HIS 315K Ellis - ReadingGuide:JosephEllis,FoundingBrothers:,2000(Seaholm,2005 General:: in1790.,

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Reading Guide:  Joseph Ellis,  Founding Brothers:  The Revolutionary Generation , 2000 (Seaholm, 2005) General:   Note the description on the back of the book:  “The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality  in 1790.  During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers—reexamined here as Founding Brothers— combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical  workings of our government.  Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes—Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel,  Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, Adams’ administration and political partnership with his wife, the  debate about where to place the capital, Franklin’s attempt to force Congress to confront the issue of slavery and  Madison’s attempts to block him, and Jefferson and Adams’ famous correspondence— Founding Brothers  brings to  life the vital issues and personalities from the most important decade in our nation’s history.” As you read this book, ask yourself these questions: 1. Why was the US “more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790”? 2. How did the Founding Fathers combine “the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of  the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government”?  When did interpretations of those  documents come into conflict? 3. Do you understand Ellis’ account and interpretation of the six episodes?  What, as he recounts each  episode, does Ellis want you to understand?   4. You may need to “google” (or refer to an encyclopedia) certain words or phrases, eg Thermidorian  Reaction, Cicero, Catiline.   5. Finally, many find footnotes tedious and ignore them altogether.  Most of Ellis’ footnotes are to cite sources.  Occasionally, he uses a footnote for a clarifying comment.  It wouldn’t hurt to glance over the footnotes for  each chapter after reading the chapter. Preface:   Read this chapter carefully.   1. What does Ellis mean when he writes that we need “to be nearsighted and farsighted at the same time”? 2. Ellis observes that there were two phases, or two founding moments of the American Revolution?  What  were these founding moments, and why were they incompatible?   3. Note what Ellis says about the origins of the term “American” and the colonists claim that they had the  rights of British citizens. 4.
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This note was uploaded on 09/17/2011 for the course HIS 315K taught by Professor Matttribbe during the Fall '11 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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HIS 315K Ellis - ReadingGuide:JosephEllis,FoundingBrothers:,2000(Seaholm,2005 General:: in1790.,

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