Before his death in 1832, Charles Carroll of Carrollton was widely regarded as among the most important of the American founders. Today, however, Carroll’s signal contributions to the American founding are largely overlooked.
In the fascinating new biography American Cicero, historian Bradley J. Birzer rescues Carroll from this unjust neglect. Drawing on his considerable archival research and study of Carroll’s extensive correspondence, Birzer shows how this man of supreme intellect, imagination, and integrity recognized the necessity of independence from Great Britain well before most other founders, advocated a proper understanding of the American Revolution as deeply rooted in the Western tradition, inspired the creation of the U.S. Senate, and helped legitimize his religion, Roman Catholicism, in the American republic.
Born a bastard, Carroll nevertheless became the best educated and wealthiest founder. His analysis of the situation in the colonies in the run-up to the Revolution, though ignored by almost all historians, was original and brilliant, Birzer shows. Carroll eventually served as one of the main informants for Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic work Democracy in America.
reveals why founders such as John Adams assumed that Charles Carroll would one day be considered among the greats—and also why history has largely forgotten him.
About the Author
Bradley J. Birzer holds the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History at Hillsdale College. The author or editor of four other books, he has written and taught extensively on the American experience. Birzer also serves as chairman of the board of academic advisors for the Center for the American Idea in Houston and as a Non-Resident Fellow for the McConnell Center, University of Louisville. He and his family live in Michigan.