My love for Joseph Ellis’ Founding Brothers is boundless. Reading American Creation was not up for debate. It only took me so long because I was waiting for it to come up in my book club. I got tired of waiting.
This is sort of the next chapter. The fights over the Constitution, the first presidencies, the founding of the political parties, and so on.
American Creation was much less..heroic than Founding Brothers, thus somewhat less “fun”. The chapter regarding the treaties with the Creek Indians was particularly difficult. The way Ellis describes it, the leadership at the time – Washington, Knox, Jefferson – was trying to do something resembling Right by the Creeks. But the General Public wanted the land. Wanted it. And The Great Democracy did not yet have the institutions in place shut down the greedy General Public. Ellis theorizes that the badness was inevitable.
We really suck sometimes.
After reading this book, I like Jefferson even less. I like Madison a bit more. A bit. And if it is possible, I like Adams even better.
I will continue to read Ellis. He is cool. But this one was kind of a downer.