The Founding Brothers Summary

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“Historical events are often the result of a variety of contributing factors.” In Founding Brothers, Author Joseph Ellis shows us that this truly was the case in early years of our Nation. Ellis uses his vast knowledge of the people and era to read between the lines of six famous historical events. The six chapters each relate an event that showed how fragile our fathers found the nation and how fervently they worked at keeping the union intact. He encourages us not to think back from the time where we stand, but where our founding fathers stood, taking in the various influences and forces that they faced when making their decisions. For brevity, I will describe the factors behind three of these events: the Burr-Hamilton duel, Madison’s outright abhorrence towards assumption, and Washington’s retirement.

The interview at Weehawken. Early on the morning of July 11, 1804, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met as they had previously arranged and exchanged pistol shots. Who fired first was and still is not clear, but Hamilton was mortally wounded by the encounter. Why did these men have such a strong dispute that made them to take up such extreme measures? Burr had just served as vice president to Jefferson, and Hamilton was the most prominent member of the Federalist Party behind Washington. What were the factors and causes that prompted Burr to challenge Hamilton, and why had he accepted it? In order to answer these questions, Ellis guides us back through the history of their tension. In June of 1804, a letter

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