The Founding Fathers Group discussion

Introduce Yourself

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message 1: by Lena (new)

Lena (Weathy) | 2 comments Mod
Hello everybody,
Please introduce yourselves!

message 2: by Wes (last edited Nov 15, 2009 10:36AM) (new)

Wes Kelley (weskelley) | 1 comments No one else has jumped out to introduce themselves, so I'll start.

I enjoy books on the Founding because I'm curious to learn what motivated these great men and women to take the bold steps they did. I believe that the American Revolution was not a revolution in the traditional sense of the word; rather, it was simply an attempt to preserve the rights and style of living that the colonies had enjoyed since they were originally settled. Therefore, our Founders were interested in preserving that which they came to realize was distinctly American.

I realize that the Founding Fathers were normal men just like me, but they do deserve to be heralded for their wisdom and strong character that enabled them to guide the formation of this country without falling into tyranny or anarchy. I doubt we would do so well today.

In closing, I think reading about the Founders provides just as much practical management advice as could be found in most business books, but the Founders also present us with noble examples of leadership. Leadership that truly changed the world.

message 3: by Bryan (last edited Nov 18, 2009 07:19AM) (new)

Bryan Craig I understand what you are talking about, Wes. I keep thinking how the FF would handle today. Would many go into public service or go to business?

message 4: by Jeff (new)

Jeff (JeffOtis) | 3 comments I am an attorney in Cambridge Massachusetts and am working on a biography of James Otis, the lawyer who gave a firey oration against the "writs of assistance" in 1761. John Adams stated "then and there the child of Independence was born." While I think this is an exaggeration, it is the first time Britain's authority was publicly challenged.
Otis also advocated equality for blacks and women.

He is an early proponent of the ”warrant clause” of the fourth amendment, as and such is given short shrift by Scalia et. al. who do not like this part of the fourth amendment. They want to limit the fourth amendment to its first “reasonableness” clause and eliminate the warrant clause for most cases

Otis was an early proponent of judicial review. Otis stated in his 1761 oration that "An act against the Constitution is void …. And if an act of Parliament should be [so:] made, it would be void. The executive Courts must pass such acts into disuse."

The James Otis topic was “assigned” to me by the late Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Edward Hennessey who founded the Massachusetts Journal of Legal History.

message 5: by Douglas (new)

Douglas (dougkotti) | 5 comments Jeff, that you are writing a biography of the great founder James Otis is exciting news. Those of us in the Founding Fathers Group are proud of you as a co-member for laboring to produce a very overdue treatise on this great American.

Like you, I share misgivings about the current Supreme Court's views on the warrant clause of the Fourth Amendment. Tragically, several of the Bill of Rights' guarantees of freedom have been eroded in recent years, except of course for the Second Amendment.

Did you clerk for Chief Justice Hennessey?

From one lawyer to another, how on earth do you find time to research and write a biography? I am very impressed.

Keep up the good work.

Doug in South Carolina

message 6: by Jeff (new)

Jeff (JeffOtis) | 3 comments Doug,

Thanks for your kind note and for your keen interest in early American history.

I am a legal services lawyer doing housing work.

In 1996 I was representing a group of low income artists living at the "Pianofactory" in the South End of Boston. The renovations had been funded with 1% government loans on the condition the apartments remain affordable. The landlord found a loophole after 20 years, pre-paid the mortgage and attempted to evict most of the 170 artists. We litigated, the landlord refused to mediate, and, after a major victory for us in the Boston Housing Court, the landlord finally relented.

We sat down at the table and the mediator was the retired Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Edward Hennessey who had founded the Massachusetts Journal of Legal History. I had had Gordon Wood as a teacher at Brown University, loved early American history and discussed history with Justice Hennessey before and after each mediation session.

After one session Justice Hennessey stated, "no one has written anything on James Otis recently." Then pointing his finger at me and looking at me with piercing eyes, said "you're writing something on Otis."

How could I refuse? I wrote an article on Otis in Justice Hennessey's Massachusetts Legal History in 1999 on James Otis. See Jeffrey W. Purcell, James Otis: "Flame of Fire" revolutionary opposing the Writs of Assistance and loyal British subject?, Massachusetts Legal History 5. (Annual 1999): p147-178. (appended).

I do my writing at lunch break at work, after my eight year old son Connor goes to bed and a few hours here and there on weekends. I have been doing research on this book for over five years. I am on a mission to know everything about Otis there is to know. I am just finishing the research and beginning to write. I will give you the reason for the "mission" in my next email.

Nice "chatting" with you.


PS I consider it one of my good fortunes in life to have met the late Chief Justice Hennessey--a brilliant and humble person.

message 7: by Jeff (new)

Jeff (JeffOtis) | 3 comments PPS I could not find a way to append my article, James Otis: "Flame of Fire" revolutionary opposing the Writs of Assistance and loyal British subject? Jeffrey W. Purcell. Massachusetts Legal History 5. (Annual 1999): p147-178.

Is there a way to do it?

message 8: by J.W. (new)

J.W. Nicklaus | 1 comments Hello all . . .

I'm no attorney, nor a constitutional scholar, but I am deeply troubled about the course our once great nation is taking.

I'm no blustery conservative, nor am I a hand-in-your-pants liberal--I'm pretty much down the middle, a registered independent who, if anything, leans every so slightly to the conservative side.

My interest in early American history has provided me a far more colorful perspective on pasts and current events, and I genuinely believe we have strayed afar from where the founding fathers set our course.

I blog about American history every so often, and just finished reading (and reviewing) The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers--you can find the review here if you'd like to read it. While at the blog, click in the tag cloud on "America" or "History" if you'd like to see what else I have to say.

message 9: by Cece (last edited Dec 28, 2010 10:13AM) (new)

Cece Hi everybody! I'm not an attourney or a scholar i'm a 7th grader who likes all revoulutonary history but i take a special liking to the founding fathers and their work.I'm 12 if anybody wants to know hold old i am but i understand a lot of adult things that other kids would necessaryily get.

Cece in Maryland

message 10: by Steve (new)

Steve Van Slyke (steve_van_slyke) Hola amigos, I'm a retired IT guy now living half the year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and the other half in Washington State. I just think the Founding Fathers were an amazing group of individuals. It was almost like a grand alignment of the planets that they all happened to live at the same time and place and have the depth of committment, knowledge and courage to do what they did. I think I've read at least one bio' on most of them. Dr. Benjamin Rush is one that I've not read about, and would probably find interesting because of his connections with both Adams and Jefferson. I learn more from reading comments in groups such as this one.

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