For our first live web chat for Affiliate Schools, Fordham University historian Saul Cornell joined Gilder Lehrman Institute President James Basker to discuss constitutional history and the modern-day implications of dissent in the early republic.
In 1807, Aaron Burr was tried and acquitted on charges of treason for his "adventures" in the American West, but he had fallen out of favor in American life long before, after he had run for president against Thomas Jefferson, served a single term as vice president, and shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel. A free spender, a womanizer, and the only Founding Father who was actually descended from the English aristocracy, Burr was famously secretive and conspiratorial. In this lecture, historian Gordon S. Wood, Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University, argues that Burr's true treason was not his actions in the West but his naked ambition and his lack of principles and character that made him a threat to the young republic.
Joseph J. Ellis, Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College, discusses his Pulitzer Prize–winning book Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, explains the emergence of the men who led the Revolutionary War and created the new nation, and delves into the four criticisms modern society lays at the door of the Founding Fathers.
James F. Simon, the Martin Professor of Law at New York Law School, traces the protracted conflicts between Thomas Jefferson and John Marshall, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, over the role of the US Supreme Court and the federal government.