By Gordon S. Wood. ISBN 1-59420-093-9. Copyright 2006. Hardcover with 321 pages including notes and index.
A series of studies of the lives of the founding fathers; men who took the matter of character very seriously. They were the first generation in history that was self-consciously self-made, men who understood the arc of lives, as of nations, as being one of moral progress. They saw themselves as comprising the world’s first true meritocracy, a natural aristocracy as opposed to the decadent Old World aristocracy of inherited wealth and station.