Joanne Freeman Book Review Essay

Length: 3 pages Subject: Western Civilization  (general) Type: Essay Paper: #27153608 Related Topics: Politicians, Book, Novel, Scholarship
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … formation of America as a nation produced dozens of historical examinations with the intent to attempt to capture the spirit of America's founding fathers. Joanne Freeman produced a work within this vein taking a unique interpretation of an oversaturated subject. Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic offers a surprising fresh viewpoint on the interactions of America's founding fathers. In addition, Freeman also explores how these interactions aided in shaping the political setting. The book examines the role of honor within the early republic. How that idea fueled the choices made by the men that shaped that era. "This link between honor and politics, the personal and the political, gave early national political combat its passion and its sting, for it bound together a politician's personal character with his political principles and actions." (Freeman, p.261) By endeavoring to grasp the real intentions behind numerous founding fathers actions Joanne sought to flush out an accurate portrait of the founding fathers behind the myths.

The historical and background setting is split into Freeman's five distinct chapters analyzing a different facet of the part of honor within the early republic. Freeman starts her investigation with the close...

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It focused more on the interpersonal relationships established and how they influenced the legislature. Freeman records "his diary contains immediate reactions to unfolding events, capturing the emotion and contingency of the moment as only a personal testimonial can. It offers a window on the realities of being a national politician on a shaky and unstructured stage." (p.18) In order to increase his rapport among his constituents, he offered a view of the drama few witnessed in early nationwide politics as well as the role he desired to play in it. This was an excellent example early on of the kind of setting Freeman wished to pursue.

Historian Joanne Freeman undertakes decided to write such a portrayal of the early republic from the multifaceted lens of social reputation in order to invite the reader to understand things from a different perspective. Freeman acquaints the reader with the establishing generation via a social institution as bizarre and frequently unfamiliar to the contemporary American as slavery would be "honor." Freeman chooses to examine the social guidelines that ruled the founders themselves. Freeman separates and profiles not Hamilton or Burr, but the inner mechanisms of the existing…

Sources Used in Documents:

No more was this made clear than in Freeman's portrayal of George Washington. Aware that everyone within the new republic watched him for reassurance and guidance, Washington was very conscious of the image he projected onto the people. "It was a difficult role: somehow he had to embody the new government's dignity and authority without rising to monarchical excess." (p.43) Therefore, Washington went to excessive lengths in terms of self-presentation to harness control of his public image, not different from modern politicians. Freeman provides a great example in the suit, which Washington put on for his inauguration. The suit had to be created from plain American broadcloth that he improved with some ostentatious buttons and extras. This provides a great lesson for the reader in regards to U.S. History and its culture.

Joanne Freeman is a historian so this was written long after the events of the book took place. After Freeman examined the social customs the founding fathers had, she researched the "art of the paper war" that happened among individuals during this era for an assortment of insults and the result such clashes had in terms of the political body at the time. Elected officials used a variety of various kinds of print media to refute abuses thrown at their person. A good instance of this and a memorable quote was on page 112. That page covered 1809 and how John Adams spoke to the public to address the need to maintain America's neutrality.

The War Hawks scattered throughout Congress slammed the former president's unwillingness to defend the republic's honor pugnaciously attacking his status in local newspapers. With his honor tested, Adams rose to recover his reputation by writing a succession of letters defending his pacifist position in the Boston Patriot. This desire to destroy reputation reminds me of the time when Hatshepsut was pharaoh of Egypt and after her death, her name was erased from monuments throughout Egypt to destroy what she built. As this book features events from American history, it stands to provide future audiences with a unique perspective on something that is deeply embedded into America, and that is the life and times of the founding fathers.


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