The nation's founders disagreed about what kind of country America should become. In a recent talk, Andrew Shankman shed some light on the political, economic and constitutional ideas of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
"They all agreed that whatever the problem was that they felt they faced ... the only solution available to them to try and resolve it was an attempt to build a republic," Shankman said.
It seems like an obvious move today, but the Founding Fathers' generation understood that theirs was by no means the first to try making such a government, and the past efforts showed them that republics are doomed to fail.
Hamilton, Jefferson and Madison felt that the reason for these failures was because given freedom, citizens do not use their liberties wisely and begin to encroach on the rights of others, Shankman said.
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It was this looming chance of failure that made the Founding Fathers so charged and passionate about implementing the republic. It's also what made them so frustrated and angry when someone wasn't pursuing that future in the way they felt was right.
A Rutgers University history professor, Shankman spoke in St. Paul on Oct. 14, 2017 at the Minnesota Historical Society's "History Forum."
His newest book is, "Original Intents: Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison and the American Founding."
To listen to his speech, click the audio player above.
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