| || |
Originally written in 1976 by Edmund S. Morgan, The Meaning of Independence is the most direct, concise and well developed profile studies of the main characters that ensconced America’s Revolutionary Era. In less than one hundred pages the truest sense of the minds and personalities of John Adams, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson comes across in such a way that one will have a new and profound significance as to why these three men are forever to be considered great Americans. The American movement to separate from Great Britain not only gave opportunity to thirteen colonies to become its own nation it also gave way to individuals to move forward in their careers. In a succinct but powerful style, Morgan explains, that the American Revolution and the careers of these three men maintain a symbiotic relationship; in essence, one could not have fulfilled their destiny without the other.
These three American icons had several common goals for the young nation to develop into during their reign of power in the Office of the President of the United States. All of them, most importantly, had profound faith in the American people’s virtue to create, develop and preserve a national form of governing like no other in the history of the world. For it was this fact they all entrusted as being the uniqueness of heart that the young nation held...
What Morgan most successfully captures within the pages of this work is just how different these three men were as people. Perhaps outwardly they have many similarities but their personalities are anything but alike. Morgan describes John Adams as an anti-social, vain and blunt man that was a workaholic. George Washington comes across as an aloof and reserved leader that provided to the young nation a sense of pride, dignity and honor for which it desperately needed in its infancy. Hypocritical, manipulative and subtle are the descriptors of Thomas Jefferson who was, according Morgan perhaps the best literary talent in American History. Together these three men make up, as Morgan brilliantly demonstrates, the perfect founder.
The Meaning of Independence provides tremendous insight into how the personal traits and quirky behaviors of the three Founders impacted the major contributions to the establishment of our nation and the fulfillment of its future. One area that perhaps Edmund S. Morgan could have woven into his analysis is the common conviction these men had with the promotion of educational system in the United States. There are brief mentions of it here and there but no strong development of it really transpires. All three men were profound advocates for education in the country; considering it the true safe guard to keeping and maintaining a republic. Adams was a former school teacher, lawyer and Harvard graduate; Jefferson likewise was a lawyer, graduate of the College of William and Mary and founder of the first public university in the country; only Washington might be suspect in regards to this topic but if one recants his Farewell Address in 1796 one will find mention of the necessity for strong public education system. All in all, this book is a must read for any student in the realm of United States History if only so that the human side of these three symbols of our nation’s history of better understood.