The 5th president's policies helped create an “Era of Good Feelings,” a prosperous time never seen before or since in American history.
Editor's Note: Harlow Giles Unger is the author of twenty-eight books, including more than a dozen biographies of America’s Founding Fathers.
Fierce debate among early political factions led to many allegations of misdeeds and abuse of power in Washington's administration, but there was no serious misconduct.
Historians have reached no consensus in their interpretations of the administrations of George Washington and John Adams, but two statements can be made with little fear of contradiction.
A thoughtful discussion of the men who contributed the most to what is now the dominant political pattern
The swing to conservatism in American politics and culture is one of the most remarkable facts of our age. The signs of this conservatism are all about us.
A diminutive, persuasive Virginian hijacked the Constitutional Convention and forced the moderates to accept a national government with vastly expanded powers
On May 5, 1787, James Madison arrived in Philadelphia.
Without major compromises by all involved and the agreement to avoid the contentious issue of slavery, the framers would never have written and ratified the Constitution
In September 1789, at the end of the Constitutional Convention, James Madison wrote in dismay to his old friend Thomas Jefferson, who was an ocean away in Paris. “I hazard an opinion,” he lamented, “that the plan should it be adopted will neither effectively answer the national object nor prevent the local mischiefs which everywhere excite disgust against the state governments.”
The Founding Fathers’ belief in the “law of the land” derived from a 13th-century document recently donated to the National Archives
Alexander Hamilton conceived an America that encouraged huge successes like his own
The eighteenth century was an aristocratic age, even in relatively egalitarian America. The elite were the major landowners in the plantation colonies, such as Thomas Jefferson, and the great merchants in port cities, such as John Hancock.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson stood together in America’s perilous dawn, but politics soon drove them apart. Then in their last years the two old enemies began a remarkable correspondence that is both testimony to the power of friendship and an eloquent summary of the dialogue that went on within the Revolutionary generation—and that continues within our own.
Two hundred years ago the United States was a weakling republic prostrate beneath a ruinous national debt. Then Alexander Hamilton worked the miracle of fiscal imagination that made America a healthy young economic giant. How did he do it?
One price of political greatness is to be forced to campaign even long after death. The Founding Fathers, particularly, have been constantly dragged from their graves for partisan purposes.
Every one of the Founding Fathers was a historian—a historian who believed that only history could protect us from tyranny and coercion. In their reactions to the long, bloody pageant of the English past, we can see mirrored the framers’ intent.
It took an Englishman, William Gladstone, to say what Americans have always thought: “The American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.” From this side of the water, however,
After a summer of debate, three of the delegates in Philadelphia could not bring themselves to put their names to the document they had worked so hard to create
THE FINAL MOMENT CAME ON MONDAY MORNING, September 17,1787. The heat of summer had given way to a hint of autumn crispness. A weekend rain had cleared the air in Philadelphia and left the city fresh.
James Wilson was an important but now obscure draftsman of the Constitution. Carry Wills is a journalist and historian fascinated by what went on in the minds of our founders. The two men meet in an imaginary dialogue across the centuries.
His red judge’s robe looked faded and theatrical by daylight. People at the bus stop stared at him, and his face flushed near the color of the robe. But he busily ignored them.
Here is the federal government’s own picture history of our times—and it tells us more than you might think
FEW ARE AWARE of a major publishing project that has been sponsored by the federal government and some of our leading citizens over the past eight decades.
The Unknown Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton’s contribution to welding the thirteen semi-independent states which had won the Revolution into a unified political entity was greater than that of any other Founding Father, with the possible exception of Washington. But this tells only half the story.
OR DON’T PUT OFF UNTIL TOMORROW WHAT YOU CAN RAM THROUGH TODAY
Dr. Benjamin Rush believed the hand of God must have been involved in the noble work.
Jefferson and Madison led a revolutionary fight for complete separation of church and state. Their reasons probed the basic relation between religion and democracy
A leading American historian challenges the long-entrenched interpretation originated by the late Charles A. Beard