An illuminating financial history of the Founding Fathers, revealing how their personal finances shaped the Constitution and the new nation

In 1776, upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers concluded America’s most consequential document with a curious note, pledging “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Lives and honor did indeed hang in the balance, yet just what were their fortunes? How much did the Founders stand to gain or lose through independence? And what lingering consequences did their respective financial stakes have on liberty, justice, and the fate of the fledgling United States of America?

In this landmark account, historian Willard Sterne Randall investigates the private financial affairs of the Founders, illuminating like never before how and why the Revolution came about. The Founders’ Fortunes uncovers how these leaders waged war, crafted a constitution, and forged a new nation influenced in part by their own financial interests. In an era where these very issues have become daily national questions, the result is a remarkable and insightful new understanding of our nation’s bedrock values.
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