The Meaning of Independence: John Adams, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson by Edmund S. MorganAmericans did not at first cherish the idea of political severance from their mother country. In just a few years, however, they came to desire indepen-dence above all else. What brought about this change of feeling and how did it affect the lives of their citizens? To answer these questions, Edmund S. Morgan looks at three men who may fairly be called the architects of independence, the first presidents of the United States. Anecdotes from their letters and diaries recapture the sense of close identity many early Americans felt with their countrys political struggles. Through this perspective, Morgan examines the growth of independence from its initial declaration and discovers something of its meaning, for three men who responded to its challenge and for the nation that they helped create.
The Meaning of Independence, first published in 1976, has become one of the standard short works on the first three presidents of the United States--George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. When the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and the Organization of American Historians asked 1,500 historians to name the ten best books about George Washington, this book was one of those selected. In this updated edition, the author provides a new preface to address a few remaining concerns he has pondered in the quarter century since first publication.
Tag: A classic work on the founding by the author of the bestselling Benjamin Franklin
Once allies, politics served to fracture the relationships of these founding fathers from Virginia. Less well known and wonderfully humanizing is what Washington talked about the night before he died. Washington and Tobias Lear , his personal secretary, sat in the parlor at Mount Vernon, perusing the newspapers. When Washington found speech increasingly difficult, Lear took over. Washington was displeased with Madison and Monroe at this time in his life and had also severed all ties with another great Virginian.
There are others who believe that some of these men are unworthy of our attention because they owned slaves, Washington, Jefferson, Clark among them, but not Adams. They failed to rise above their time and place, though Washington but not Jefferson freed his slaves. But history abounds with ironies. These men, the founding fathers and brothers, established a system of government that, after much struggle, and the terrible violence of the Civil War, and the civil rights movement led by black Americans, did lead to legal freedom for all Americans and movement toward equality. In I was a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin.
Towards the end of her life, Martha Washington harbored no warm feelings for Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, whom she considered as one of the most detestable of mankind, as the greatest misfortune our country had ever experienced. But it can still be somewhat shocking to see Martha Washington—who exists in much of the American imagination as a kind of benevolent, grandmotherly figure—be so sharp-tongued. So why was Martha Washington angry with Thomas Jefferson? It came down to party politics.
This is an evaluation of George Washington by Thomas Jefferson. It was written in fifteen years after Washington's death. Twelve years later, Presidents Jefferson and Adams would die within hours of each other on 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, This short, but powerful essay provides insights on the Father of our Country. It is another illustration of why Jefferson, out of all of the Founding Fathers, was considered the "most felicitous" writer. Notice the cadence of the balanced phrases and the lack of extraneous words. There is an anecdote about Washington saving the farm of Revolutionary War hero Col.