History of the United States in Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis – Book Report/Review Example
The paper "History of the United States in Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis" is an excellent example of a book report on history. The early history of the United States was filled with much violence and controversy. The book Founding Brothers, by Joseph J. Ellis, dives into early American history; from the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr to the deaths of Thomas Jefferson and his long-time friend, John Addams. In the first episode, The Duel, A duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr was arranged. It was scheduled to take place on July 11, 1804, in the Weehawken plains. Jefferson openly stated he will shoot wide and purposefully miss Burr. There were two shots and Hamilton was hit by Burr’s bullet. It is said Burr aimed his gun and dealt the killing blow three seconds after the first shot. When spectators came to Hamilton’s aid, they reached for his gun but he warned them not to touch it; it was still loaded. The next day, Hamilton died. Aaron Burr was driven to western America where he tried to side with the British to become a governor in their colonies
Ellis takes us further back in time with his next episode, The Dinner. Dinner takes place in 1790. The three main figures in this episode are Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. The meeting was supposed to prevent the legislative body from becoming hindered. The three debated different plans for the recovery of the national debt. As they debated they made a few deals along the way, including an attempt to make the location of the permanent US capital in Potomac in exchange for Hamilton’s fiscal policy for the southern colonies.
The Silence takes place on February 11, 1970. Two Quaker delegations petitioned for the abolition of the African slave trade. This episode reveals the hypocrisy of a government that wanted freedom from England but would not provide freedom to slaves.
The southern states made threats to succeed power if the abolition of slavery was in open discussion. Though some good points were brought up to make slavery illegal there was no action taken upon the topic due to threats from the south. Congress stated that the fledgling country relied on slaves for economic stability.
The Farewell is about George Washington’s retirement from office. He had written a letter stating he will not take a third term of presidency and his vision of future America. Washington stressed the need for national unity and a “national university”.
The episode includes many thoughts about George Washington early Americans had. Many Americans had negative perceptions of him. One of those people is Thomas Jefferson. Washington believed in neutrality between wars in Europe while Jefferson sought to assist the French in defeating its adversary, England.
“An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.” –Thomas Jefferson
In the episode titled The Collaborators, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were said to be great friends during the revolution. Their political views were different and presidency tore them apart. During his election in 1800, Thomas Jefferson would spread false rumors and secretly denouncing his long-time friend.
The Friendship concluded the story of the two warring friends. After a long period of silence, they slowly begin to rebuild their friendship. Nearing July 4th, 1824, the fiftieth anniversary of American Independence Day was approaching. On July 3rd, John Addams fell into a coma, likewise, Thomas Jefferson collapsed and he too fell into a coma not too long after Addams’ death on July 4th, 1824. That afternoon, Addams awoke stating his last words, “Thomas Jefferson survives” and dies shortly after.
What I like about this book is the amount of history that is bound within its pages. The way history is told in Founding Brothers lets the reader take a glimpse into the actual people who founded the United States. The stories that we weren’t told in school as children are learned with much enthusiasm and intimacy, thus revealing them to be more human than a symbolic figure from the past. The most interesting piece of American history I have learned was the story between Thomas Jefferson and John Addams. They represent what true friendship is; even though they may have times of quarrel, in the end, their friendship prevails.
The episode titled The Silence has me somewhat appalled at the state of the government at the time. Congress let itself give in to pressure from the south. The action congress took was shameful and revealed how weak the government really was. All-in-all, this book is a must-read for those who are interested in early American history. It elaborately covers the history of America and the men behind its beginnings.