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In this compelling biography, award-winning author Harlow Giles Unger reveals the epic story of James Monroe (1758-1831)-the last of America's Founding Fathers-who transformed a small, fragile nation beset by enemies into a powerful empire stretching "from sea to shining sea." Like David McCullough's John Adams and Jon Meacham's American Lion, The Last Founding Father is both a superb read and stellar scholarship-action-filled history in the grand tradition.
John Quincy Adams was all of these things and more. In this masterful biography, award winning author Harlow Giles Unger reveals Quincy Adams as a towering figure in the nation's formative years and one of the most courageous figures in American history, which is why he ranked first in John F. Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning Profiles in Courage.
A magisterial biography and a sweeping panorama of American history from the Washington to Lincoln eras, Unger's John Quincy Adams follows one of America's most important yet least-known figures.
"I found Mr. Unger's book exceptionally well done. It's an admirable account of the marquis's two revolutions-one might even say his two lives-the French and the American. It also captures the private Lafayette and his remarkable wife, Adrienne, in often moving detail." -Thomas Fleming, author, Liberty!: The American Revolution
"Harlow Unger's Lafayette is a remarkable and dramatic account of a life as fully lived as it is possible to imagine, that of Gilbert de Motier, marquis de Lafayette. To American readers Unger's biography will provide a stark reminder of just how near run a thing was our War of Independence and the degree to which our forefathers' victory hinged on the help of our French allies, marshalled for George Washington by his 'adopted' son, Lafayette. But even more absorbing and much less well known to the general reader will be Unger's account of Lafayette's idealistic but naive efforts to plant the fruits of the American democracy he so admired in the unreceptive soil of his homeland. His inspired oratory produced not the constitutional democracy he sought but the bloody Jacobin excesses of the French Revolution."-Larry Collins, coauthor, Is Paris Burning? and O Jerusalem!
"A lively and entertaining portrait of one of the most important supporting actors in the two revolutions that transformed the modern world."-Susan Dunn, author, Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light
"Harlow Unger has cornered the market on muses to emerge as America's most readable historian. His new biography of the marquis de Lafayette combines a thoroughgoing account of the age of revolution, a probing psychological study of a complex man, and a literary style that goes down like cream. A worthy successor to his splendid biography of Noah Webster."-Florence King, Contributing Editor, National Review
"Enlightening! The picture of Lafayette's life is a window to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century history."-Michel Aubert La Fayette
The only freshman congressman ever elected Speaker of the House, Henry Clay brought an arsenal of rhetorical weapons to subdue feuding members of the House of Representatives and established the Speaker as the most powerful elected official after the President. During fifty years in public service-as congressman, senator, secretary of state, and four-time presidential candidate-Clay constantly battled to save the Union, summoning uncanny negotiating skills to force bitter foes from North and South to compromise on slavery and forego secession. His famous "Missouri Compromise" and four other compromises thwarted civil war "by a power and influence," Lincoln said, "which belonged to no other statesman of his age and times."
Explosive, revealing, and richly illustrated, Henry Clay is the story of one of the most courageous-and powerful-political leaders in American History.
Thomas Paine's words were like no others in history: they leaped off the page, inspiring readers to change their lives, their governments, their kings, and even their gods. In an age when spoken and written words were the only forms of communication, Paine's aroused men to action like no one else. The most widely read political writer of his generation, he proved to be more than a century ahead of his time, conceiving and demanding unheard-of social reforms that are now integral elements of modern republican societies. Among them were government subsidies for the poor, universal housing and education, pre- and post-natal care for women, and universal social security. An Englishman who emigrated to the American colonies, he formed close friendships with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, and his ideas helped shape the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.
However, the world turned against Paine in his later years. While his earlier works, Common Sense and Rights of Man, attacked the political and social status quo here on earth, The Age of Reason attacked the status quo of the hereafter. Former friends shunned him, and the man America had hailed as the muse of the American Revolution died alone and forgotten.
Packed with action and intrigue, soldiers and spies, politics and perfidy, Unger's Thomas Paine is a much-needed new look at a defining figure.
Richard Henry Lee was first to call for independence, first to call for union, and first to call for a bill of rights to protect Americans against government tyranny. A towering figure in America's Revolutionary War, Lee was as much the "father of our country" as George Washington, for it was Lee who secured the political and diplomatic victories that ensured Washington's military victories. Lee was critical in holding Congress together at a time when many members sought to surrender or flee the approach of British troops. Risking death on the gallows for defying British rule, Lee charged into battle himself to prevent British landings along the Virginia coast--despite losing most of his left hand in an explosion.
A stirring, action-packed biography, First Founding Father will startle most Americans with the revelation that many historians have ignored for more than two centuries: Richard Henry Lee, not Thomas Jefferson, was the author of America's original Declaration of Independence.
As quick with a rifle as he was with his tongue, Henry was America's greatest orator and courtroom lawyer, who mixed histrionics and hilarity to provoke tears or laughter from judges and jurors alike. Henry's passion for liberty (as well as his very large family), suggested to many Americans that he, not Washington, was the real father of his country.
This biography is history at its best, telling a story both human and philosophical. As Unger points out, Henry's words continue to echo across America and inspire millions to fight government intrusion in their daily lives.
"Noah Webster was a truly remarkable man; shrewd, passionate, learned and energetic, God-fearing and patriotic. Mr. Unger has done a fine job reintroducing him to a new generation of Americans."-Washington Times
"Superb biography. . . . Don't miss this stirring book." -Florence King, The American Spectator
In this startling biography, award-winning author Harlow Giles Unger reveals how Virginia-born John Marshall emerged from the Revolutionary War's bloodiest battlefields to become one of the nation's most important Founding Fathers: America's greatest Chief Justice. Marshall served his country as an officer, Congressman, diplomat, and Secretary of State before President John Adams named him the nation's fourth Chief Justice, the longest-serving in American history. Marshall transformed the Supreme Court from an irrelevant appeals court into a powerful branch of government -- and provoked the ire of thousands of Americans who, like millions today, accused him and the court of issuing decisions that were tantamount to new laws and Constitutional amendments.
And the Court's critics were right! Marshall admitted as much.
With nine decisions that shocked the nation, John Marshall and his court assumed powers to strike down laws it deemed unconstitutional. In doing so, Marshall's court acted without Constitutional authority, but its decisions saved American liberty by protecting individual rights and the rights of private business against tyranny by federal, state, and local government.
Ninety percent of Americans could not vote and did not enjoy rights to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness when our Founding Fathers proclaimed, "all men are created equal." Alone among those who signed the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush heard the cries of those other, deprived Americans and stepped forth as the nation's first great humanitarian and social reformer.
Remembered primarily as America's leading, most influential physician, Rush led the Founding Fathers in calling for abolition of slavery, equal rights for women, improved medical care for injured troops, free health care for the poor, slum clearance, citywide sanitation, an end to child labor, free universal public education, humane treatment and therapy for the mentally ill, prison reform, and an end to capital punishment.
Using archival material from Edinburgh, London, Paris, and Philadelphia, as well as significant new materials from Rush's descendants and historical societies, Harlow Giles Unger's new biography restores Benjamin Rush to his rightful place in American history as the Founding Father of modern American medical care and psychiatry.
Although the framers gave the president little authority, George Washington knew whatever he did would set precedents for generations of future leaders. To ensure their ability to defend the nation, he simply ignored the Constitution when he thought it necessary.
In a revealing new look at the birth of American government, Mr. President” describes Washington's presidency in a time of continual crisis, as rebellion and attacks by foreign enemies threatened to destroy this new nation. Constantly weighing preservation of the Union against preservation of individual liberties and states' rights, Washington assumed more power with each crisis. In a series of brilliant but unconstitutional maneuvers he forced Congress to cede control of the four pillars of executive power: war, finance, foreign affairs, and law enforcement.
Drawing on rare documents and letters, Unger shows how Washington combined political cunning and sheer genius to seize ever-widening powers, impose law and order while ensuring individual freedom, and shape the office of President of the United States.