Gordon Wood published the book Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different in 2006. The author is a retired professor at (nybooks.com, n.p). Woods 1992 publication The Radicalism of the American Revolution worn a Pulitzer award (Kakuni, np). The renowned professor is an authority in American history. Revolutionary Characters studies Americas leadership with an emphasis in changes and the outcomes of such changes on current leadership perspective. Wood studys John Adams, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin leaderships with interest in identify the reasons why they succeeded in creating a revolution. The book identifies with Americas founding fathers as the most populous individuals in the nations history. Wood explores the relationship between the making of political democracy and capitalism. The book reviewed various influences in American politics as the author sought an understanding of the similarities between revolutionary leadership context and perspectives. The book exposed the very principles that made the founding fathers relevant figures in American politics as the limitations against the making of modern leadership revolutionary. The book emphasized on selfless values as the key ingredient in Americas development of democracy.
The book begins with a focus on civilization. Wood (13), reports that revolutionary leaders felt that the ultimate agenda was to sponsor evolution so that people would engage in socially ethical mannerisms. Knowledge and the sharing of skills were a crucial aspect in the making of a progressive nation. The idea of education was a leadership priority (Wood, 20). Thomas Jefferson shared the opinion that leadership should identify and nurture skill acquisition (Wood, 102). The book demonstrates that Americas founding fathers believed in moral values. The definition of ideal leadership is grounded in the moral values of an individual. Gentlemen were considered leadership as they were an embodiment of social harmony through the consolidation of admirable qualities such as transparency, humanitarianism, fairness, spirituality, and civilization (Wood, 15). Founders are considered ideal characters in leadership (Wood, 4). It addresses the relationships that were forged between nations in search of support and resources. George Washington was depicted as a strong believer in virtuous living through his interactions with business entities and the social excellence that emerged therein. George Washington despised corruption and sought wisdom during events that would have otherwise depicted him out of character. The individual transferred benefits from the canal share offer to an educational institution in the hope of eliminating the perception that he needed payments for his service to society (Wood, 44). Alexander Hamilton is portrayed as a believer in capitalism, a reserved advocate for democracy, and extreme opposition of corrupt dealings (Wood, 130). The author emphasized that founders believed in virtue by showing that they collaborated to stop the corrupt characters from occupying political office (Wood, 241). The book focuses on the 18 th century. The books discussions concern the founding of a nation (America), and such events occurred during the 18 th century (Wood, 4). The period discussed in the book is unique in that a relationship existed between morals and commerce, but virtue was a priority. The dealings of Hamilton are evidence that founders understood the need to build an expansive and dominant economy but believed that morality was a crucial center piece (Woods, 130). Such context is unique to that era since modern leadership prioritizes capitalism.
American soldier and founding president, George Washington was a sensation in the nations politics (Wood, 31). The socially reserved leader possessed unparalleled political skill. Washington led the revolutionary forces and gained respect as a hero figure in world politics (Wood, 32). The presidents reign was a period of leadership by virtue as democratic principles had not gained root (Wood, 33). Washington was not an embodiment of intellectual achievement yet he led wisely and in a manner reflective of a learned mind (Wood, 33). It is further revealed that the presidents leadership success was not a benefit of education in that Jefferson reported Washingtons abilities as less than intellectual normalcy (Wood, 33). The acclaimed farmer was a man of high reputation due to a genius character (Wood, 34). He was a man of distinguished moral character and a symbol of virtuous leadership. Washington was liberal and appreciated diversity without religious prejudice of any kind (Wood, 34). The president was distinguished from his fellow founders in responding to spiritual issues. Washington was selective with his words and refrained from any remarks that would identify him as aligned to a specific religion (Wood, 35). The founder believed that social behavior was the most important element of leadership. The leader demonstrated integrity through polite dealings with society. He advocated for decency and mutual respect of humanity. Washingtons etiquette developed through interaction with specific literature. The individual had copied from a book and practices decency values from the age of 16 (Wood, 35).
The book is a comprehensive documentation of 18 th century leadership in America. Gordon provides a detail account of the events that transformed the nation from an uncivilized society to it modern day advocacy for diversity and diplomacy. The arguments are based on facts and recollections of actual interactions between leaders and the public are included. However, the epilogue seems less relevant. The section interrupts the books culture as a documentation of celebrity government approaches. The epilogue addresses questions of political and journalist perspective rather than emphasizing on the quality of leadership.
In conclusion, Gordons book is an ideal text for use in studies concerning Americas revolutionary leaders and topics about the development of democracy. Gordon addresses the question What Made the Founders Different? by gathering information about documented leadership contact with intellectual characters and society. However, a researcher should consider limiting the reading experience to chapters one to eight which focus on leadership.
Kakutani, Michiko. "'Revolutionary Characters,' By Gordon S. Wood." Nytimes.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 Sept. 2017.
nybooks.com. "Gordon S. Wood." The New York Review of Books. N.p., 2017. Web. 14 Sept. 2017.
Wood, Gordon S. Revolutionary Characters: What Made The Founders Different. London: Penguin Books, 2006. Print.
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