ruling class undermining democratic uprisings, like Shays' Rebellion in 1786. As these elites grappled among themselves about the meaning of power and justice in a new republic, they also asserted their own power over what they considered an "excess of democracy" as the government under the Articles of Confederation floundered. These "American gentlemen" presented diverse views on how to save their republic. Cutterham draws from the letters, pamphlets, and journals of well-known founders such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson to focus on the years leading up to the 1787 Philadelphia convention. He explores how they forged a new nation led by men who were at once gentlemen elites and revolutionaries. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students/faculty. --Sarah Batterson, University of New Hampshire
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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