America’s Forgotten Founders
© 2011 ed. Gary Gregg II
After reading several thoughtful full-length biographies in this series, I expected the same quality in miniature from this collection. That is not the case at all; after a lengthy opening essay on what constitutes a founding father, and why some are forgotten and others not, the reader is treated to ten brief articles about revolutionary-area personalities. Some of these men are unequivocally not forgotten, like Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine. A few others are more obscure, but the information included here is so slight that one could just as well read any entry in a biographical dictionary about them. I liked the organization of each article: a biographical sketch, an outline of their chief contributions, and an excerpt of their writing. There’s just not enough content here. One gentleman’s writing excerpt is the Preamble of the Constitution. The full-length volumes in this series, particularly American Cicero and The Cost of Liberty are much more helpful.
The men considered: James Wilson, George Mason, Gouverneur Morris, John Jay, Roger Sherman, John Marshall, John Dickinson, Tom Paine, Patrick Henry, and John Witherspoon. According to the introduction, many names were submitted and considered, but the editor chose the names which were suggested most often. The native American and female contributors teased at in the introduction don’t actually get sketches.