American Dialogue: The Founders and Us
Everyone seems to think they know what the Founders intended when writing the fundamental documents and making the crucial decisions that formed the basis of America as we know it. In fact, everyone is so damn certain that they’ve virtually stopped listening to anyone else. Discourse, true discourse, is at a standstill.
American Dialogue tries to break the conversational deadlock by going back to the beginning and exploring the controversial choices made by the Founders themselves, asking hard questions about who they were, what they did, and what legacies they left behind. Whether it’s the hypocrisy of Jefferson owning slaves while writing “all men are created equal” or John Adams abandoning any chance of a second term by serving “the public,” not “the people,” these are flashpoints worthy of discussion.
Ellis is informative and measured in his narration, offering valuable context to the voluminous writings left behind and helping to explain some of the contradictory or confusing choices made by these esteemed men. He takes it a step further by examining present-day implications — like Scalia and the myth of “Constitutional originalists” — stemming from the actions of the Founders.
American Dialogue reminds us that these influential men were human, even if their legacies became the stuff of legend.
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