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American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic by Joseph J. Ellis
With American Creation, Joseph J. Ellis examines the successes and failures of America's early leaders: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Adams. As a group, while they shared their vision of overthrowing the shackles of colonialism, they had diverse views about how to build a new nation. This diversity led to some of their triumphs including a strong central government, a bicameral legislature, and a two-party political system. These same men also caused some of the country's greatest failures including slavery and the forced relocation of Indian tribes. American Creation has received positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "All of which is a somewhat roundabout way of saying that on the larger issue, Ellis is right. The founders were great men, but they weren't perfect. They weren't 'demigods who were permitted to glimpse the eternal truths,' or as Ralph Waldo Emerson once put it, 'to see God face to face,' but neither were they, in Ellis's words, 'a cast of villains who collectively comprise the deadest-whitest-males in American history,' as too many laborers in the groves of academe would have us believe. They were simply -- okay, not so simply -- human, and it's about time that we understood as much."