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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.
“A group of unimpeachable assessments . . . A gem of a book, rich in understanding . . . A thoroughly urbane account of the provincial wellsprings of our nation’s life.” —The New York Times
“Seldom have . . . the American Founders . . . been celebrated with such depth and sophistication.” —The New York Review of Books
“In the great flood of books about the American Revolution . . . To Begin the World Anew occupies a place all its own. A closely argued exploration.” —The Washington Post Book World
“One of America’s most discerning historians. His thinking is subtle. His style is forceful. . . . Throughout he retains a sense of wonder that those men in a clump of distant British provinces could have wrought a political system, a view of the world, that is so imaginative and enduring.” —Los Angeles Times
Table of Contents
I. Politics and the Creative Imagination
II. Jefferson and the Ambiguities of Freedom
III. Realism and Idealism in American Diplomacy: Franklin in Paris, Couronne par la Liberte
IV. The Federalist Papers
A Note On The Federalist and the Supreme Court
V. Atlantic Dimensions