Synopses & Reviews
Surprisingly, no previous book has ever explored how family life shaped the political careers of Americaandrsquo;s great Founding Fathersandmdash;men like George Mason, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. In this original and intimate portrait, historian Lorri Glover brings to life the vexing, joyful, arduous, and sometimes tragic experiences of the architects of the American Republic who, while building a nation, were also raising families.
The costs and consequences for the families of these Virginia leaders were great, Glover discovers: the Revolution remade family life no less than it reinvented political institutions. She describes the colonial households that nurtured future revolutionaries, follows the development of political and family values during the revolutionary years, and shines new light on the radically transformed world that was inherited by nineteenth-century descendants. Beautifully written and replete with fascinating detail, this groundbreaking book is the first to introduce us to the founders as fathers.
and#8220;Elegantly written and sparkling with keen insights, Lorri Glover'sand#160;splendidand#160;bookand#160;recasts our understanding of the American Revolution by revealing the surprising world in which the sons of liberty were fathers before they were foundersand#8212;repeatedly forced to balance their deeply held responsibilities as parents with calls to lean in for independence and a new republic.and#8221;and#8212;Jon Kukla, author of Mr. Jeffersonand#8217;s Women and A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America
and#8220;With a deft touch, Lorri Glover captures the domestic life and concerns of Virginiaand#8217;s Founders as they pass from colonial protesters to scions of the first families of the new nationand#8217;s most important state. Wives and children share the spotlight in this excellently conceived study.and#8221;and#8212;Joyce Appleby, author of Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries and the Scientific Imagination
and#8220;A lively, highly readable account of the competing loyalties of Virginiaand#8217;s founding fathers. George Mason, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison come alive as fathers of families and stewards of estates, struggling to balance their domestic responsibilities with the political demands of war, revolution, and national formation.and#8221;and#8212;Kathleen M. Brown, University of Pennsylvania
andldquo;By exploring how the political careers and patriarchal roles of Virginiaandrsquo;s Revolutionary leaders were inextricably linked, Lorri Glover tells a profoundly human story about the nationandrsquo;s beginnings.andrdquo;andmdash;Virginia DeJohn Anderson, author of Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America
andquot;With an inventive twist on the and#39;founding fathersand#39; moniker historian Glover probes the link between family and politics. . . . Itandrsquo;s a sophisticated history peppered with tidbits from the private sphere. . . . Fans of these influential men should delight in this inventive addition to the historical literature.andquot;andmdash;Publishers Weekly
andldquo;A superb new perspective on Americaandrsquo;s Founding Fathers. . . .Well-written and immensely rewarding, this important book will appeal to both scholars and general readers.andrdquo;andmdash;Kirkus Review
As the bold fathers of the American Revolution left behind their private lives to become public nation-builders, what happened to their families?
About the Author
Q: How great was the sacrifice of the Virginia revolutionaries?
A: It is hard to remember now how dangerous and audacious it was in the eighteenth century for men like Jefferson and Washington to announce that they, upstart farmers living on the far periphery of the English empire, knew better how to govern than King George himself. On paper, the Continental Army had virtually no chance of beating the greatest military in the western world. The men who signed the Declaration of Independence pledged away their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Seeing that through took lifetimes of sacrifice and resolve.
Q: What values did the founders share?
A: Though several became bitter rivals who carried their enmity to the grave, they did share many foundational values: they idealized education, civic virtue, financial independence, rationalism, self-determination, and seeking the common good in civic life. Perhaps most fatefully, though, they all remained unshakably committed to racial slavery, which made their families wealthy, white citizens in their Republic free and equal, and their Revolution fatally flawed.and#160;
Q: Did the children of these men tend to follow their fathers into public life?
A: That varied wildly. The Jefferson grandchildren devoted themselves to cleaning up his image for history. They, as well as Dolley Madison, worked to make these menand#8217;s writings available to the public. Several of Patrick Henry's and George Masonand#8217;s sons served admirably in government and ran successful businesses. But no matter how much they achieved, they could never get out of the shadow of their fathers, the founders. Even the obituaries of the most successful of the foundersand#8217; children focused on their famous ancestors.