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Founding Rivals: Madison vs. Monroe, The Bill of Rights, and The Election that Saved a Nation Hardcover – November 14, 2011
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“Long before they fought the War of 1812 and planted the seeds of Manifest Destiny, James Madison and James Monroe fought each other over a seat in the First Congress. Their epic campaign—revolving around the size and scope of government, its taxing power, and a nation awash in debt—is America in microcosm. (It’s also frighteningly relevant to our twenty-first-century democracy.) It is a fascinating story, told here by a gifted young historian, as promising as his protagonists. Thoroughly researched and gracefully written, Founding Rivals is narrative history of the most readable kind.”
—Richard Norton Smith, author of Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation and founding director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
“Compelling narrative throughout. . . . A lively, clear-cut study of the myriad hurdles and uncertainty that characterized the first attempts to form the U.S. government.”
“An engaging account of the Republic’s contentious founding.”
“Is there anyone in America who wouldn’t want their next congressional election to feature a choice between James Madison and James Monroe? As Chris DeRose shows us in this fascinating new book, one lucky district, Virginia’s 5th (which happens to be my own), got this lucky pick in 1789. Few single contests have ever been more important for the nation’s future. Just like today, past elections were high-stakes affairs with enormous consequences. Unlike today, the big issues could once be argued on center stage between friends, in a spirit of unity and harmony.”
—Professor Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of A More Perfect Constitution
Top Customer Reviews
Founding Rivals is a swift and compelling read, a must for anyone with an interest in U.S. history and modern politics. DeRose's writing style is clear, concise and accessible. The book is well researched and documented, and DeRose's words put Colonial life in perspective, while making parallels to today's political situation with ease. This book highlights an oft ignored aspect of our nation's history, at once showing how far we have come and yet how people and politics remain unchanged over time.
DeRose is a smooth, witty and engaging writer with an incredible eye for color and detail. The result is a book that is easy and interesting to read. But the book is also a remarkably compelling read because the prologue sets the stage. Thus, the reader knows from page ix exactly what's at stake as these two founding fathers' lives, political careers and philosophies develop and then eventually collide in a titanic election in which far more than just their names were on the ballot -- Madison vs. Monroe, Federalism vs. Anti-Federalism, a Bill of Rights vs. a new constitutional convention, the survival of a Nation vs. the breakup of the Union. In a book that covers the better part of two decades, DeRose deftly moves the story along without sacrificing character, political and historical insight. The book advances at a great pace.
I highly recommend "Founding Rivals," especially for anyone interested in history or politics. It's a riveting story, well-told, of just how close our country came -- 336 votes -- to falling apart at the very beginning.
As DeRose lucidly explains, by the time Madison and Monroe contested over the 5th District, a decade under the Articles of Confederation had left the country dangerously adrift. The central government was too weak to impose its will on either its domestic or foreign enemies, whether it be state governments that ignored their obligations to fund the federal government, the British who continued to occupy forts in the Northwest, the Spanish who ignored American demands for free navigation of the Mississippi, or Western settlers who flirted with independence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Focuses on the development of the American Constitution. The author reveals a very important aspect of our country's foundation that is difficult to make interesting since it was... Read morePublished 1 month ago by James Fletcher
A well-written, engrossing book about the friendship of Madison and Monroe, along with their roles in the founding of America.Published 6 months ago by J. Windell
This book is informative and interesting about Madison and Monroe who managed to disagree on important issues and be rivals politically, but still be polite, value each other, and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by H. Collins
It is hard to imagine how the United States would've turned out without the passage of the Bill of Rights and amazing to realize how close the original States came to fracturing... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very informative. Every one should know how our founding documents were produced and how many compromises were necessary. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Sandra M. Dwork
Found this story of the relationship of these founding fathers highly interesting and entertaining.Published 16 months ago by C. carter
A lot of info I never knew. While only a few pages pertain to the actual election...the history of the young republic was superb.Published 18 months ago by Kindle Customer