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Burr by Gore Vidal

  1. Jul 29, 2009 #1


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    I am just about finished with this book a biography of Arron Burr. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the life and politics of our founding fathers.

    I have leaned much that is very surprising. Like:
    1. In the 1790s in the wake of the French Revolution and following a successful slave revolt in Haiti, perhaps 1000's of slaves in the south were simply slaughtered in fear of a similar revolt.

    2. There was talk of succession of the New England states in the early 1800s.

    3. Many of the founding fathers were licentious drunks, exceptions would be G. Washington and J. Madison.

    4. Burr felt that Washington had a knack for losing battles. Over all he was a poor General, but was able to hold things together long enough for the French to save our backsides.

    Once again this is a very good read for anyone interested in the men and women of the Revolution era.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2009 #2
    Yes. Few Americans realize that the founding father was, at best, a mediocre general in terms of tactics. However, he deserves credit for keeping the army together and "toughing out" the hard times to gain (with the necessary help of France) a final victory at Yorktown, Va (1781). First he lost New York City, then he lost Philadelphia and nearly lost his army at Valley Forge. After a victory at Monmouth, NJ (1778), he largely avoided combat while the British invaded the southern colonies. Washington wasn't present for the war's most critical battle at Saratoga, NY (1777). That key American victory belongs either to Benedict Arnold or Horatio Gates (historians still argue about this).

    http://sc94.ameslab.gov/TOUR/gwash.html [Broken] see American Revolution
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  4. Aug 1, 2009 #3


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    you might try Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton for another view
  5. Aug 1, 2009 #4


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    Thanks for the suggestion, I will do that.

    Seems that much of the problem between Burr and Hamilton was due to the vitriol in the press of the day. The stuff they printed make the Star and Enquirer read like the Sunday comics.
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