H. W. Brands, Dickson Allen Anderson Centennial Professor of History and Government at the University of Texas at Austin, discusses his book, The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (2000). He argues that Franklin as the first person in the British colonies in the 1770s to view himself as an American rather than an Englishman. He focuses particularly on how Franklin shaped his reputation in France to encourage that nation to support the Revolution.
Richard Brookhiser, senior editor at National Review, discusses his book, Alexander Hamilton, American. Brookhiser recounts Alexander Hamilton's great successes and tragic failures as Revolutionary, bovernment-shaper, financial genius, and American visionary. He explores Hamilton's impoverished upringing in the Caribbean and describes how Hamilton went on to give birth to American capitalism by developing the country's financial system.
Josiah Bunting III is president of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the author of Ulysses S. Grant (2004). In a series of three lectures, Josiah Bunting III examines the lives of George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and George C. Marshall and the ambivalent relationship between America’s citizens and its military establishment. In addition to their leadership qualities, all three men were students of military history and wrote prolifically on the topic. In the first lecture, he considers George Washington’s character as revealed in his generalship of the Continental Army and military strategy against the British.
Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia, Peter S. Onuf has written extensively on sectionalism, federalism, and political economy, with a particular emphasis on the political thought of Thomas Jefferson. In this lecture, he looks at Jefferson’s opinions about federal government.