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To Begin the World Anew

The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders

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Two time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Bernard Bailyn has distilled a lifetime of study into this brilliant illumination of the ideas and world of the Founding Fathers. In five succinct essays he reveals the origins, depth, and global impact of their extraordinary creativity.

The opening essay illuminates the central importance of America’s provincialism to the formation of a truly original political system. In the chapters following, he explores the ambiguities and achievements of Jefferson’s career, Benjamin Franklin’s changing image and supple diplomacy, the circumstances and impact of the Federalist Papers, and the continuing influence of American constitutional thought throughout the Atlantic world. To Begin the World Anew enlivens our appreciation of how America came to be and deepens our understanding of the men who created it.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

18 November 2002 – While the five essays in this slim volume neither pack the stylistic wallop nor make the powerful contributions to knowledge of so many of the author's previous works, they are vintage Bailyn. The two-time Pulitzer-winning historian's focus is the creative imagination applied to statecraft. His subjects are the nation's founders, whom he believes to be idealists as much as realists. As usual, Bailyn's ebullient if nuanced admiration for the Framers carries the reader along. Characteristically, he emphasizes how the Framers' provincialism allowed them to spring free of European modes of thought to create something genuinely new. Bailyn (Voyagers to the West, etc.) brilliantly uses pictures to reveal the different aspirations and bearing of the British and founding gentry. A superb chapter also uses iconography to demonstrate how Benjamin Franklin took an active hand in fashioning and altering his own likeness in paintings and medals and then used them to create crucial sympathy in France for the American cause. Of all the "tempered idealists" he deals with, none tangles Bailyn up, as he does just about everyone else, like Thomas Jefferson. But essays on the Federalist Papers and the complex, paradoxical, ever-changing reception of American constitutionalism abroad rescue the work from momentary confusion. One comes away with a rounded appreciation of the founders' limitations, failures and moral failings as well as their extraordinary achievements. 65 b&w, 4 pages color illus.

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To Begin the World Anew
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  • 12,99 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Americas
  • Published: 07 January 2003
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 200 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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