The remarkable story of Benjamin Rush, medical pioneer and one of our nation´s most provocative and unsung Founding Fathers In the summer of 1776, fifty-six men put their quills to a dangerous document they called the Declaration of Independence. Among them was a thirty-year-old doctor named Benjamin Rush. One of the youngest signatories, he was also, among stiff competition, one of the most visionary. A brilliant physician and writer, Rush was known as the ´´American Hippocrates´´ for pioneering national healthcare and revolutionizing treatment of mental illness and addiction. Yet medicine is only part of his legacy. Dr. Rush was both a progressive thorn in the side of the American political establishment-a vocal opponent of slavery, capital punishment, and prejudice by race, religion or gender-and close friends with its most prominent leaders. He was the protégé of Franklin, the editor of Common Sense, Washington´s surgeon general, and the broker of peace between Adams and Jefferson, yet his stubborn convictions more than once threatened his career and his place in the narrative of America´s founding. Drawing on a trove of previously unpublished letters and images, the voluminous correspondence between Rush and his better-known counterparts, and his candid and incisive personal writings, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Stephen Fried resurrects the most significant Founding Father we´ve never heard of and finally installs Dr. Rush in the pantheon of great American leaders.
Winner of the Lincoln Prize Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln´s political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president. On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires. It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war. We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through. This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln´s mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation´s history.
Return to the nation´s founding to rediscover the dramatic original debates--on presidential power, religious liberty, foreign corruption, and more--that still shape our world today When the Constitutional Convention adjourned on September 17, 1787, few Americans anticipated the document that emerged from its secret proceedings. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and the other framers had fashioned something radically new, a strong national government with broad powers. A fierce storm of argument soon broke out in advance of the state ratifying conventions that would decide the new plan´s fate as Federalist supporters, Antifederalist opponents, and seekers of a middle ground praised, condemned, challenged, and analyzed the new Constitution. Here, in chronological order, are more than sixty newspaper articles, pamphlets, speeches, and private letters written or delivered during this ratification debate. Along with familiar figures such as Madison, Hamilton, and Patrick Henry, are dozens of lesser-known but equally engaged and passionate participants. The most famous writings of the period--especially the key Federalist essays--are placed in context alongside the arguments of insightful Antifederalists such as ´´Brutus´´ and the ´´Federal Farmer.´´ Crucial issues quickly take center stage--the need for a Bill of Rights, the controversial compromises over slavery and the slave trade, whether religious tests should be imposed--and on questions that continue to engage and divide Americans: the relationship between the national government and the states, the dangers of unchecked presidential power and the remedy of impeachment, the proper role of the Supreme Court, fears of foreign and domestic corruption, and the persistent challenge of making representative government work in a large and diverse nation.