Founding Brothers Essay

Submitted By sab3434
Words: 1389
Pages: 6

Founding Brothers is about American Revolution political characters, specially Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, John Adams, George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson. The book describes in detail the early days of the American republic and how a series of outstanding events defined what kind of nation America would turn into and how America would survive its unsettled beginning. The men and Abigail Adams the book focuses on were very close. They may not have been the close friends, but they recognized each other as important political figures. They somehow recognized their own importance, with some of them hamming it up for the future generations and others truly model the grace with which we remember them. The book is broken up into six chapters, all of which deal with a specific issue or moment that in hindsight show how very important the event and its outcome were for the success of the Union.
"The Duel" The first chapter of the novel pertains to the battle between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. One morning in the summer of 1804, the two conducted a duel near Weehawken, New Jersey following the code duello. It resulted in the death of Hamilton which consequently tainted Burr’s reputation. Hamilton was shot and killed by one of two shots that were fired. In the aftermath, two stories were known amongst the public: the Hamilton version and the Burr version. The Hamilton version is that Burr was the first to fire and Hamilton impulsively fired into the air upon being shot. The Burr version is that Hamilton fired first, deliberately missing, and after about four or five seconds, Burr fired that fatal shot that killed Hamilton, who instantaneously fell to the ground. Although this version was almost undoubtedly incorrect, it was somewhat of a consensus amongst the public. Ironically, the Burr version is more believable because it contains the break between the two shots upon which was both sides agreed, therefore making Hamilton’s reflexive shot highly implausible. The duel was the result of Hamilton offending Burr and then refusing to apologize.
"The Dinner" An interesting chapter discussing a crucial dinner party hosted by Thomas Jefferson where Alexander Hamilton and James Madison agreed to cut a deal that quite frankly may have saved the Union. Hamilton wanted the federal government to assume all state debts from the Revolutionary War. It was his idea that this would support the national government by making the states economically tied to it, that the states would pay taxes back to the national government. His Federalist Party associates, those who wanted a strong national government, agreed with him. On the other side of the problem was James Madison, a Republican, who felt that a strong national government was against the very doctrines of the Revolution. Obviously, he was against the plan. As a compromise, Hamilton agreed to allow the nation's capital to be built on the Potomac River, as opposed to farther north, if Madison went along with his "assumption" plan. Madison conceded and the rest is history. "The Silence” This chapter was one of the more troubling. Essentially, our founding fathers knew slavery was a big problem. But they also knew that doing the right thing, abolishing slavery, would tear this infant nation apart. This chapter details a debate within Congress where it was basically decided that as a federal government we would remain silent on this issue until at least 1808. Of course, the battle lines of the Civil War were readily apparent in this debate as the South and its unnecessary reliance on slave labor was stressed, while the North expressed their disgust with the institution. However, it was the North's seeming indifference to the predicament of the slaves themselves that convinced them that silence on this issue for the time being was more practical. An interesting question could be raised: if our founding fathers had dealt with this issue back in 1787 would America be the…