Founding Brothers is an illuminating, Pulitzer Prize-winning study of the intertwined lives of the founders of the American republic: Adams, Burr, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and Washington. During the 1790s these great statesmen came together to define the new republic and direct its course for the future. Ellis focuses on six key 'moments' in this era: Burr and Hamilton's deadly duel; the 'secret dinner' of Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison, during which the seat of the nation's capital was determined; Franklin's petition to end slavery, and Madison's efforts to quash it; Washington's farewell address that offered his country some parting advice about US involvement in other nations' affairs; Adams's difficult term as Washington's successor; and Adams and Jefferson's correspondence at the end of their lives, in which they compared their views of the Revolution and its legacy.
In a lively and engaging narrative, Ellis shows us the private characters behind the public personas, and argues that the checks and balances that permitted the republic to endure were intensely personal, rooted in the dynamic interaction of these men. Founding Brothers informs our understanding of American politics - then, and now.