Gouverneur Morris: An Independent Life

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Yale University Press, Oct 1, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages

A plainspoken, racy patrician who distrusted democracy but opposed slavery and championed freedom for all minorities, an important player in the American Revolution, later an astute critic of the French Revolution, Gouverneur Morris remains an enigma among the founding generation. This comprehensive, engrossing biography tells his robust story, including his celebrated love affairs during his long stay in Europe.

Morris’s public record is astonishing. One of the leading figures of the Constitutional Convention, he put the Constitution in its final version, including its opening Preamble. As Washington’s first minister to Paris, he became America’s most effective representative in France. A successful, international entrepreneur, he understood the dynamics of commerce in the modern world. Frankly cosmopolitan, he embraced city life as a creative center of civilization and had a central role in the building of the Erie Canal and in laying out the urban grid plan of Manhattan.

William Howard Adams describes Morris’s many contributions, talents, sophistication, and wit, as well as his romantic liaisons, free habits, and free speech. He brings to life a fascinating man of great stature, a founding father who receives his due at last.

 

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Contents

PART II REVOLUTION
39
PART III NATIONAL AFFAIRS
93
PART IV EUROPE
169
PART V SETTLING DOWN
251
Notes
297
Bibliography
324
Index
335
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Adams has served as senior fellow of the Garden History Library at Dumbarton Oaks

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