America’s Founders: What We Know Now

Joanne Freeman – Yale University

They were ambitious. They were grouchy (especially John Adams). They were scared. They were hopeful. They told jokes (sometimes dirty ones.) They fought. They schemed. They gossiped. They slung a lot of mud. They occasionally killed each other (sorry, Alexander Hamilton.) They improvised. They made great big crashing mistakes. And above all, they were human. Only by seeing the Founders as human can we appreciate the full story of the nation’s founding with all of its drama, humor, and significance intact. This talk will explore what it felt like to be one of the nation’s founders, standing on the national stage, bringing an experimental government to life, and wondering what would happen next.