In the book Founding Brothers, Ellis focuses on the nature and actions of several Americans who were the budding nation's leaders during the 1770's and 1780's when the Declaration of Independence was being written, the American Revolution fought and the Constitution hammered out. Specifically, he looks at John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, with a glance at Benjamin Franklin.
Here is a brief overview of each chapter:.
The Duel takes a look at the deadly duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Possible reasons and causes that led to the duel are not mentioned. Was it all a miscommunication, or was it shear stubbornness that showed Hamilton to his grave. Ellis also contemplates what may have happened that fateful morning as stories differ from the few eyewitnesses.
The Dinner gives an inside look at a secret dinner meeting between Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, during which the permanent capital was exchanged for the passage of Hamilton's financial plan for the heavily in debt colonies.
Benjamin Franklin's petition to end slavery, his last public effort, is detailed in The Silence. This chapter reveals the cold response to Franklin's effort, especially from James Madison, and the major reasons why slavery was not abolished at this time and why the Founding Fathers were reluctant to do anything about it. This chapter also helps one to understand why the Founding Fathers wanted freedom from England, but did not allow freedom to the slaves. Aside from being a completely different world back then; this chapter gives the major reasons why slavery was not abolished at this time. .
The Farewell is a look at George Washington's farewell address, in which he offers the country some advice, and dissects the meaning of his words. As this was a tricky time in Washington's life due to his age and health, great care was taken to deliver his message to the people of America.