Book review: The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government
By Fergus M. Bordewich, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2016
Alec D. Rogers very capably reviews this new book at AllThingsLiberty.com. Fergus Bordewich offers a detailed look at how the leaders of the former American colonies started buckling down to making a government after the Constitution was ratified in June 1788. It was a tough job. We’re still hard at work on it in 2016.
Some excerpts from Rogers:
“By necessity, of course, the new Congress had to deal with virtually every fundamental question of government. And while the concept of a two house legislature was not as alien as the Constitution’s article II President, there were many procedural questions that would need to be settled as the machinery began to operate. Like President George Washington, its members were aware that virtually everything they did would set a precedent for the new government. They also knew that the eyes of the world were upon their republican experiment…
Rogers also notes:
“In 1871, John Adams’s grandson Charles Francis Adams would observe that:
‘We are beginning to forget that the patriots of former days were men like ourselves, acting and acted upon like the present race, and we are almost irresistibly led to ascribe to them in our imaginations certain gigantic proportions and superhuman qualities, without reflecting that this at once robs their character of consistency and their virtues of all merit.’”
I’ll add that readers today should keep in mind that Charles Adams, grandson of the venerable John Adams, forgot to mention that the Founding Fathers never called themselves “founding fathers,” and they mostly weren’t buddies, and mostly they were affluent white guys (mostly lawyers) who were inclined to dabble in politics or who seriously sought political power.
Human nature doesn’t change in the short space of 240 years or so.
"Mannish Boy"....hold that thought
Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.