Cover for Revolutionary Prophecies
Revolutionary Prophecies
The Founders and America’s Future
Edited by Robert M. S. McDonald and Peter S. Onuf. Afterword by Joanne B. Freeman
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The America of the early republic was built on an experiment, a hopeful prophecy that would only be fulfilled if an enlightened people could find its way through its past and into a future. Americans recognized that its promises would only be fully redeemed at a future date. In Revolutionary Prophecies, renowned historians Robert M. S. McDonald and Peter S. Onuf summon a diverse cast of characters from the founding generation—all of whom, in different ways, reveal how their understanding of the past and present shaped hopes, ambitions, and anxieties for or about the future.

The essays in this wide-ranging volume explore the historical consciousness of Americans caught up in the Revolution and its aftermath. By focusing on how various individuals and groups envisioned their future, the contributors show that revolutionary Americans knew they were making choices that would redirect the "course of human events." Looking at prominent leaders such as Washington, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, Madison, and Monroe, as well as more common people, from backcountry rebels and American Indians to printer Isaiah Thomas, the authors illuminate the range and complexity of the ways in which men and women of the founding generation imagined their future—and made our history.

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