Founders as fathers The private lives and politics of the American revolutionaries

Lorri Glover, 1967-

Book - 2014

Surprisingly, no previous book has ever explored how family life shaped the political careers of America's great Founding Fathers--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 fo...r 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.--From publisher description.

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Subjects
Published
New Haven : Yale University Press [2014]
©2014
Language
English
Physical Description
x, 324 pages, 8 pages of unnumbered plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780300178609
0300178603
Main Author
Lorri Glover, 1967- (author)
  • The last colonial patriarchs
  • Independence
  • Sacrifice
  • Liberty and power
  • A "natural aristocracy"
  • "All other persons"
  • "Ourselves and our posterity"
  • Reputation
  • Epilogue: Going home.
Review by Choice Reviews

This book is well written, but it disappoints for digressing too much from its stated topic.  Glover (Saint Louis Univ.) examines the fatherhood of famous Virginia founders George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, and Patrick Henry.  Washington receives the lion's share of the treatment.  The author gives primary coverage to the subjects' roles in public life; fatherhood is mainly in the context of public service and, to a lesser extent, as patriarch.  Glover tries to match everything against the criteria of Republican virtue, but the intimacy of the father-child relationship is missing.  There are some worthwhile comments on slavery as part of the extended family and on maintaining households.  One would like to have seen more particulars, such as the very dangerous relationship of Washington and his stepson Jacky Custis with John Posey.  Including some less-known Virginia leaders would have enhanced the work and opened opportunities for original research.  All in all, despite the narrow approach, this book offers a lively review of the leadership qualities of the great Virginia founders of the nation. Summing Up: Recommended. All public and academic levels/libraries. --H. M. Ward, University of Richmond Harry M. Ward University of Richmond http://dx.doi.org/10.5860/CHOICE.188010 Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

With an inventive twist on the "founding fathers" moniker, historian Glover (The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown) probes the link between family and politics, but limits her focus to the lives of wealthy Virginians. Men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Glover persuasively argues, became the founders of a new country precisely because of their views on fatherhood and family and because they were family men. She moves briskly from the imperial crisis of the 1760s through the generation that followed the creation of the Constitution, demonstrating the importance of familial words and ideas to the launch of a new country, always keeping tight rein on her argument. It's a sophisticated history peppered with tidbits from the private sphere: of particular interest is the chapter on the Virginians' wrestle with the institution of slavery, especially because it benefited their own families and fortunes even while clashing with enlightened principles of freedom and independence. As a social historian, Glover covers gender as well as racial issues, exploring women's roles in the family and the nation, and explaining how the founders viewed the inequality of women as part of the world's natural order. Fans of these influential men should delight in this inventive addition to the historical literature. Illus. (Oct.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Explores the family life of the Founding Fathers, providing intimate portraits of the households of such revolutionaries as George Mason, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Surprisingly, no previous book has ever explored how family life shaped the political careers of America’s great Founding Fathers—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.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

As the bold fathers of the American Revolution left behind their private lives to become public nation-builders, what happened to their families?