In Founding Brothers, Joseph Ellis connects six crucial historical events that manage to capture the passion and feeling of the revolutionary generation as wells as its great leaders. Although each chapter can be read separately and completely understood, they relate to a larger, common theme. One of Ellis' central intentions in writing the book was to demonstrate the early stages and tribulations of the American Government including its system. The brilliant author explains the unique obstacles that the revolutionary generation encountered as a result of governing under the new concept of democracy. Ellis descends deeper into the subject by enlightening the readers to true insight of the important participants of the generation. Ellis' work tries to capture the moral beliefs of the revolutionary leaders along with their conflicting political viewpoints. Joseph Ellis presents the personalities of John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington beautifully and in tremendous detail. The author brings forth the reality of the partisan and internal conflict withstood by these characters in relation to each other. Ellis highlights that in regardless of these challenging hindrances, the American nation overcame its early stages due to its magnificent group of charismatic leaders and their ability to compromise their disputes. .
The book contains six different chapters, each describing a separate story. The chapters are titled "The Duel," "The Dinner," "The Silence," "The Farewell," "The Collaborators," and "The Friendship." In "The Duel," Ellis describes the legendary shootout between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Many consider this duel to be the most prominent deadly standoff between two men in history. Ellis gives insight of each character's background and brief biographies of the two men.