What Would the Founders Do?
Our Questions, Their Answers
By Richard Brookhiser
(Basic Books, Hardcover, 9780465008193, 272pp.)
Publication Date: May 1, 2006
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Why do Americans care so much about the Founding Fathers? After all, the French don't ask themselves, "What would Napoleon do?" But Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and Adams built our country, wrote our user's manuals--the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution--and ran the nation while it was still under warranty and could be returned to the manufacturer. If anyone knows how the U.S.A. should work, they did and they still do. Richard Brookhiser has been writing, talking, and thinking about the Founders for years. Now he channels them. What would Hamilton think about free trade? What would Franklin make of the national obsession with values? What would Washington say about gays in the military? Examining a host of issues from terrorism to women's rights to gun control, Brookhiser reveals why we still turn to the Founders in moments of struggle, farce, or disaster--just as Lincoln, FDR, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bill Clinton have done before us. Written with Brookhiser's trademark eloquence--and a good dose of wit--while drawing on his deep knowledge of American history, What Would the Founders Do? sheds new light on the disagreements and debates that have shaped our country from the beginning. Brookhiser challenges us to think and act with the clarity that the Founders brought to the task of making a democratic country. Now, more than ever, we need these creators of America--argumentative, expansive, funny know-it-alls--to help us solve the issues that threaten to divide us.
Richard Brookhiser is the author of What Would the Founders Do?, Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton, American, and America’s First Dynasty: The Adamses, 1735-1918. He wrote and hosted the critically acclaimed PBS documentary Rediscovering George Washington, is a columnist for TIME magazine, and is a senior editor of National Review. He has written for The New Yorker and the New York Times. He lives in New York City.