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Gentleman Revolutionary: Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution download epub

by Richard Brookhiser


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Since 1996, Richard Brookhiser has devoted himself to recovering the Founding for modern Americans.

Since 1996, Richard Brookhiser has devoted himself to recovering the Founding for modern Americans. The creators of our democracy had both the temptations and the shortcomings of all men, combined with the talents and idealism of the truly great. As Brookhiser shows in this sparkling narrative, Morris's story is not only crucial to the Founding, it is also one of the most entertaining and instructive of all. Gouverneur Morris, more than Washington, Jefferson, or even Franklin, is the Founding Father whose story can most readily touch our hearts, and whose character is most sorely needed today. He was a witty, peg-legged ladies' man.

The founders were voluminous writers, and much of their writing is very good, but few of them had the combination of lightness and force that generates a great style. Jefferson had it; Franklin had it; Thomas Paine, the passionate and ungainly English immigrant, had it. The only other one of their number who hit that note consistently was Morris. A better choice" for a draftsman "could not have been made," Madison concluded.

Brookhiser both wrote and hosted the documentary films Rediscovering .

Brookhiser both wrote and hosted the documentary films Rediscovering George Washington, by Michael Pack, broadcast on PBS on July 4, 2002, and Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton, also by Pack, broadcast on PBS on April 11, 2011. His book Alexander Hamilton, American led to the "Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America" exhibition at The New-York Historical Society (2004–2005), exhibition for which he was the historian curator  . Gentleman Revolutionary: Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution, 272 pages (Free Press: 2003).

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Includes bibliographical references (pages 241-244) and index. Since 1996, Richard Brookhiser has devoted himself to recovering the Founding for modern Americans. Among them, no Founding Father demonstrates the combination of temptations and talents quite so vividly as the least known of the greats, Gouverneur Morris

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Gouverneur Morris, more than Washington, Jefferson, or even Franklin, is the Founding Father whose story can most readily touch our hearts, and whose character is most sorely needed today.

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It is almost assured that Richard Brookhiser smiled every day as he drafted the manuscript for this book. He likely savored the witty epigrammatic Morris as Mr. Brookhiser liberally infuses his tomes with the clever turn of thought. I once again concur it was fast paced and informative, but deviate from the opinion it was too laconic.

Gentleman Revolutionary : Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution. Since 1996, Richard Brookhiser has devoted himself to recovering the Founding for modern Americans

Gentleman Revolutionary : Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution. by Richard Brookhiser. Among them, no Founding Father demonstrates the combination of temptations and talents quite so vividly as the least known of the greats, Gouverneur Morris.

Gentleman Revolutionary begins by tracing Morris’s lineage; Morris was born (in 1752) into the New York . Richard Brookhiser has written a brisk, insightful biography of one of the lesser-known founding fathers.

Gentleman Revolutionary begins by tracing Morris’s lineage; Morris was born (in 1752) into the New York aristocracy of pre-Revolutionary America. In the opening chapter, several anecdotes acquaint the reader with the colorful family that produced this remarkable individual. For example, Judge Lewis Morris, Morris’s grandfather, hired the printer John Peter Zenger.

Since 1996, Richard Brookhiser has devoted himself to recovering the Founding for modern Americans. The creators of our democracy had both the temptations and the shortcomings of all men, combined with the talents and idealism of the truly great. Among them, no Founding Father demonstrates the combination of temptations and talents quite so vividly as the least known of the greats, Gouverneur Morris. His story is one that should be known by every American -- after all, he drafted the Constitution, and his hand lies behind many of its most important phrases. Yet he has been lost in the shadows of the Founders who became presidents and faces on our currency. As Brookhiser shows in this sparkling narrative, Morris's story is not only crucial to the Founding, it is also one of the most entertaining and instructive of all. Gouverneur Morris, more than Washington, Jefferson, or even Franklin, is the Founding Father whose story can most readily touch our hearts, and whose character is most sorely needed today. He was a witty, peg-legged ladies' man. He was an eyewitness to two revolutions (American and French) who joked with George Washington, shared a mistress with Talleyrand, and lost friends to the guillotine. In his spare time he gave New York City its street grid and New York State the Erie Canal. His keen mind and his light, sure touch helped make our Constitution the most enduring fundamental set of laws in the world. In his private life, he suited himself; pleased the ladies until, at age fifty-seven, he settled down with one lady (and pleased her); and lived the life of a gentleman, for whom grace and humanity were as important as birth. He kept his good humor through war, mobs, arson, death, and two accidents that burned the flesh from one of his arms and cut off one of his legs below the knee. Above all, he had the gift of a sunny disposition that allowed him to keep his head in any troubles. We have much to learn from him, and much pleasure to take in his company.

Comments: (7)

Balladolbine
I had previously read a book about Robert Morris and it made numerous mentions of Gouvernuer Morris, so this was a book that I couldn't over look. This had to be a difficult story to tell. Gouvernuer Morris did many good things in his life and made lasting contributions to the American founding, but really did only one thing that was great, and that was to make our constitution a concise document with lasting value. Yes, he participated in writing the first New York state constitution, was a member of the Continental Congress, an Ambassador to France, a U.S. Senator, and a member of the Erie Canal commission. His participation in these activities is something that only a handful of Americans could have done, but these were not monumental in the greater scheme of the Founders. This was really a story of Morris' life, and it is a tale of accomplishment and intrigue with other men's wives. A story of adventure and travel throughout Europe. A story of experiencing two revolutions. Somewhere in the course of all this, Morris became a wealthy man and I found myself asking how since he practiced law but for a short time in New York and Philadelphia. I wish the author would have explained Morris' accumulation of wealth in more detail, if in fact there is a historical record of it. Also, the book mentions that Morris spoke more times than anyone else during the Constitutional Convention, but there is little detail about what he said. Finally, there is but short mention of Morris' participation in the five member committee that drafted the constitution. To the author's credit, he addressed Morris' achievements as well as his poor choices, such as encouraging officers of the Revolutionary Army to challenge the government and supporting the New England separatist movement during the War of 1812. It is also clear that Morris was an aristocrat who looked down on commoners as incapable of self government, a misguided judgement that today looks undemocratic but at the time was not all that uncommon. I am glad I read this book as it was informative and interesting, but I am still looking for answers to those events in Morris' life that were not answered in this book.
Goldendragon
Brookhiser does his usual excellent job of not only providing a portrait of an individual but puts him in the context of his time and contemporaries. A largely overlooked Founder gets his due. Recommended for those who appreciate the effort it took to birth a nation unlike any before.
Ucantia
Very informative. Hard to beat "America almost became the first Third World Country ". A nice book to read. George Carmody
Kagda
To most people who read of the era of the founding fathers, Gouverneur Morris is at best a peripheral character, mentioned in passing while the spotlight featured the bigger names of Washington, Adams, Hamilton, et al. Brookhiser gives us the opportunity to learn about this man and his role in early U.S. history.
Morris was generally a peripheral character in the Revolutionary Era, but he did play a significant role in the drafting of the Constitution. His writing skills put the Constitution into its essentially final form, and the Preamble is almost entirely his creation. Beyond this, however, he was a more minor political player.
A lot of this was by Morris's own choice, since he wasn't all that interested in higher office. He was an interesting enough person, in many ways more human than the semi-immortals with whom he worked with. Relatively easy-going and with a good sense of humor, Morris was also - despite a maimed hand and a missing leg - quite the ladies' man, even having an affair with one French woman who was not only married, but already the mistress to another. When he finally married late in life, he successfully avoided social pressure by choosing a wife with a bit of a reputation.
Brookhiser - a rather politically conservative writer - has a lot of sympathy for the Federalists such as Hamilton and Morris. He, nonetheless, has written a good, objective book, the best of the three of his I read (the other two were on Hamilton and the Adams family). While Morris is rightly accorded a lesser light in history, he does deserve some illumination and Brookhiser's book does the job well.
Haal
Brookhiser is a good writer. This helped me understand one of the lesser known Founding Fathers.
Saintrius
Wonderful history….. a story that seems to have been forgotten or never known, presented here in a wonderful way.
Nilabor
As a history buff I always enjoy finding something I knew nothing about. Well written about a very intersting person
I really enjoyed this book about an important founding father that I had not known much about. The author did a great job of describing Morris's large personality and the important events that he lived through and helped shape, and in the case of the French revolution, helped shape his views. As a New Yorker, I also liked all the references to events and places in upstate New York.
Gentleman Revolutionary: Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution download epub
Leaders & Notable People
Author: Richard Brookhiser
ISBN: 0743256026
Category: Biographies & Memoris
Subcategory: Leaders & Notable People
Language: English
Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (June 3, 2004)
Pages: 272 pages