Summer Reading: The Most Important Founder You've Never Heard Of
Founding Federalist: The Life of Oliver Ellsworth is a brief, wonderfully readable biography of the most important American you've never heard of.
Ellsworth played a critical role at the constitutional convention, then served the new government as a member of the Senate, where he drafted the legislation that formed the federal judiciary, as President John Adams's ambassador to France, where he made peace with the post-revolutionary regime, and as the third chief justice of the Supreme Court.
He was a moderate, a conciliator, a principled man who often sought compromise....Ellsworth was a devout Calvinist....How was it that [he]...was able to assert the moderate view while his more secular-minded colleagues frequently opted for more contentious policy agendas?
Today, religion, often viewed as divisive, is considered an impediment to political compromise. Things were different at the founding....Ellsworth's theological convictions were often the very reason why he proved to be politically influential. His form of Calvinism provided a profound reason to seek broad compromises that protected the nation from external threats and internal strife. God's will, his particular creed told him, was to preserve America's harmony.
The author of this deeply-researched, beautifully-written volume: Michael Toth. Now clerking for U.S. District Court judge Ursula Ungaro in Miami, young Mr. Toth started work on the book while serving as a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps--the "Jag Corps"--as a U.S. Marine.
A really splendid book.
That's my summer recommendation--one of them, anyway. What're yours?