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p. 72. Contexts

The history that made the founding fatherslocked

  • R. B. Bernstein


The founding fathers were born into a remarkable variety of families, occupations, religious loyalties, and geographic settings: from landed gentry destined to join the ruling elite, to middling or common sorts who chose the law or medicine as a professional path to distinction, or immigrants from other parts of the British Empire. They lived within and were shaped by three interlocking contexts—the intellectual world of the transatlantic Enlightenment; the political context within which Americans sought to preserve and improve the best of the Anglo-American constitutional heritage; and the social, economic, and cultural context formed as a result of their living on the Atlantic world’s periphery.

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