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p. 844. Legacies

What history has made of the founding fatherslocked

  • R. B. Bernstein


“Legacies: What history has made of the founding fathers” shows that the founding fathers’ history has unfolded in two ways—one being their developing role in the American people’s historical memory, the other being their evolving place in history as interpreted by generations of historians. It also highlights how posterity has chosen individuals to revere or to chastise. The reputations of some founding fathers (George Washington and Benjamin Franklin) have remained consistently high; the reputations of others (Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton) have risen and fallen in historical cycles; others (John Adams, James Madison, and John Jay) have languished in neglect, only to be rediscovered and restored to the national pantheon.

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