Affairs of Honor

National Politics in the New Republic

Author: Joanne B. Freeman

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 9780300097559

Category: History

Page: 376

View: 8062

Release On

Offering a reassessment of the tumultuous culture of politics on the national stage during America's early years, when Jefferson, Burr, and Hamilton were among the national leaders, Freeman shows how the rituals and rhetoric of honor provides ground rules for political combat. Illustrations.

The Boundaries of American Political Culture in the Civil War Era

Author: Mark E. Neely Jr.

Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press

ISBN: 9780807876947

Category: History

Page: 176

View: 6740

Release On

Did preoccupations with family and work crowd out interest in politics in the nineteenth century, as some have argued? Arguing that social historians have gone too far in concluding that Americans were not deeply engaged in public life and that political historians have gone too far in asserting that politics informed all of Americans' lives, Mark Neely seeks to gauge the importance of politics for ordinary people in the Civil War era. Looking beyond the usual markers of political activity, Neely sifts through the political bric-a-brac of the era--lithographs and engravings of political heroes, campaign buttons, songsters filled with political lyrics, photo albums, newspapers, and political cartoons. In each of four chapters, he examines a different sphere--the home, the workplace, the gentlemen's Union League Club, and the minstrel stage--where political engagement was expressed in material culture. Neely acknowledges that there were boundaries to political life, however. But as his investigation shows, political expression permeated the public and private realms of Civil War America.

Military Honour and the Conduct of War

From Ancient Greece to Iraq

Author: Paul Robinson

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134165021

Category: Political Science

Page: 224

View: 8663

Release On

This study presents the first examination of the influence of ideas of honour on the causes, conduct and ending of wars from Ancient Greece to the present day. Paul Robinson begins with a theoretical examination of the concept of honour, to clearly explain the many contradictions and tensions inherent within honour systems. He then shows how honour has often contradictory and paradoxical effects on the conduct of war and illustrates this through seven case studies: Classical Greece; Ancient Rome; mediaeval Chivalry; Elizabethan England; the American Civil War; the British Empire; and the Western world after World War II (including the Vietnam War and the current conflict in Iraq). Key topics covered include: honour and virtue honour and the causes of war honour as a motivation for fighting honours and rewards death and honour honour and the conduct of war honour and the enemy honour and the ending of wars women and honour This book reveals that the often contradictory behaviour of soldiers during war is a product of the contradictions inherent in the concept of honour. This book will be of great interest to all students of military ethics, military history, politics, international relations, anthropology, sociology, philosophy and the history of ideas.

Patriotism and Piety

Federalist Politics and Religious Struggle in the New American Nation

Author: Jonathan J. Den Hartog

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

ISBN: 081393642X

Category: History

Page: 280

View: 6832

Release On

In Patriotism and Piety, Jonathan Den Hartog argues that the question of how religion would function in American society was decided in the decades after the Constitution and First Amendment established a legal framework. Den Hartog shows that among the wide array of politicians and public figures struggling to define religion’s place in the new nation, Federalists stood out—evolving religious attitudes were central to Federalism, and the encounter with Federalism strongly shaped American Christianity. Den Hartog describes the Federalist appropriations of religion as passing through three stages: a "republican" phase of easy cooperation inherited from the experience of the American Revolution; a "combative" phase, forged during the political battles of the 1790s–1800s, when the destiny of the republic was hotly contested; and a "voluntarist" phase that grew in importance after 1800. Faith became more individualistic and issue-oriented as a result of the actions of religious Federalists. Religious impulses fueled party activism and informed governance, but the redirection of religious energies into voluntary societies sapped party momentum, and religious differences led to intraparty splits. These developments altered not only the Federalist Party but also the practice and perception of religion in America, as Federalist insights helped to create voluntary, national organizations in which Americans could practice their faith in interdenominational settings. Patriotism and Piety focuses on the experiences and challenges confronted by a number of Federalists, from well-known leaders such as John Adams, John Jay, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, and Timothy Dwight to lesser-known but still important figures such as Caleb Strong, Elias Boudinot, and William Jay.

A House Divided

The Civil War and Nineteenth-Century America

Author: Jonathan Daniel Wells

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136519610

Category: History

Page: 374

View: 7409

Release On

The Civil War is one of the most defining eras of American history, and much has been written on every aspect of the war. The volume of material available is daunting, especially when a student is trying to grasp the overall themes of the period. Jonathan Wells has distilled the war down into understandable, easy-to-read sections, with plenty of maps and illustrations, to help make sense of the battles and social, political, and cultural changes of the era. Presented here is information on: the home front the battles, both in the East and the West the status of slaves women’s role in the war and its aftermath literature and public life international aspects of the war and much more! Students will also find helpful study aids on the companion website for the book. A House Divided provides a short, readable survey of the Civil War and the Reconstruction period afterward, focusing not only on the battles, but on how Americans lived during a time of great upheaval in the country’s history, and what that legacy has meant to the country today.

The Gods of Prophetstown

The Battle of Tippecanoe and the Holy War for the American Frontier

Author: Adam Jortner

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019991270X

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 6862

Release On

It began with an eclipse. In 1806, the Shawnee leader Tenskwatawa ("The Open Door") declared himself to be in direct contact with the Master of Life, and therefore, the supreme religious authority for all Native Americans. Those who disbelieved him, he warned, "would see darkness come over the sun." William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indiana Territory and future American president, scoffed at Tenskwatawa. If he was truly a prophet, Harrison taunted, let him perform a miracle. And Tenskwatawa did just that, making the sun go dark at midday. In The Gods of Prophetstown, Adam Jortner provides a gripping account of the conflict between Tenskwatawa and Harrison, who finally collided in 1811 at a place called Tippecanoe. Though largely forgotten today, their rivalry determined the future of westward expansion and shaped the War of 1812. Jortner weaves together dual biographies of the opposing leaders. In the five years between the eclipse and the battle, Tenskwatawa used his spiritual leadership to forge a political pseudo-state with his brother Tecumseh. Harrison, meanwhile, built a power base in Indiana, rigging elections and maneuvering for higher position. Rejecting received wisdom, Jortner sees nothing as preordained-Native Americans were not inexorably falling toward dispossession and destruction. Deeply rooting his account in a generation of scholarship that has revolutionized Indian history, Jortner places the religious dimension of the struggle at the fore, recreating the spiritual landscapes trod by each side. The climactic battle, he writes, was as much a clash of gods as of men. Written with profound insight and narrative verve, The Gods of Prophetstown recaptures a forgotten turning point in American history in time for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Tippecanoe.

A Woman's Dilemma

Mercy Otis Warren and the American Revolution

Author: Rosemarie Zagarri

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118774817

Category: History

Page: 216

View: 4044

Release On

The second edition of A Woman's Dilemma: Mercy Otis Warren and the American Revolution updates Rosemarie Zagarri's biography of one of the most accomplished women of the Revolutionary era. The work places Warren into the social and political context in which she lived and examines the impact of Warren's writings on Revolutionary politics and the status of women in early America. Presents readers with an engaging and accessible historical biography of an accomplished literary and political figure of the Revolutionary era Provides an incisive narrative of the social and intellectual forces that contributed to the coming of the American Revolution Features a variety of updates, including an in-depth Bibliographical Essay, multiple illustrations, a timeline of Warren's life, and chapter-end study questions Includes expanded coverage of women during the Revolutionary Era and the Early American Republic

Taming Passion for the Public Good

Policing Sex in the Early Republic

Author: Mark E. Kann

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 0814764673

Category: History

Page: 248

View: 4347

Release On

“Kann's latest tour de force explores the ambivalence, during the founding of our nation, about whether political freedom should augur sexual freedom. Tracing the roots of patriarchal sexual repression back to revolutionary America, Kann asks highly contemporary questions about the boundaries between public and private life, suggesting, provocatively, that political and sexual freedom should go hand in hand. This is a must-read for those interested in the interwining of politics, public life, and sexuality.”—Ben Agger, University of Texas at Arlington The American Revolution was fought in the name of liberty. In popular imagination, the Revolution stands for the triumph of populism and the death of patriarchal elites. But this is not the case, argues Mark E. Kann. Rather, in the aftermath of the Revolution, America developed a society and system of laws that kept patriarchal authority alive and well—especially when it came to the sex lives of citizens. In Taming Passion for the Public Good, Kann contends that that despite the rhetoric of classical liberalism, the founding generation did not trust ordinary citizens with extensive liberty. Through the policing of sex, elites sought to maintain control of individuals' private lives, ensuring that citizens would be productive, moral, and orderly in the new nation. New American elites applauded traditional marriages in which men were the public face of the family and women managed the home. They frowned on interracial and interclass sexual unions. They saw masturbation as evidence of a lack of self-control over one’s passions, and they considered prostitution the result of aggressive female sexuality. Both were punishable offenses. By seeking to police sex, elites were able to keep alive what Kann calls a “resilient patriarchy.” Under the guise of paternalism, they were able simultaneously to retain social control while espousing liberal principles, with the goal of ultimately molding the country into the new American ideal: a moral and orderly citizenry that voluntarily did what was best for the public good.

Declarations of Dependence

The Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South, 1861-1908

Author: Gregory Downs

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 080787776X

Category: History

Page: 360

View: 3729

Release On

In this highly original study, Gregory Downs argues that the most American of wars, the Civil War, created a seemingly un-American popular politics, rooted not in independence but in voluntary claims of dependence. Through an examination of the pleas and petitions of ordinary North Carolinians, Declarations of Dependence contends that the Civil War redirected, not destroyed, claims of dependence by exposing North Carolinians to the expansive but unsystematic power of Union and Confederate governments, and by loosening the legal ties that bound them to husbands, fathers, and masters. Faced with anarchy during the long reconstruction of government authority, people turned fervently to the government for protection and sustenance, pleading in fantastic, intimate ways for attention. This personalistic, or what Downs calls patronal, politics allowed for appeals from subordinate groups like freed blacks and poor whites, and also bound people emotionally to newly expanding postwar states. Downs's argument rewrites the history of the relationship between Americans and their governments, showing the deep roots of dependence, the complex impact of the Civil War upon popular politics, and the powerful role of Progressivism and segregation in submerging a politics of dependence that--in new form--rose again in the New Deal and persists today.

North Carolinians in the Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction

Author: Paul D. Escott

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 0807837261

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 5312

Release On

Although North Carolina was a "home front" state rather than a battlefield state for most of the Civil War, it was heavily involved in the Confederate war effort and experienced many conflicts as a result. North Carolinians were divided over the issue of secession, and changes in race and gender relations brought new controversy. Blacks fought for freedom, women sought greater independence, and their aspirations for change stimulated fierce resistance from more privileged groups. Republicans and Democrats fought over power during Reconstruction and for decades thereafter disagreed over the meaning of the war and Reconstruction. With contributions by well-known historians as well as talented younger scholars, this volume offers new insights into all the key issues of the Civil War era that played out in pronounced ways in the Tar Heel State. In nine essays composed specifically for this volume, contributors address themes such as ambivalent whites, freed blacks, the political establishment, racial hopes and fears, postwar ideology, and North Carolina women. These issues of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras were so powerful that they continue to agitate North Carolinians today. Contributors: David Brown, Manchester University Judkin Browning, Appalachian State University Laura F. Edwards, Duke University Paul D. Escott, Wake Forest University John C. Inscoe, University of Georgia Chandra Manning, Georgetown University Barton A. Myers, University of Georgia Steven E. Nash, University of Georgia Paul Yandle, West Virginia University Karin Zipf, East Carolina University

Unbecoming British

How Revolutionary America Became a Postcolonial Nation

Author: Kariann Akemi Yokota

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199779910

Category: History

Page: 368

View: 3502

Release On

What can homespun cloth, stuffed birds, quince jelly, and ginseng reveal about the formation of early American national identity? In this wide-ranging and bold new interpretation of American history and its Founding Fathers, Kariann Akemi Yokota shows that political independence from Britain fueled anxieties among the Americans about their cultural inferiority and continuing dependence on the mother country. Caught between their desire to emulate the mother country and an awareness that they lived an ocean away on the periphery of the known world, they went to great lengths to convince themselves and others of their refinement. Taking a transnational approach to American history, Yokota examines a wealth of evidence from geography, the decorative arts, intellectual history, science, and technology to underscore that the process of "unbecoming British" was not an easy one. Indeed, the new nation struggled to define itself economically, politically, and culturally in what could be called America's postcolonial period. Out of this confusion of hope and exploitation, insecurity and vision, a uniquely American identity emerged.

Sons of the Father

George Washington and His Protégés

Author: Robert M. S. McDonald

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

ISBN: 0813934397

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 450

Release On

Whether acting as a military officer or civilian officeholder, George Washington did not possess a reputation for glad handing, easy confidences, or even much warmth. His greatest attributes as a commander might well have been his firm command over his own emotions and the way in which he held himself above if not apart from the men he led. Understanding the full range of Washington's leadership, which embraced all shades of persuasion and coercion as well as multiple modes of command and solicitude, requires the examination of his influence on the lives, careers, and characters of the members of a diverse fraternity of younger men. In Sons of the Father, leading scholars analyze Washington's relationships with men such as Daniel Morgan, Anthony Wayne, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Henry Knox, Nathanael Greene, Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton, and the Marquis de Lafayette. The men on whom this volume focuses were not all his closest associates. Yet all are important figures in that their interactions with Washington provide glimpses into various aspects of his capacities for management, motivation, control, and the cultivation of talent. The essays in this volume demonstrate Washington's consistency in treating all these men differently, for different reasons, at different times. It was perhaps part of his genius to recognize the individuality of the men with whom he interacted as well as the shifting requirements of changing circumstances. Contributors: Fred Anderson (University of Colorado, Boulder) * Theodore J. Crackel (University of Virginia) * William M. Ferraro (University of Virginia) * Jack P. Greene (Johns Hopkins University) * John W. Hall (University of Wisconsin–Madison) * Peter R. Henriques (George Mason University) * Mary-Jo Kline (University of Virginia) * Stuart Leibiger (La Salle University) * L. Scott Philyaw (Western Carolina University) * Thomas Rider (United States Military Academy) * Brian Steele (University of Alabama at Birmingham) * Mary Stockwell (Louisiana State University Shreveport) * Mark Thompson (University of North Carolina at Pembroke)

Along the Hudson and Mohawk

The 1790 Journey of Count Paolo Andreani

Author: N.A

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN: 9780812207217

Category: History

Page: 128

View: 6075

Release On

In the summer of 1790 the Italian explorer Count Paolo Andreani embarked on a journey that would take him through New York State and eastern Iroquoia. Traveling along the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, Andreani kept a meticulous record of his observations and experiences in the New World. Published complete for the first time in English, the diary is of major importance to those interested in life after the American Revolution, political affairs in the New Republic, and Native American peoples. Through Andreani's writings, we glimpse a world in cultural, economic, and political transition. An active participant in Enlightenment science, Andreani provides detailed observations of the landscape and natural history of his route. He also documents the manners and customs of the Iroquois, Shakers, and German, Dutch, and Anglo New Yorkers. Andreani was particularly interested in the Oneida and Onondaga Indians he visited, and his description of an Oneida lacrosse match accompanies the earliest known depiction of a lacrosse stick. Andreani's American letters, included here, relate his sometimes difficult but always revealing personal relationships with Washington, Jefferson, and Adams. Prefaced by an illuminating historical and biographical introduction, Along the Hudson and Mohawk is a fascinating look at the New Republic as seen through the eyes of an observant and curious explorer.

William Henry Harrison and the Conquest of the Ohio Country

Frontier Fighting in the War of 1812

Author: David Curtis Skaggs

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 142141175X

Category: History

Page: 328

View: 4543

Release On

In his study of William Henry Harrison, David Curtis Skaggs sheds light on the role of citizen-soldiers in taming the wilderness of the old Northwest. Perhaps best known for the Whig slogan in 1840—"Tippecanoe and Tyler Too"—Harrison used his efforts to pacify Native Americans and defeat the British in the War of 1812 to promote a political career that eventually elevated him to the presidency. Harrison exemplified the citizen-soldier on the Ohio frontier in the days when white men settled on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains at their peril. Punctuated by almost continuous small-scale operations and sporadic larger engagements, warfare in this region revolved around a shifting system of alliances among various Indian tribes, government figures, white settlers, and business leaders. Skaggs focuses on Harrison’s early life and military exploits, especially his role on Major General Anthony Wayne's staff during the Fallen Timbers campaign and Harrison's leadership of the Tippecanoe campaign. He explores how the military and its leaders performed in the age of a small standing army and part-time, Cincinnatus-like forces. This richly detailed work reveals how the military and Indian policies of the early republic played out on the frontier, freshly revisiting a subject central to American history: how white settlers tamed the west—and at what cost. -- Andrew Cayton, Miami University

Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello

Her Life and Times

Author: Cynthia A. Kierner

Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press

ISBN: 080788250X

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 376

View: 749

Release On

As the oldest and favorite daughter of Thomas Jefferson, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph (1772-1836) was extremely well educated, traveled in the circles of presidents and aristocrats, and was known on two continents for her particular grace and sincerity. Yet, as mistress of a large household, she was not spared the tedium, frustration, and great sorrow that most women of her time faced. Though Patsy's name is familiar because of her famous father, Cynthia Kierner is the first historian to place Patsy at the center of her own story, taking readers into the largely ignored private spaces of the founding era. Randolph's life story reveals the privileges and limits of celebrity and shows that women were able to venture beyond their domestic roles in surprising ways. Following her mother's death, Patsy lived in Paris with her father and later served as hostess at the President's House and at Monticello. Her marriage to Thomas Mann Randolph, a member of Congress and governor of Virginia, was often troubled. She and her eleven children lived mostly at Monticello, greeting famous guests and debating issues ranging from a woman's place to slavery, religion, and democracy. And later, after her family's financial ruin, Patsy became a fixture in Washington society during Andrew Jackson's presidency. In this extraordinary biography, Kierner offers a unique look at American history from the perspective of this intelligent, tactfully assertive woman.

Journal of the Civil War Era

Fall 2014 Issue

Author: William A. Blair

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 1469615991

Category: History

Page: 144

View: 7688

Release On

The Journal of the Civil War Era Volume 4, Number 3, September 2014 TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor's Note, William Blair Articles Felicity Turner Rights and the Ambiguities of Law: Infanticide in the Nineteenth-Century U.S. South Paul Quigley Civil War Conscription and the International Boundaries of Citizenship Jay Sexton William H. Seward in the World Review Essay Patick J. Kelly the European Revolutions of 1848 and the Transnational turn in Civil War History Book Reviews Books Received Notes on Contributors

The Mind of Thomas Jefferson

Author: Peter S. Onuf

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

ISBN: 0813934230

Category: History

Page: 288

View: 1496

Release On

In The Mind of Thomas Jefferson, one of the foremost historians of Jefferson and his time, Peter S. Onuf, offers a collection of essays that seeks to historicize one of our nation’s founding fathers. Challenging current attempts to appropriate Jefferson to serve all manner of contemporary political agendas, Onuf argues that historians must look at Jefferson’s language and life within the context of his own place and time. In this effort to restore Jefferson to his own world, Onuf reconnects that world to ours, providing a fresh look at the distinction between private and public aspects of his character that Jefferson himself took such pains to cultivate. Breaking through Jefferson’s alleged opacity as a person by collapsing the contemporary interpretive frameworks often used to diagnose his psychological and moral states, Onuf raises new questions about what was on Jefferson’s mind as he looked toward an uncertain future. Particularly striking is his argument that Jefferson’s character as a moralist is nowhere more evident, ironically, than in his engagement with the institution of slavery. At once reinvigorating the tension between past and present and offering a new way to view our connection to one of our nation’s founders, The Mind of Thomas Jefferson helps redefine both Jefferson and his time and American nationhood.

Damned Nation

Hell in America from the Revolution to Reconstruction

Author: Kathryn Gin Lum

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199375186

Category: History

Page: 328

View: 5285

Release On

Among the pressing concerns of Americans in the first century of nationhood were day-to-day survival, political harmony, exploration of the continent, foreign policy, and--fixed deeply in the collective consciousness--hell and eternal damnation. The fear of fire and brimstone and the worm that never dies exerted a profound and lasting influence on Americans' ideas about themselves, their neighbors, and the rest of the world. Kathryn Gin Lum poses a number of vital questions: Why did the fear of hell survive Enlightenment critiques in America, after largely subsiding in Europe and elsewhere? What were the consequences for early and antebellum Americans of living with the fear of seeing themselves and many people they knew eternally damned? How did they live under the weighty obligation to save as many souls as possible? What about those who rejected this sense of obligation and fear? Gin Lum shows that beneath early Americans' vaunted millennial optimism lurked a pervasive anxiety: that rather than being favored by God, they and their nation might be the object of divine wrath. As time-honored social hierarchies crumbled before revival fire, economic unease, and political chaos, "saved" and "damned" became as crucial distinctions as race, class, and gender. The threat of damnation became an impetus for or deterrent from all kinds of behaviors, from reading novels to owning slaves. Gin Lum tracks the idea of hell from the Revolution to Reconstruction. She considers the ideas of theological leaders like Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney, as well as those of ordinary women and men. She discusses the views of Native Americans, Americans of European and African descent, residents of Northern insane asylums and Southern plantations, New England's clergy and missionaries overseas, and even proponents of Swedenborgianism and annihilationism. Damned Nation offers a captivating account of an idea that played a transformative role in America's intellectual and cultural history.

The Field of Blood

Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War

Author: Joanne B. Freeman

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374717613

Category: History

Page: 480

View: 9120

Release On

The previously untold story of the violence in Congress that helped spark the Civil War In The Field of Blood, Joanne B. Freeman recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, she shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions were often punctuated by mortal threats, canings, flipped desks, and all-out slugfests. When debate broke down, congressmen drew pistols and waved Bowie knives. One representative even killed another in a duel. Many were beaten and bullied in an attempt to intimidate them into compliance, particularly on the issue of slavery. These fights didn’t happen in a vacuum. Freeman’s dramatic accounts of brawls and thrashings tell a larger story of how fisticuffs and journalism, and the powerful emotions they elicited, raised tensions between North and South and led toward war. In the process, she brings the antebellum Congress to life, revealing its rough realities—the feel, sense, and sound of it—as well as its nation-shaping import. Funny, tragic, and rivetingly told, The Field of Blood offers a front-row view of congressional mayhem and sheds new light on the careers of John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and other luminaries, as well as introducing a host of lesser-known but no less fascinating men. The result is a fresh understanding of the workings of American democracy and the bonds of Union on the eve of their greatest peril.

The Noblest Minds

Fame, Honor, and the American Founding

Author: Peter McNamara

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 9780847686827

Category: History

Page: 236

View: 4456

Release On

Ever since Douglass Adair convincingly demonstrated that a love of fame was central to the American founding, political scientists and historians have started to view the founders and their acts in a new light. In The Noblest Minds, ten distinguished scholars examine this passion for fame and honor and demonstrate for the first time its significance in the development of American democracy. The first two-thirds of the book is devoted to essays on individual founders, as the contributors consider the role of fame in the lives and political characters of Washington, Franklin, Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, and Marshall. The remaining chapters analyze the founders' theoretical accomplishment in reviving political science, and explore the problem of honor in the modern world. Political scientists and American historians alike will find this book to be valuable and illuminating. What made the founding generation of American statesmen so outstanding? To answer this question, The Noblest Minds brings together a distinguished group of historians and political scientists to evaluate a neglected but compelling theory advanced nearly four decades ago by Douglass Adair. Adair argued that it was the 'love of fame' that moved many of the leading lights of the founding generation. Adair's thesis is the starting point for a series of searching essays on the role of fame in the lives of Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Marshall, and Washington. These profiles also provide wide-ranging historical and philosophical reflections on the question of fame. What emerges from these essays is a more complex picture of the founding generation than that presented by Adair. While acknowledging the role of the love of fame, The Noblest Minds argues for the influence of other concerns such as honor, virtue, and the cause of liberty. This more complex picture of the founding generation provides a unique and rewarding vantage point from which to consider the question of 'character' in politics, which looms so large in contemporary political debate. It illuminates the differences between true fame and mere celebrity in such a way as to point to considerations that transcend both. Political scientists and American historians alike will find this book to be valuable and illuminating.