Gouverneur Morris : an independent life /
William Howard Adams.
New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, c2003.
xvi, 345 p.
0300099800 (alk. paper)
More Details
New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, c2003.
0300099800 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2003-07-07:
In Richard Brookhiser's just-published biography of Gouverneur Morris (Forecasts, Mar. 24), he makes the man appealing. Adams (The Paris Years of Thomas Jefferson) goes further: he makes Morris significant in a more searching, thorough and authoritative work. Morris was a man "unapologetically comfortable with himself" who stepped onto the political stage in 1775, a rare urbanite among the nation's founders, an early opponent of slavery and champion of religious tolerance. Wielding one of the great pens of his era and matching in edgy brilliance perhaps only Alexander Hamilton, he helped write New York's first constitution, made substantive contributions to the Constitution of 1787 (centrally shaping the American presidency, drafting the epochal preamble and styling the whole document) and served as ambassador to Britain and then France during the tumultuous early years of the French Revolution. Back in the U.S., he helped lay out New York City's grid system and influentially promoted the Erie Canal. Because of Morris's involvement in so much, Adams's book is really half a history of an entire epoch, and yet it never loses its focus on Morris. Unlike Brookhiser, who strains to make Morris attractive as a generous-spirited "rake," Adams allows Morris's nature to emerge from his hugely significant acts. The result is a compelling portrait of an admirable conservative who today would be brought down by his nonideological approach to issues if not by his stylish philandering. This full, sympathetic, engrossing yet clear-eyed biography of a near-great forgotten founder, a work whose graceful prose only enhances its deep scholarship, will now be the standard biography of its subject. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, July 2003
Booklist, October 2003
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Unpaid Annotation
- Support for this book has been provided by Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Gouverneur Morris was one of the leading figures of the Constitutional Convention, putting the American Constitution in its final version, including its opening Preamble. This biography tells his robust story, including his celebrated love affairs during his long stay in Europe.

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