Tag: Richard Brookhiser

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.

ACF Founders Series #1: Hamilton


Friends, I’m pleased to announce yet another series of the American Cinema Foundation movie podcasts. We usually talk about movies–now we’ll be talking about movies yet to be made: About the Founders. Friend of the show Richard Brookhiser has very kindly agreed to do a series of podcasts with me, following his admirable biographies of the Founders. We’re both persuaded by Shelley’s famous word, that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of mankind–and we’d rather some of this poetry deal with the most famous legislators themselves, the Founders. At the same time, America needs a Plutarch and Mr. Brookhiser is doing very well in that role. We start with the most controversial and splendid Founder, adventurous Hamilton, the immigrant patriot.

Thomas Cole, The Savage State


The joke about Americans is that they love nature almost as much as conquest of nature. This is the first of five posts on a five-painting series by Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire, that will address that joke. Thomas Cole famously founded the Hudson River School — named for the painters’ landscapes of the Hudson River Valley. They made large canvasses arranging and detailing the beauty of nature before man. As Locke says, in the beginning the whole world was America. The art is somewhat Romantic and the Hudson School thrived into the late 19th century, past Cole’s early death, because Americans loved it. They do so yet, and except for craft, it’s hard to say how the canvasses are any different to pictures or video of, say, the Grand Canyon. You’d have to argue about taste…