Tag: gouverneur morris

ACF Founders Series #3: John Marshall

 

Historian Richard Brookhiser returns to the podcast for our third conversation on a Founder–in this case, the man most responsible for the Supreme Court–John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice, a log cabin Federalist, a patriotic soldier in the Revolution and a very successful lawyer, who then served in all three branches of government. (You read that right: The first three CJs thought the job wasn’t worth it…) Mr. Brookhiser is just publishing his biography of Marshall, the last of the great Federalists, out the week after the election, so go order it, buy it, read it, and let everyone know! We’ve already covered two great Federalists — Hamilton and Gouverneur Morris — so by now we can show fairly well what it was like to be the first party in government in American history.

ACF Founders #2: Gouverneur Morris

 

The Founders series continues with Gouverneur Morris. Morris was a man who saw up close both the American and French Revolutions, who judged politics on both continents with a keen eye and no piety, and who conducted himself more generously than any other Founder. We owe Richard Brookhiser a debt of gratitude for bringing to modern audiences Gouverneur Morris’s incredibly charming and inspiring story. Morris faced physical and political dangers with great manliness, and at the same time was America’s most sophisticated aristocrat–he had all the vices we admire and none of the virtues which annoy us, to paraphrase Churchill. He was a patriot and dedicated much of his life to public service, but he also dedicated much of his life to business, making money, and about as much to enjoying the spending of it, often in the company of women to whom he wasn’t married. He was a Federalist, an adept of a strong national government with a strong executive, almost immune to idealism, and so a great match for Alexander Hamilton, the hero of our first conversation.