Charles Willson Peale, despite his devotion to the taxonomic and contemplative majesty of the natural world, nevertheless loved novelties and used all sorts of amusements to attract customers to his museum. He eventually resorted to hiring a popular musical performer who played five different instruments simultaneously, using all parts of his body. Following Peale’s death the museum passed into the enterprising hands of P. T. Barnum, becoming part of his traveling circus — a romantic ending for an Enlightenment institution.
Continental Army general — one of Washington’s best; 1726—1783.
Continental Army officer, lawyer, politician, Vice President under Thomas Jefferson; killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel; 1756—1836.
Soldier, politician, New York governor, vice president under Jefferson and Madison; 1739—1812.
Washington’s aide-de-camp, lawyer, contributor to the Federalist Papers, Secretary of the Treasury; 1755/1757—1804.
Lawyer, diplomat, Continental congressman, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; 1745—1829.
New York merchant, signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1716—78.
New York lawyer, politician, signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1746—1813.
Irish-born Continental Army general, formerly a British officer; 1738—75.
Merchant, financier; helped draft then stylized the Constitution; 1752—1816.
Author, revolutionary, political philosopher; 1737—1809.
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)