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.
Talented Continental Army general who defected to the British; 1741—1801.
Lawyer, politician, writer, militia officer, signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1732—1808.
Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Rhode Island; 1727 - 1820.
Philadelphia printer, writer, scientist, inventor, signer of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat to France; 1706—90.
Continental Army general; key to winning the war in the South; 1742—86.
Boston merchant, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Massachusetts governor; 1737—93.
Continental Army general, chief artillery officer, first Secretary of War; 1750—1806.
French aristocrat, Continental Army officer, like a son to Washington; 1757—1834.
Soldier, lawyer, politician, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; 1755—1835.
Irish-born Continental Army general, formerly a British officer; 1738—75.
The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States (2011)