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.
Philadelphia, PA — Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin and John Bartram to promote
Useful Knowledge.Philosophical Hall (1789) is now a museum featuring art, scientific instruments, rare books, original manuscripts, natural history specimens, and curiosities.
NJ — 26 December 1776 (Second Battle of Trenton, 2 January 1777).
Richmond, VA — Built in 1790, this Federal-style house was where the great Chief Justice lived for 45 years; during the war he was a first lieutenant; includes family furnishings and memorabilia.
Trenton, NJ — A 155-foot granite column that commemorates the 1776 Battle of Trenton; accessible by means of an elevator with good views of the capital of New Jersey.
The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States (2011)