Revolutionary Character By Gordon Wood Summary

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Gordon Wood’s book, Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different, is a series of compiled essays and articles that the author published previously and separately. Wood then took the essays and articles and put them together within one central book and implemented an introduction, as well as an epilogue to tie the book together and support his main thesis. According to Wood, the Founders were a “unique elite” that molded a system which, overall, ensured that no one like them would likely arise again in the future of the country. The author also believes that the founding fathers were creations of the time with which they lived in and that they were necessary for the creation of the United States. He also illustrates that the founders …show more content…
He states that the most peculiar and remarkable aspect of Franklin’s political career was that he was so closely tied to the British prior to the crisis of the 1770s that it was an astonishment that he decided to side with the revolutionaries at all. Wood then raises the questions and ponders why Franklin was not more like some of the other loyalist elites and did not entirely side with the British Empire or allow that the grievances be resolved but stop short of a revolution? Overall, Wood asserts that Franklin’s persona as an example of hard work and self-reliance, as well as the selfless patriot, is a creation of the early nineteenth century when such stories were believed “necessary for the development of the new nation”. The argument that is made here really emphasis Wood’s point. Franklin built his reputation and fame out of nothing, and in a time when the Americans needed him most. Without Franklin, many of the ideas and basic foundations of out government would not have been included which in turn could have caused an entirely new style and form of government to be …show more content…
In his essay on Thomas Paine, Wood explains that Paine never was allowed into the company of the founders because, despite him being raised from humble origins like many other founding fathers, he never wanted to change himself into the sort of “gentleman” the others aspired to be like. Aaron Burr on the other hand, rejected the principles of service and “disinterest” that were very important to the founding fathers. Wood describes Burr as ambitious and illustrated how he was rejected by both the Federalist and Anti-Federalists. He was so unpopular that Jefferson and Hamilton, complete opposites on the political party spectrum, agreed together that Burr would hinder rather than help the United States if he came into office and so Hamilton supported Jefferson in the presidential race which ensured his success. Even though it seems unimportant, in the end, these essays were. Wood’s inclusion of these essay showed that, for example, without Aaron Burr running for president, Hamilton and Jefferson would have never agreed to join sides and fight back against Burr’s campaign and ideas, which could have caused Jefferson to not have won office and become the next President of the United

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