Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 73 x 60.5 cm (28 3/4 x 23 13/16 in). National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Athenaeum portrait. Oil on canvas.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; height: 42.55 cm (16.75 in), width: 32.39 cm (12.75 in) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, RI.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 30 x 25 in. (76.2 x 63.5 cm). Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, MA.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 895 x 698 mm. Tate, London, England.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 35 1/2 in. x 27 1/2 in. (902 mm x 699 mm). National Portrait Gallery, London, England.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 26 1/2 in. x 22 1/4 in. (673 mm x 565 mm). National Portrait Gallery, London, England.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 91.6 x 76.4 cm (36 1/16 x 30 1/16 in.) National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian), Washington, DC.

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.

Gordon S. Wood
The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States (2011)