The Federalists of the 1780s had a glimpse of what America was to become — a scrambling business society dominated by the pecuniary interests of ordinary people — and they did not like what they saw. This premonition of America’s future lay behind their sense of crisis and their horrified hyperbolic rhetoric. The wholesale pursuits of private interest and private luxury were, they thought, undermining America’s capacity for republican government. They designed the Constitution in order to save American republicanism from the deadly effects of the private pursuits of happiness.
Lawyer, politician, writer, militia officer, signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1732—1808.
Philadelphia printer, writer, scientist, inventor, signer of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat to France; 1706—90.
Signer of the Declaration of Independence, “Financier of the Revolution”; 1734—1806.
Author, revolutionary, political philosopher; 1737—1809.
American painter, soldier; created first American museum; 1741—1827.
American painter, son of Charles Willson Peale; 1778—1860.
Philadelphia seamstress and upholsterer; 1752—1836.
Philadelphia doctor, signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1738—1820.
American sculptor; 1756—1833.
Continental Army general, surrendered Fort Ticonderoga to the British; 1737—1818.
The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States (2011)