Catalogue


The founding conservatives : how a group of unsung heroes saved the American Revolution /
David Lefer.
imprint
New York : Sentinel, [2013], c2013
description
406 p.
ISBN
1595230696, 9781595230690
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
New York : Sentinel, [2013], c2013
isbn
1595230696
9781595230690
catalogue key
8941291
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2013-04-29:
The American Revolution's more conservative members get a second look in this solid new history. Lefer, a professor of engineering at N.Y.U.'s Polytechnic University, argues that American conservatism began not with the writings of Irish politician Edmund Burke, but with a handful of revolutionaries who've been overshadowed by their better-known founding brothers. The author focuses heavily on James Dickinson, whom Voltaire dubbed the "American Cicero" for his Farmer's Letters newspaper column in The Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser, which in the 1760s rallied support against British taxes by encouraging colonists to boycott goods from England and publicly protest. Lefer also profiles Silas Deane, America's first representative to France; Philip Schuyler, a major general who fought against the British; and Robert Morris, the merchant who helped fund the revolution. Again and again, the author emphasizes the moderation of his subjects ("The only time Dickinson seemed to lack moderation was when he was extolling its virtues") as opposed to the "radicals" agitating for grander changes. Lefer does a great service by shedding new light on these "other" revolutionaries. But even though he acknowledges the dissimilarities between these men, as well as the fact that they did not form a political party, his modern labeling of them as "conservatives" feels forced, and it oversimplifies the complexities of the political discourse that was raging in the colonies. Agent: Meg Thompson, Einstein Thompson Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A compelling argument for a new appreciation of America's founding conservatives. Lefer shows how these men, far from obstructing change or opposing the Revolution, sought to channel and direct our nation's develop­ment so it could succeed for centuries to come. This book reminds us that conservatives have never been the 'party of no' but rather the voice of reason and an idealism tempered by the practical." LARRY SCHWEIKART, coauthor of A Patriot's History of the Modern World, vols. 1 and 2 "David Lefer's The Founding Conservatives is a tirelessly researched and superbly written account of how America's first conservatives endowed our revolution with ballast and vision, often in surprising ways that resonate to this day. A timely reminder that extremism in the defense of liberty is no virtue, moderation in the pursuit of justice no vice." KEVIN BAKER, author of America: The Story of Us "David Lefer has done a civic service in unearthing a largely forgotten group of revolutionary patriots who not only played key roles in achieving Ameri­can independence but, in advance of Burke and the French Revolution, laid the groundwork for a distinctively New World version of conservatism." FRED SIEGEL, author of The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York, and the Genius of American Life and Manhattan Institute senior fellow "At a time when Americans have made a religion out of creating the found­ers in their own image, David Lefer's The Founding Conservatives offers a bracing reminder that the revolutionary generation was as contentious and divided as any other. This lively, erudite book frees the founders from cur­rently popular, anachronistic categorizations and in the process provides a fresh, new perspective on American conservatism. That there is something in this book to annoy just about everyone is its great and inestimable virtue." SUSAN JACOBY, author, Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism
"David Lefer's narrative is readable, engrossing, and fair-minded, and it presents an aspect of America's origins that enriches our understanding of the nation's past and of its present." JAMES FALLOWS "David Lefer has done a wonderful service by focusing attention on the conservatives among our founders, such as John Dickinson. In doing so, he shows that American conservatism has deep historical roots and that some of today's ideological disputes were being waged in the early days of our republic. The lessons he draws are relevant not just to conservatives but to all Americans." WALTER ISAACSON, author of Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin "David Lefer's The Founding Conservatives is a tirelessly researched and superbly writ­ten account of how America's first conservatives endowed our revolution with ballast and vision, often in surprising ways that resonate to this day. A timely reminder that extremism in the defense of liberty is no virtue, moderation in the pursuit of justice no vice." KEVIN BAKER, author of America: The Story of Us "David Lefer has done a civic service in unearthing a largely forgotten group of revolutionary patriots who not only played key roles in achieving American inde­pendence but, in advance of Burke and the French Revolution, laid the groundwork for a distinctively New World version of conservatism." FRED SIEGEL, author of The Prince of the City; senior fellow, Manhattan Institute "This lively, erudite book frees the founders from currently popular anachronistic categorizations and in the process provides a fresh new perspective on American conservatism. That there is something in this book to annoy just about everyone is its great and inestimable virtue." SUSAN JACOBY, author of Freethinkers "As a historian, David Lefer is a terrific storyteller. The Founding Conservatives takes us on a fun and unique ride through the birth of the United States while building a case for the real DNA of American conservatism." KEVIN MANEY, author of The Maverick and His Machine "A compelling argument for a new appreciation of America's founding conservatives. Lefer shows how these men, far from obstructing change or opposing the Revolution, sought to channel and direct our nation's develop­ment so it could succeed for centuries to come. This book reminds us that conservatives have never been the 'party of no' but rather the voice of reason and an idealism tempered by the practical." LARRY SCHWEIKART, coauthor of A Patriot's History of the Modern World, vols. 1 and 2
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, April 2013
Kirkus Reviews, June 2013
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
A nation at war and widespread mistrust of the mil­itary. A financial crash and an endless economic crisis. A Congress so divided it barely functioned. Bitter partisan disputes over everything from taxa­tion and the distribution of wealth to the role of banks and corporations in society. Welcome to the world of the Founding Fathers. According to most narratives of the American Revolution, the founders were united in their quest for independence and steadfast in their efforts to create a stable, effective government. But the birth of our republic was far more complicated than many realize. The Revolution was nearly derailed by extremists who wanted to do too much, too quickly and who refused to rest until they had remade American society. If not for a small circle of conservatives who kept radicalism in check and promoted capitalism, a strong military, and the preservation of tradition, our country would be vastly different today. In the first book to chronicle the critical role these men played in securing our freedom, David Lefer provides an insightful and gripping account of the birth of modern American conservatism and its impact on the earliest days of our nation. Among these founding conservatives were men like John Dickinson, who joined George Washington's troops in a battle against the British on July 4, 1776, and that same week drafted the Articles of Confederation; James Wilson, a staunch free-market capitalist who defended his home against a mob of radicals demanding price controls and in the process averted a bloody American equivalent to Bastille Day; Silas Deane, who mixed patriotism with profit seeking while petitioning France to aid America; and Robert Morris, who financed the American Revolution and founded the first bank and the first modern multinational corporation in the United States. Drawing on years of archival research, Lefer shows how these and other determined founders cham­pioned American freedom while staying faithful to their ideals. In the process, they not only helped defeat the British but also laid the groundwork for American capitalism to thrive. The Founding Conservatives is an intellectual adven­ture story, full of gunfights and big ideas. It is also an extraordinary reminder of the punishing battles our predecessors fought to create and maintain the free and prosperous nation we know today.'It is not only the cause, but our manner of conducting it, that will establish character.' John Dickinson, 1773
Main Description
A nation at war and widespread mistrust of the military. A financial crash and an endless economic crisis. A Congress so divided it barely functioned. Bitter partisan disputes over everything from taxation and the distribution of wealth to the role of banks and corporations in society. Welcome to the world of the Founding Fathers.According to most narratives of the American Revolution, the founders were united in their quest for independence and steadfast in their efforts to create a stable, effective government. But the birth of our republic was far more complicated than many realize. The Revolution was nearly derailed by extremists who wanted to do too much, too quickly and who refused to rest until they had remade American society. If not for a small circle of conservatives who kept radicalism in check and promoted capitalism, a strong military, and the preservation of tradition, our country would be vastly different today.In the first book to chronicle the critical role these men played in securing our freedom, David Lefer provides an insightful and gripping account of the birth of modern American conservatism and its impact on the earliest days of our nation.Among these founding conservatives were men like John Dickinson, who joined George Washington's troops in a battle against the British on July 4, 1776, and that same week drafted the Articles of Confederation; James Wilson, a staunch free-market capitalist who defended his home against a mob of radicals demanding price controls and in the process averted a bloody American equivalent to Bastille Day; Silas Deane, who mixed patriotism with profit seeking while petitioning France to aid America; and Robert Morris, who financed the American Revolution and founded the first bank and the first modern multinational corporation in the United States.Drawing on years of archival research, Lefer shows how these and other determined founders championed American freedom while staying faithful to their ideals. In the process, they not only helped defeat the British but also laid the groundwork for American capitalism to thrive.The Founding Conservatives is an intellectual adventure story, full of gunfights and big ideas. It is also an extraordinary reminder of the punishing battles our predecessors fought to create and maintain the free and prosperous nation we know today.'It is not only the cause, but our manner of conducting it, that will establish character.' John Dickinson, 1773
Main Description
Drawing on years of archival research, Lefer provides the untold story of how a small group of founders not only saved the American Revolution but also helped define American conservatism and create the foundations for the nation's economy. A new perspective on the birth of a free nation.
Main Description
"It is not only the cause, but our manner of conducting it, that will establish character."--John Dickinson, 1773 A nation at war and widespread mistrust of the mil-itary. A financial crash and an endless economic crisis. A Congress so divided it barely functioned. Bitter partisan disputes over everything from taxa-tion and the distribution of wealth to the role of banks and corporations in society. Welcome to the world of the Founding Fathers. According to most narratives of the American Revolution, the founders were united in their quest for independence and steadfast in their efforts to create a stable, effective government. But the birth of our republic was far more complicated than many realize. The Revolution was nearly derailed by extremists who wanted to do too much, too quickly and who refused to rest until they had remade American society. If not for a small circle of conservatives who kept radicalism in check and promoted capitalism, a strong military, and the preservation of tradition, our country would be vastly different today. In the first book to chronicle the critical role these men played in securing our freedom, David Lefer provides an insightful and gripping account of the birth of modern American conservatism and its impact on the earliest days of our nation. Among these founding conservatives were men like John Dickinson, who joined George Washingtons troops in a battle against the British on July 4, 1776, and that same week drafted the Articles of Confederation; James Wilson, a staunch free-market capitalist who defended his home against a mob of radicals demanding price controls and in the process averted a bloody American equivalent to Bastille Day; Silas Deane, who mixed patriotism with profit seeking while petitioning France to aid America; and Robert Morris, who financed the American Revolution and founded the first bank and the first modern multinational corporation in the United States. Drawing on years of archival research, Lefer shows how these and other determined founders cham-pioned American freedom while staying faithful to their ideals. In the process, they not only helped defeat the British but also laid the groundwork for American capitalism to thrive. "The Founding Conservatives "is an intellectual adven-ture story, full of gunfights and big ideas. It is also an extraordinary reminder of the punishing battles our predecessors fought to create and maintain the free and prosperous nation we know today.
Main Description
"It is not only the cause, but our manner of conducting it, that will establish character." --John Dickinson, 1773 A nation at war and widespread mistrust of the mil­itary. A financial crash and an endless economic crisis. A Congress so divided it barely functioned. Bitter partisan disputes over everything from taxa­tion and the distribution of wealth to the role of banks and corporations in society. Welcome to the world of the Founding Fathers. According to most narratives of the American Revolution, the founders were united in their quest for independence and steadfast in their efforts to create a stable, effective government. But the birth of our republic was far more complicated than many realize. The Revolution was nearly derailed by extremists who wanted to do too much, too quickly and who refused to rest until they had remade American society. If not for a small circle of conservatives who kept radicalism in check and promoted capitalism, a strong military, and the preservation of tradition, our country would be vastly different today. In the first book to chronicle the critical role these men played in securing our freedom, David Lefer provides an insightful and gripping account of the birth of modern American conservatism and its impact on the earliest days of our nation. Among these founding conservatives were men like John Dickinson, who joined George Washington's troops in a battle against the British on July 4, 1776, and that same week drafted the Articles of Confederation; James Wilson, a staunch free-market capitalist who defended his home against a mob of radicals demanding price controls and in the process averted a bloody American equivalent to Bastille Day; Silas Deane, who mixed patriotism with profit seeking while petitioning France to aid America; and Robert Morris, who financed the American Revolution and founded the first bank and the first modern multinational corporation in the United States. Drawing on years of archival research, Lefer shows how these and other determined founders cham­pioned American freedom while staying faithful to their ideals. In the process, they not only helped defeat the British but also laid the groundwork for American capitalism to thrive. The Founding Conservatives is an intellectual adven­ture story, full of gunfights and big ideas. It is also an extraordinary reminder of the punishing battles our predecessors fought to create and maintain the free and prosperous nation we know today.
Main Description
The untold story of a small group of founders who prevented radicalism at the dawn of the republic A nation at war. A real estate crash and financial meltdown. Bitter partisan disputes over taxation, the distribution of wealth, and the role of banks and corporations in society. Welcome to the world of the founding fathers. According to most narratives of the American Revolution, the founders were united in their vision. But according to historian David Lefer, political disagreements split the new nation in two. Had it not been for a few individuals who exercised a pragmatic conservatism that valued capitalism, a strong military, and the preservation of tradition, our country would be vastly different today. Drawing on years of archival research, Lefer tells the untold story of how these men not only saved the Revolution but also helped define American conservatism and create the foundations for our economy. America's first banks and corporations would not have been possible without the bold and idealistic efforts of the first conservatives. This is more than just a fascinating story; it is also a new perspective on the birth of a free and prosperous nation.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
Court and Countryp. 9
None Shall Make Them Afraidp. 20
The Rise of Radicalismp. 35
The View From Abovep. 46
Delicacy and Cautionp. 56
The Olive Branch and the Lightning Boltp. 68
Patriotism and Profitp. 81
Yielding to the Torrentp. 95
The Crucible of Conservatismp. 108
The Philosopher in Actionp. 121
On the Brink of a Precipicep. 132
Cool and Do Mischiefp. 146
The Turning Pointp. 159
The Playwright and the Merchantp. 174
The Seed Time of Gloryp. 188
The Ruin of Mr. Deanep. 201
Fort Wilsonp. 213
American Dictatorsp. 226
Power, Consequence, and Grandeurp. 240
The Pause that Saved the Revolutionp. 256
Our American Tumultsp. 268
Capitalist Inducementsp. 281
Experience Must be our Guidep. 296
We the Peoplep. 310
Epiloguep. 324
Acknowledgmentsp. 341
Notesp. 343
Indexp. 385
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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