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The famous Shot Heard Round the World in April 1775 was not the beginning of the armed struggle for independence, says popular historian Raphael. The British were at that point trying to regain the authority that thousands of artisans and farmers had seized from every Crown-appointed official in Massachusetts outside Boston the previous summer. Annotation c. Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Raphael provides a history of the work of seven forgotten founders of America, among the many Revolutionary Americans who contributed to the founding of the country: army private Joseph Plumb Martin; the wealthy merchant Robert Morris, who helped finance the nation; small-town blacksmith Timothy Bigelow, who helped engineer the first overthrow of British authority; conservative Henry Laurens; doctor Thomas Young; and political correspondent Mercy Otis Warren. He traces the lives and work of these individuals who aided in the revolution from 1761 to the passage of the Bill of Rights 30 years later. He focuses on these themes: the ideal of popular sovereignty, inclusion and exclusion, exchanges of power, efforts to constrain authority, and expansion of the country. Raphael has been a high school and college teacher and is the author of several books.
Raphael questions the validity of the legend of Paul Revere's ride, Thomas Jefferson's status as the architect of American equality, and the existence of Molly Pitcher.
The little-known story of the dramatic political maneuverings and personalities behind the creation of the office of the president, with ramifications that continue to this day. On June 1, 1787, when the Federal Convention first talked of establishing a new executive branch, James Wilson moved that "the Executive consist of a single person." To us this might sound obvious, but not so at the time. Americans had just won their independence from an autocratic monarch, and they feared that a single leader might commandeer power or oppress citizens. Should the framers even flirt with one-man rule? For the first and only time that summer, there was silence. Not one of the loquacious delegates dared speak up. Eventually Benjamin Franklin rose, then others. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and George Mason joined the debate, and for three months their deliberations continued. By early September the framers had made up their minds. A chief executive, the "president," would be appointed by Congress to serve for seven years. He could not be reelected, and his powers were tightly constrained. He could neither negotiate treaties nor appoint Supreme Court justices and ambassadors. The Senate would do all that. Suddenly, less than two weeks before the convention adjourned, all this changed. How? And who made it happen? Enter Gouverneur Morris, the flamboyant, peg-legged hero of this saga, who pushed through his agenda with amazing political savvy and not a little bluster and deceit. For the first time, by focusing closely on the give-and-take of the convention's dynamics, Ray Raphael reveals how politics and personalities cobbled together a lasting, but flawed, institution. Charting the presidency as it evolved during the administrations of Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, Raphael shows how, given the Constitution's broad outlines, the president's powers could easily be augmented but rarely diminished. Today we see the result--an office that has become more sweeping, more powerful, and more inherently partisan than the framers ever intended. And the issues of 1787--whether the Electoral College, the president's war powers, or the extent of executive authority--continue to stir our political debates.
A People's History of the American Revolution is an accessible narrative of the wartime experience that brings in the stories of previously marginalized voices: the common people, slave and free who made up the majority in eighteenth-century America.
In twenty-two original essays, leading historians reveal the radical impulses at the founding of the American Republic. Here is a fresh new reading of the American Revolution that gives voice and recognition to a generation of radical thinkers and doers whose revolutionary ideals outstripped those of the Founding Fathers.While the Founding Fathers advocated a break from Britain and espoused ideals of republican government, none proposed significant changes to the fabric of colonial society. As privileged and propertied white males, they did not seek a revolution in the modern sense; instead, they tried to maintain the underlying social structure and political system that enabled men of wealth to rule. They firmly opposed social equality and feared popular democracy as a form of "levelling."Yet during this "revolutionary" period some people did believe that "liberty" meant "liberty for all" and that "equality" should be applied to political, economic, and religious spheres. Here are the stories of individuals and groups who exemplified the radical ideals of the American Revolution more in keeping with our own values today. This volume helps us to understand the social conflicts unleashed by the struggle for independence, the Revolution's achievements, and the unfinished agenda it left for future generations to confront.From the Hardcover edition.
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