American Cicero - The Life of Charles Carroll - by Bradley J. Birzer
Aristocrat. Catholic. Patriot. Founder. Before his death in 1832, Charles Carroll of Carrollton - the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence - was widely regarded as one of the most important founders. Today, Carroll's signal contributions to the American founding are overlooked, but in the fascinating new biography American Cicero, historian Bradley J. Birzer rescues Carroll from this unjust neglect. Born a bastard, Carroll became the best educated founder, a man of supreme intellect, imagination, and integrity. He recognized the necessity of American independence well before most other founders, brilliantly analyzed the situation in the run-up to the Revolution (though that analysis is now ignored by historians), inspired the creation of the U.S. Senate, and helped legitimize his religion, Roman Catholicism, in America.
In the fascinating new biography American Cicero, historian Bradley J. Birzer rescues Carroll from this unjust neglect. Drawing on his considerable archival research and study of Carroll’s extensive correspondence, Birzer shows how this man of supreme intellect, imagination, and integrity recognized the necessity of independence from Great Britain well before most other founders, advocated a proper understanding of the American Revolution as deeply rooted in the Western tradition, inspired the creation of the U.S. Senate, and helped legitimize his religion, Roman Catholicism, in the American republic.
Born a bastard, Carroll nevertheless became the best educated and wealthiest founder. His analysis of the situation in the colonies in the run-up to the Revolution, though ignored by almost all historians, was original and brilliant, Birzer shows. Carroll eventually served as one of the main informants for Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic work Democracy in America.
American Cicero reveals why founders such as John Adams assumed that Charles Carroll would one day be considered among the greats—and also why history has largely forgotten him.
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