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History: Summer Reading Assignment:

Read: Ellis, Joseph. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. Vintage: New
York, 2002.
ISBN: 0-375-70524-4

Create a time management plan for your reading schedule to ensure that you have
ample time to read the book. Set due dates for each chapter and associated
questions. This assignment will not only enhance your understanding of course
material, but will also give you a foundation in the rigors of note-taking and
time management that are inherent to this course.
The following reading guide should be completed as you read each chapter before
the due date, scheduled for the first day of October.
o Answers must be handwritten and will serve as the foundation for an
open-notes test on the material on October 5-6 (Block Day)
o Answers will also serve as the basis for further discussion/analysis as the
course progresses into the Constitutional, Federalist and Jeffersonian
periods of American History.
o For each chapter, answer the following questions completely. Answers
should cite specific, relevant evidence from the book.

Reading Guide

Introduction The Generation

1. Why were the major accomplishments of the Founding Brothers during the Revolution
unprecedented? (3 reasons)
2. What were the assets and liabilities of the men in New York in 1789 as they began to govern
under the new
3. What distinguishes the American Revolution from most, if not all subsequent revolutions?
4. According to Ellis, why were the Founding Brothers successful? (He offers 4 reasons.)
5. Why does Ellis refer to the individuals as Founding Brothers NOT Founding Fathers?

Chapter 2 The Dinner June 20, 1790

1. Describe the members and agenda of the dinner.
2. What was the issue of assumption?
3. What was Hamiltons plan for debt reconciliation?
4. List Madisons objections to assumption.
5. Describe the residency question and how it is finally resolved.
6. What compromise was made at the dinner? What was the formal name of the
7. What was the economic status of the fledging United States?
8. Whose approval did Madison and Jefferson seek for moving the capitol to the
Potomac? (Hint they wanted
it to look like moving the capitol was his idea)

Chapter 3 The Silence February 11, 1790

1. What occurred in the House of Representatives on February 11, 1790?
2. Describe the arguments presented by James Jackson (GA) and William Loughton Smith (SC)
in support of slavery.
3. Describe the counterargument presented by John Laurance (NY) and Eldridge Gerry (MA) in
response to Jackson and Smiths justification of slavery.
4. What were the proposals for gradual emancipation?
5. What was Benjamin Franklins role in the 1790 debate over slavery?
6. What does Ellis mean when he says that Madisons position on slavery captured the essence
of what might be called
the Virginia straddle?
7. Who proposed emancipation? What was his religion?
8. What tragedy happened as a result of the Founding Fathers refusal to end slavery in
9. What was included in Jeffersons original draft of the Declaration of Independence?
Why wasnt it included?
10. Who did the founding fathers blame for starting slavery?
11. What were the two main reasons why emancipation did not work?

Chapter 4 The Farewell

1. Why did Washington decide to retire? Consider private, public, and political concerns.
2. What were Washingtons purpose in the Circular Letter, Proclamation of Neutrality, and the
Address to the Cherokees?
3. Why is Jays Treaty considered a landmark in the shaping of American foreign policy?
Explain the
controversy/issues surrounding the treaty including the opinions of the parties, Jefferson,
Madison, and the majority of
4. What caused the rift that developed between Jefferson and Washington?
5. What amendment affirmed the two term presidency that Washington had made a
6. What did Thomas Paine say about Washington that amounted to political suicide?
7. What charge against Washington did the Republican newspaper the Aurora make about
8, What was the paradox of the early Republic that was embodied by Washington?
9. What were the three main themes of Washingtons Farewell Address?
10. What attempted plot did Washingtons officers devise?
11. What provision did Washington make for his slaves in his will?
12. What was the one path that Washington advised Indians in the west to take?

Chapter 5 The Collaborators

1. What were the strengths and weaknesses of John Adams as a presidential candidate?
2. A rift developed between Jefferson and Washington. What were the issues surrounding the
rift? How does the rift
reflect a greater rift amongst the revolutionary generation (especially between Republicans and
3. Why didnt Jefferson join his friend Adams in bipartisan cooperation?
4. How did Adams respond to the XYZ Affair?
5. Why did Adams negotiate a diplomatic end to the Quasi-War with France which he knew
would alienate him from his
own political party?
6. What was the primary function of the collaboration between Jefferson and Madison? What
was their response to the
Alien and Sedition Acts?
7. What were the two main criticisms of John Adams that were untrue?
8. What happened when the presidential electoral votes ended in a tie?
9. Why didnt Jefferson partner with Adams even though he was Adams vice-president?
10. What was Adams biggest blunder as president?
11. To whom did Adams turn for advice rather than his cabinet?
12. What were some of the measures that Jefferson took to discredit Adams? How did
one of these measures
backfire on Jefferson?
13. What was Hamiltons grandiose plan?
14. Why did Jefferson and Madison believe Adams and the Federalists were capturing
the government from the
American people?

Chapter 6 The Friendship

1. What was the significance of the midnight judges?
2. What were Jeffersons misguided propositions about European affairs?
3. What does the correspondence between Adams and Jefferson reveal about their different views
of government?
4. How did the dialogue, as it unfolded from 1812 1826 illuminate issues critical to the early
Chapter 1 The Duel July 11, 1804
1. Why did the Burr-Hamilton duel become legendary? Should it really matter to students of
American history? Explain.
2. Describe the 15 year relationship between Hamilton and Burr. Cite specific examples of the
conflict between the two.
3. Why does Hamilton call Burr the Catiline of America? Provide examples that support
Hamiltons view of Burr.
1. How were Hamiltons and Burrs personalities similar?
2. Why did Hamilton distrust Burr the most out of all of his political enemies?
3. What was a Catiline?
4. What conspiracy was hatched by New Englanders?
5. Why was Hamilton justified in his fears of Burr?