Mount Vernon welcomes author Thomas A. Foster to the Rubenstein Leadership Hall at The Fred W. Smith National Library to discuss his book Sex and the Founding Fathers, on February 12, 2015.

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About the Book

"Does it matter with whom and how often Washington, Hamilton, and Jefferson had sex? Apparently so, as this fascinating and erudite work demonstrates. Foster deftly documents historians’ intense efforts to portray the Founders as all up to heteronormative code, conjuring intense affairs—sometimes out of thin air—and downplaying problematic associations. Sex and the Founding Fathers is a must read for all who are interested in the founding era and the historiography of the period."
Annette Gordon-Reed, author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

Biographers, journalists, and satirists have long used the subject of sex to define the masculine character and political authority of America's Founding Fathers. Tracing these commentaries on the Revolutionary Era's major political figures in Sex and the Founding Fathers, Thomas Foster shows how continual attempts to reveal the true character of these men instead exposes much more about Americans and American culture than about the Founders themselves.

Sex and the Founding Fathers examines the remarkable and varied assessments of the intimate lives of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Gouverneur Morris from their own time to ours. Interpretations can change radically; consider how Jefferson has been variously idealized as a chaste widower, condemned as a child molester, and recently celebrated as a multicultural hero.

Foster considers the public and private images of these generally romanticized leaders to show how each generation uses them to reshape and reinforce American civic and national identity.

About the Author

Thomas A. Foster is a professor in the History Department at DePaul University. He is the author of Sex and the Eighteenth-Century Man: Massachusetts and the History of Sexuality in America and the editor of three books, most recently Documenting Intimate Matters: Primary Sources for a History of Sexuality in America.

Parking

Attendees should park in Mount Vernon visitor parking lots and enter the library campus via the pedestrian gate near the 4-way stop.

 

Mount Vernon has enjoyed a very special relationship with the Ford Motor Company dating back more than 90 years. We are grateful for their generous support and we applaud their abiding respect for American heritage.

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