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Founding Longevity

"You and I ought not to die, before we have explained ourselves to each other," John Adams wrote Thomas Jefferson in July 1813.1 Both would live for nearly another 13 years. Many of the Founders' minds outlived their deteriorating bodies. Sometimes the cure for their ailments was worse than the disease. Historian Stacy Schiff wrote that Benjamin Franklin's "psoriasis was as tenacious as it was troublesome. Boils covered every part of his body and left his linens spotted with blood. Franklin experimented with pills until his gums began to weaken; after three teeth fell out he discontinued the medication altogether." Mercury pills were probably the cause of his dental problems.2

Franklin's final years were a misery of kidney stones and gout that gave him excruciating pain when he traveled.3 The stones debilitated him at a key point in the Paris negotiations to end the American Revolution. His participation in the Constitutional Convention in 1787 was made possible by generous doses of laudanum, which also put him to sleep. Franklin attributed part of his health problems while in France to the press of public business - which kept him from the annual vacations he thought were necessary to his health. Franklin had long been a strong proponent of exercise - especially swimming. Even in his early 80s, he claimed to exercise with dumbbells. He liked his wine but was critical of the use of tobacco and predicted it would fall into disuse.4 Several of the Founders had their health peculiarities. Franklin, for example, believed in fresh air baths in the nude. Jefferson belief in soaking his feet in cold water every morning.

Sickness and death were an ever-present harsh part of colonial life. When Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, arrived in Philadelphia from England in 1774, he was too ill to get off the boat. Historian Forrest McDonald wrote: "Survival itself, in fact, was never far from conscious thought among eighteenth-century Americans, for death was their constant companion. Death at birth or in early infancy took four children in ten, and smallpox, cholera, and tropical fevers periodically ravaged the adult population."5 James Monroe and his wife lost a baby to whooping cough. Franklin lost his beloved son "Frankie" to small pox at age four. Thomas Jefferson lost three daughters and a son before they reached their third year. Jefferson's beloved wife Martha died in 1782, a few months after giving birth to a daughter who herself would die in 1785. Of the six children of Albert and Hannah Gallatin, only three survived childhood. Abigail Adams gave birth to six children, one of whom was stillborn and second lived only 13 months. George Washington himself had no children, but he lost his beloved stepdaughter "Patsy" to epilepsy at age 17. His stepson "Jacky" would survive childhood only to fall victim to "camp fever" at age 26.

The early death of some of John Marshall's children drove his wife into physical and mental disability. Jean Edward Smith, biographer of the great chief justice of the Supreme Court, wrote: "As the years passed, Polly showed little improvement. Her extreme nervousness was compounded by anemia, and she suffered from spells of severe weakness. In 1816 Marshall wrote to his brother Louis that 'My wife continues in wretched health. Her nervous system is so affected that she cannot sit in a room while a person walks across the floor. I am now preparing to convey her out of town in order to escape the noisy rejoicing of the [Christmas] season which is now approaching.' Grandchildren reported that when Marshall entered the house, he would always take off his shoes at the door and put on his slippers to avoid making any noise that would disturb Polly. When the chief justice hosted his famous lawyers' dinners each fall and winter, his wife was carried across the street to the home of her sister, Eliza Carrington. She withdrew from society and lived out the remainder of her years in isolation, lovingly cared for by her husband."6

Death shadowed the Founders from childhood . At 19, George Washington's life was threatened by small-pox - shortly before his older half-brother died of tuberculosis. The nation's future president recovered from the small pox that he caught in Barbados in 1751, but the disease left pock-marks on his face. Washington himself was often ill with malaria and dysentery and perhaps pneumonia and tuberculosis as well. He was particularly unwell in the spring of 1757 when he endured "stiches & violent Pleuretick Pains" and was sick for the rest of the year."7 Washington suffered for decades from dental afflictions. By his presidency, he had lost virtually all his teeth and his false teeth never fit well. Washington's teenage stepdaughter died after an epileptic seizure. Washington's stepson died of camp fever shortly after entering the Revolutionary Army and just after the War's climatic battle at Yorktown in 1781.

Washington's health history made him particularly sensitive to the impact of smallpox. In February 1777, he wrote: "The impossibility of keeping the small-pox from spreading through the army in the natural way, has determined us, upon the most mature deliberation, to inoculate all the new troops that have not had this disorder."8 Inoculation for small pox was almost necessary for American victory as French military assistance. Even Martha Washington had herself inoculated with small pox in Philadelphia so that she could safely remain with her husband in winter encampments. Such inoculation was illegal in the Washingtons' home state of Virginia. When future Supreme Court Justice John Marshall decided to get inoculated in 1780, he walked from Virginia to Philadelphia to get it.

Historian John E. Ferling noted: "Washington was aware of the health hazards that accompanied his job, and he sought to protect himself through daily exercise. Each morning, rain or shine, he rode fifteen miles, a trek that consumed about forty-five minutes to an hour."9
Despite his generally robust health, Washington repeatedly faced health crises. At the end of the French and Indian War, Washington was seriously ill. As commanding general of the Continental Army, George Washington had to cope with two war fronts - one a particularly deadly one was the disease: "...the American Revolution occurred within a virulent smallpox epidemic of continental scope that claimed about 100,000 lives," noted historian Joseph J. Ellis. Washington's earlier bout with small pox gave him an immunity that most soldiers lacked. "At any point in time, between one-fourth and one-fifth of Washington's army at Cambridge was unfit for duty, the majority down with smallpox." According to Ellis, "A compelling case can be made that his swift response to the smallpox epidemic and to a policy of inoculation was the most important strategic decision of his military career."10

Washington's health as the American commander during the Revolutionary War was remarkably good, but shortly before the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he wrote: "I have, of late been so much afflicted with a rheumatic complaint in my shoulder that at times I am hardly able to raise my hand to my head, or turn myself in bed."11 As President, Washington gave his countrymen several serious medical scares. Anthrax led to a tumor on his thigh in 1789 that had to be excised without benefit of an anesthetic - and caused him to be confined to bed for a month and a half. Historian John E. Ferling wrote: "While his doctors debated what steps to take, Cherry Street was blocked to traffic to spare the president its distressing noise. Then suddenly, the growth abscessed and the doctor lanced and drained the lesion."12 Washington told David Humphreys, an erstwhile military subordinate: "I know it is very doubtful whether ever I shall arise from this bed and God knows it is perfectly indifferent to me whether I do or not."13 The former officer responded: "If, Sir, it is indifferent to you, it far from being so to your friends and your Country. For they believe it has still great need of your services."14 It was weeks before President Washington recovered his full strength. The next spring he almost died from pneumonia. These presidential health crises scared everyone in the nation's capital and threatened to kill the new republic.

"The near death of Washington from pneumonia in May 1790 brought a mushrooming of fantasies about the succession. Jefferson, already suffering with migraine when he learned of the gravity of the illness, wrote his daughter a letter which showed he was following every clinical detail with concentration as well as dread," wrote Jefferson biographer Fawn M. Brodie.15 During the American Revolution, Jefferson frequently had to return to his Virginia home to help his sick wife, who finally died shortly after childbirth. Jefferson himself was often debilitated by migraines and other ailments. Historian Walter A. McDougall wrote that Jefferson "often claim[ed] illness to avoid public debate."16 In 1781, Jefferson broke his wrist in a fall from his horse. Four decades later in 1822, Jefferson again fell and broke his arm. As President, however, he developed recurrent diarrhea. He conducted experiments to determine the impact of fish on his symptoms. He referred his case to a fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush.17 Diarrhea and migraines were recurring problems for Jefferson. He was particularly affected by migraines in May and June, 1790, when the federal assumption of state debts was being debated in the House of Representatives. Biographer Henry Stephens Randall wrote: "During most of the month of May, Mr. Jefferson was too ill to attend to much business, from the effect of a malady somewhat peculiar to him-a headache, occurring only at considerable intervals, but when it did occur, lasting for a number of days, and with such violence that it produced nearly as much prostration as a severe fit of sickness. Over exertion and the want of rest rendered the present attack a very protracted one, and its debilitating effects did not entirely disappear before July."18

In the spring of 1791, Jefferson sought physical and political renewal by taking a vacation through New York and New England with neighbor and friend James Madison In 1795, Jefferson wrote John Adams: "My health has entirely broken down in the last eight months."19 Vice President Jefferson had a health scare during the 1800 presidential election when newspapers reported rumors of his death. "I have never enjoyed better and more uninterrupted health," Jefferson wrote Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours. "I am much indebted to my enemies for proving by their recitals of my death, that I have friends."20 Writing of Jefferson in 1808, William G. Hyland and William G. Hyland, Jr. wrote that "he was a frail sixty-four years old, suffering from excruciating migraine headaches, debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, diarrhea, and numerous intestinal infections."21

For decades, John Adams' health was often precarious and his various ailments increased along with his hypochondria. Adams biographer James Grant wrote: "Even if he were not the victim of a hyperactive thyroid gland, he would have been justified in worrying. An eighteenth-century hypochondriac was not necessarily deluded."22 Adams had to take several months off as President to nurse his wife back to health - during a major diplomatic crisis. His alcoholic son Charles died of dissipation before he left office in 1801 Wife Abigail shared with Thomas Jefferson a propensity for migraine headaches and suffered with rheumatoid arthritis by the time John became president. Writing her husband in January 1789, Abigail noted that her health "is better than the last winter tho very few days pass in which I can say I feel really well."23

Historian Jay Winik noted of Adams: "Over the years, he was beset by constant headaches, fatigues, chest pains, visual impairment, night sweats insomnia, hear palpitations, 'quivering fingers,' pyorrhea, skin eruptions and aching joints, memory loss and acute anxiety, melancholy, colds so severe that he thought had yellow fever, possibly a goiter, and perhaps even Graves' disease."24 Adams had suffered from a near-fatal illness while serving as a diplomat in Europe in 1781. Historian John Ferling concluded that Adams probably suffered from thyrotoxicosis - which almost killed him in both 1771 and 1781. While serving in the Second Continental Congress in 1755, Adams wrote: "I am always unwell." Among his problems were that his eyes were "so weak and dim that I can neither read, write, or see without great Pain."25

John Jay, the nation's second foreign secretary and first chief justice of the Supreme Court, was sick at critical historical periods with the flu or other ailments. At the beginning of the peace negotiations in Paris in 1782, Jay was confined to bed for three weeks by a flu epidemic.26 Jay's doctor remarked Jay and his wife were the most "severely attack'd" of all the flu patients he had observed. Historian Thomas Fleming noted that the illness appeared to leave Jay depressed and irritable in a way that had a major impact on relations with the French and British.27 Years later, Jay wrote four articles for the Federalist Papers organized by Alexander Hamilton but Jay was sidelined by rheumatism and failed to contribute more. After two terms as governor of New York, Jay refused President Adams's request to return to his old job as chief justice. He responded that "the Incompetency of my Health to the fatigues incident to the office, forms an insuperable objection to my accepting it."28

Jay's successor as chief justice, Connecticut's Oliver Ellsworth, fell grievously ill on the way to diplomatic negotiations in France 1799 and resigned before he returned home. "Sufferings at sea and by a winter's journey through Spain, gave me an obstinate gravel, which, by wounding the kidneys, has drawn and fixed may wandering gout to those parts. My pains are constant, and at times excruciating; they do not permit me to embark for America at this late season of the year, nor, if there, would they permit me to discharge my official duties. I have, therefore, sent my resignation of the office of chief justice, and shall, after spending a few weeks in England, retire for winter-quarters to the south of France."29 His physician refused to allow Ellsworth to make an uncomfortable winter voyage back from England to America. Ellsworth instead was ordered to Bath for benefits of the mineral water spa there.30 Fortunately for the country, successor John Marshall enjoyed more robust health.

Most of the major figures of the Washington Administration escaped the Yellow Fever epidemic that devastated Philadelphia in the summer of 1793, killing about 4000 residents, and leaving Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton dangerously ill. As many as one in five Philadelphia residents died of yellow fever that probably had been imported from the island of Hispaniola. Hamilton's biographer John Miller wrote: "Near the waterfront - particularly on Water Street, a narrow, filthy lane bordered by houses and high banks - the stagnant pools of water furnished a luxuriant breeding ground for mosquitoes. At the same time, hundreds of refugees were pouring into Philadelphia from San Domingo, where a slave uprising was running its bloody course. The refugee ships probably brought the yellow-fever virus to Philadelphia, and the mosquitoes took over from there."31 Only cold weather in October broke the fever and the mortality rate. Hamilton himself finally left the city to recover - though like most refugees from the city he did not encounter much brotherly love as a health refugee.

Alexander Hamilton had kidney problems and a variety of other illnesses that regularly confined him to bed during and after the American Revolution. "Early in the war he who was never robust contracted a malarial infection from which he suffered every summer throughout his life. His correspondence is sprinkled throughout with references to his health," wrote historian Claude Bowers. "While in no sense an invalid, the magnitude and multiplicity of his labors despite a chronic physical disability measure the power of mind over matter and indicate something of his unyielding will."32 Hamilton's eldest son died in a tragic duel on November 23, 1801 - foreshadowing Hamilton's own demise after a duel on July 11, 1804. (Hamilton died three days after his confrontation with former Vice President Aaron Burr.) Alexander's daughter suffered a permanent mental breakdown as a result of her brother's death. Hamilton's wife Elizabeth, however, lived until 1854 when she died at age 97.

James Madison, the father of the Bill of Rights, usually appeared and often was sickly. He nearly studied himself to death as a Princeton undergraduate and his weight probably never went much above 100 lbs. Neither he nor his contemporaries thought he would long survive. When Madison took over as secretary of state in 1801, he suffered from one of his periodic bouts of "bilious fever."33 In June 1813 in the midst of the War of 1812, Madison fell sick and almost died. Two weeks after Madison fell sick, Secretary of State James Monroe wrote that Madison's "fever "perhaps never left him, even for an hour, and occasionally symptoms have been unfavorable." By early July, Madison had begun to recover. John Adams commented that based on his own tenure in the office, he feared that the job might be "too much for any but the most robust constitutions."34 Madison's arthritis worsened after 1830: "My stiffening fingers make smaller letters, as my feet take shorter steps; the progress in both cases being at the same time more fatiguing as well as more slow," he wrote. 35

But despite these and other afflictions, the American Founders shouldered on - enduring pitched battles, winter encampments, harried crossings of the Atlantic, and the fevers that arose in Philadelphia and Washington. It was no wonder that Franklin, Jefferson, Adams and John Jay enjoyed their foreign postings to London and Paris in the 1780s. Life in America was often daunting. But Europe could also be hazardous to the Founders' health. During key negotiations on the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, American negotiator James Monroe was laid up with a back problem that required him to lay on the sofa. Monroe had almost been killed at the Battle of Trenton on December 25, 1776.36

The leading Founders were survivors. They didn't die in infancy or battle. In an age when reaching 50 was a ripe old age, many of the leading Founders defied the actuarial tables. Over course of time, age took its toll on the Founders who lived into their 70s and 80s. But many of them had conditioned themselves through exercise. Washington regularly went for a morning horseback ride. Jefferson took his in the afternoon. At 70, John Marshall wrote to his wife: "I get up as early as ever, take my walk of three miles by seven, think of you, & then set down to business."37 Six years later at 76, Marshall wrote his son that his health had improved: "I strengthen considerably, and am able, without fatigue, to walk to court, a distance of two miles, and return to dinner. At first this exercise was attended with some difficulty, but I feel no inconvenience from it now."38 The chief justice continued to walk for about two miles until just days before his death in 1835.

Some Founders had less opportunity for exercise. Their appetite for food and land got the better of them. Robert Morris, who superintended the country's finances during the American Revolution, was overly ambitious in his financial activities and went to jail in 1798 owing $3 million at age 64 where he remained for more than three years. He lived until age 73. Supreme Court Justice James Wilson had similar financial troubles. Wilson's excessive land speculation in Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania landed him in jail in New Jersey in 1797. When he was released, he went south to ride the judicial circuit. One fellow justice wrote home in February 1798: "Judge Wilson is in North Carolina, and in such a bad state of health as to render it unsafe for him to travel." There, Wilson was again arrested in the spring 1798. On release, he sought refuge in home of another Supreme Court justice to avoid his Pennsylvania creditors. There, he died of malaria at age 56. Washington's first secretary of War, Henry Knox, worried about his the indebtedness caused by his land purchases. Anxiety may have impeded his ability to exercise and contributed to his increasing girth.

Benjamin Franklin's life spanned most of the 18th century - from 1706 to 1790. At 81, he attended the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Although his constitutional ideas were generally rejected, his corporal presence lent the proceedings a credibility they might not otherwise have had. Historian Joseph Ellis noted that Franklin "had been a fixture on the American scene for so long and had outlived so many contemporaries - he had once traded anecdotes with Cotton Mather and was a contemporary of Jonathan Edwards - that reports of his imminent departure lacked credibility; his last act seemed destined to go on forever; he was an American immortal."39 Attendance at the Convention may have helped Franklin's health, but the final two years of his life were spent in great pain. Biographer Alfred Owen Aldridge wrote: "By June 1789, the pain of the stone had become so extreme that he was forced to take opium to relieve it. The drug gave him temporary ease but took away his appetite and interfered with his digestion. In September he described himself as 'totally emaciated' with little remaining 'but a Skeleton covered with a Skin.' He had completely abandoned faith in any remedy for the stone but had established himself in the 'palliating system' which made life 'at least tolerable.'" Franklin told James Madison, who cautioned him about his use of opium, that "he had no other remedy; and thought the best terms he could make with his complaint was to give up a part of his remaining life, for the greater ease of the rest."40 By this time, Franklin probably had reason to repent of a moment of pessimism in which Franklin wrote Dr. John Fothergill in 1764: "Disease was intended as the punishment of intemperance, sloth, and other vices, and the example of that punishment was intended to promote and strengthen the opposite virtues."41

In September 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote President Washington: "For my own personal Ease, I should have died two years ago; but tho' those Years have been spent in excruciating Pain, I am pleas'd that I have liv'd them, since they have brought me to see our present situation. I am now finishing my 84th year and probably with it my career in this Life; but in what ever State of Existence I am plac'd hereafter, if I retain any Memory of what has pass'd here, I shall with it retain the Esteem, Respect, and Affection with which I have long been, my dear Friend, Yours most sincerely..."42 In his will, Franklin wrote: "My fine crab-tree walking-stick, with a gold head curiously wrought in the form of the cap of liberty, I give to my friend, and the friend of mankind, General Washington. If it were a Scepter, he has merited it, and would become it."43

George Washington presided over those Constitutional Convention proceedings as well as the first eight years of his country's new government. He recovered from a dangerous bout with the flu that struck New York in 1790 and panicked the nation - dying prematurely nine years later at 67. His death in December 1799 was undoubtedly hastened by incompetent medical treatment, but in truth Washington had outlived his own life expectancy. Biographer Willard Sterne Randall wrote that Washington's "obsession with the ages of dead antecedents gave George a gloomy diffident manner. Of his eight siblings, two died in infancy and six between the ages of thirteen and sixty-four....But all the illness, death, and dying seemed to have some good side effects on Washington. From his boyhood he grew in patience, self-control, courage, and determination."44

Two other pillars of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, - lived until death overtook them both on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration, July 4, 1826. Jefferson was 83 and Adams was 91. Their friendship in their twilight years helped burnish their political reputations. In the 1790s and early 1800s, Jefferson had a justified reputation for backstabbing and Adams had an undeniable tendency to be a grumpy old man. Their correspondence sanded over the rough edges over their earlier differences. Historian Andrew Burstein wrote that Jefferson retained a perfect, passionate sense of order, method, and control to the very end...As the day of national jubilee neared and the bedridden patriarch lay dying, he called in his grandchildren, one by one, and pronounced parting advice for them."45 Longevity was not easy. The Revolution was an act of will - just the delayed deaths of Adams and Jefferson were. "Although Adams and Jefferson were ready to die, each longed to live to the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1826. Each made it by sheer willpower," wrote historian John Ferling.46

Jefferson wrote: "Man, like the fruit he eats, has his period of ripeness. Like that, too, if he continues longer hanging to the stem, it is but an useless and unsightly appendange."47 Six months before his death, John Adams wrote Jefferson: "I am certainly very near the end of my life. I am far from trifling with the idea of Death which is a great and solemn event. But I contemplate it without terror or dismay, 'aut transit, aut finit,' if finit, which I cannot believe, and do not believe, there is then an end of all but I shall never know it, and why should I dread it, which I do not; if transit I shall ever be under the same constitution and administration of Government in the Universe, and I am not afraid to trust and confide in it."48

Jefferson' neighbor and protegé, James Madison, bared lively through his teenage years and nearly died of overwork before he reached 20. He was often described as "sickly" and "emaciated." As a Princeton student, he wrote that "my sensations of many months past have intimated to me not to expect a long or healthy life."49 Madison, however, lived to be 85 - outliving his more robust neighbor and mentor, Thomas Jefferson, and most of the Revolutionary generation. He suffered in comparison with his larger Virginian predecessors. His sickly and shriveled appearance hardly helped boost the appearance of leadership during the dark days of the War of 1812. Five years before his death, Madison observed: "Having outlived so many of my contemporaries, I ought not to forget that I may thought to have outlived myself."50 Madison was 78, James Monroe was 71, and John Marshall was 74 when the three aging Founders participated in the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829.

Alexander Hamilton, Madison's collaborator on the Federalist papers and antagonist in the Washington Administration, might have lived a similarly long time had he not been shot in a deadly duel with Aaron Burr in 1804. The other great Treasury Secretary of that generation, Albert Gallatin, lived until 88. He served for 13 years as America's secretary of the Treasury - also serving in Congress as well as U.S. Minister to France and England. In his 80s, he was still active as a writer and intellectual. At 83 as president of the New-York Historical Society, he delivered a stinging attack on annexation of Texas and its implications for the spread of slavery and a future war with Mexico. Gallatin's wife Hannah predeceased him by only a few months. She died the same year as her friend Dolley Madison, who lived to 80. For the last two decades, she suffered from ophthalmia. Most remarkable of all, John Marshall, who served as a congressman and secretary of state, sat for over 34 years as chief Justice of the Supreme Court. When he died at 80, he was still very much the leader of the court and still walked a four-mile round trip to his wife's grave site at least twice a week and shamed other Washington leaders by walking to and from the court each day. Marshall lived long enough to revive his friendship with James Monroe, with whom he had gone to school as a teenager. Biographer Leonard Baker wrote: "They remained friends for many years, during the excitement of the American Revolution and the turbulence of the following years under the Articles of Confederation. Their friendship cooled in the first years after the United States Constitution was adopted, as Monroe became a follower of the Jeffersonian Republicans, adamant opponents of John Marshall's federalism. Then again in their later years, when age had mellowed animosities and given them the perspective to choose what they could enjoy, their friendship was rekindled."51 Marshall outlived Monroe, who had died on July 4, 1831, by four years. Marshall expired on July 6, 1835. Madison had died June 23, 1836 at 85.

Their legacy would outlive all of them.

  1. David McCullogh, John Adams, p. 607 (Letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson July 15, 1813).
  2. Stacy Schiff, A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America, p. 90.
  3. Edmund S. Morgan, Benjamin Franklin, p. 245.
  4. Alfred Owen Aldridge, Benjamin Franklin: Philosopher and Man, p. 389, 381.
  5. Forrest McDonald, The Presidency of George Washington, p. 8.
  6. Jean Edward Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation, p. 376.
  7. John Ferling, The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon, p. 41.
  8. Worthington Chauncey Ford, editor, The Writings of George Washington, Volume V, p. 229 (Letter to Jonathan Trumbull, February 10, 1777).
  9. John E. Ferling, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, p. 259.
  10. Joseph J. Ellis, His Excellency George Washington, p. 86-87.
  11. Garry Wills, Cincinnatus: George Washington and the Enlightenment, p. 151.
  12. John E. Ferling, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, p. 378.
  13. Peter R. Henriques, Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington, p. 189.
  14. Mary V. Thompson, "In the Hands of a Good Providence': Religion in the Life of George Washington, p. 114.
  15. Fawn M. Brodie, Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History, p. 258.
  16. Walter A. McDougall, Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History,, 1585-1828, p. 244.
  17. Dumas Malone, Jefferson the President : First Term 1801-1805, p. 186.
  18. Henry Stephens Randall, The Life of Thomas Jefferson, Volume I, p. 612.
  19. William G. Hyland and William G. Hyland, Jr., In Defense of Thomas Jefferson: The Sally Hemings Sex Scandal, p. 61.
  20. Susan Dunn, Jefferson's Second Revolution: The Election Crisis of 1800 and the Triumph of Republicanism, p. 3.
  21. William Gl Hyland, William G. Hyland, Jr., In Defense of Thomas Jefferson: The Sally Hemings Sex Scandal, p. 61.
  22. James Grant, John Adams: Party of One, p. 89.
  23. John P. Kaminski, editor, Founders on the Founders, p. 11. (Letter from Abigal Adams to John Adams, January 7, 1789).
  24. Jay Winik, The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800, p. 510.
  25. John Ferling, Setting the World : Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution, p. 170.
  26. Walter Stahr, John Jay, p. 149.
  27. Thomas Fleming, The Perils of Peace, p. 219.
  28. Cliff Sloan and David McKean, The Great Decision: Jefferson, Adams, Marshall and the Battle for the Supreme Court, p. 36.
  29. John P. Kaminski, editor, Founders on the Founders, p. 11. (Letter from Oliver Ellsworth to Oliver Wolcott Jr, October 16, 1800).
  30. Cliff Sloan and David McKean, The Great Decision: Jefferson, Adams, Marshall and the Battle for the Supreme Court, p. 32.
  31. John C. Miller, Alexander Hamilton: Portrait in Paradox, p.379.
  32. Claude G. Bowers, Jefferson and Hamilton: The Struggle for Democracy in America, p. 40.
  33. Charles A. Cerami, Jefferson's Great Gamble, p. 29.
  34. Ralph Louis Ketcham, James Madison: A Biography, p. 561-562.
  35. Paul M. Zall, Dolley Madison, p. 69.
  36. By the time Monroe became president in 1817, noted biographer Harlow Giles Unger, his wife Elizabeth "suffered constantly from rheumatoid arthritis," headaches and a throat infection called "St. Anthony's Fire. Harlow Giles Unger, The Last Founding Father, p. 219, 323.
  37. John P. Kaminski, editor, Founders on the Founders, p. 11. (Letter from John Marshall to Mary W. Marshall, February 12, 1826).
  38. Allan Bowie Magruder, John Marshall, p. 260 (Letter from John Marshall to Edward Marshall, February 15, 1832).
  39. Joseph J. Ellis, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, p. 1096.
  40. Alfred Owen Aldridge, Benjamin Franklin: Philosopher and Man, p. 400.
  41. Alfred Owen Aldridge, Benjamin Franklin: Philosopher and Man, p. 169 (Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Dr. John Fothergill, March 14, 1764).
  42. Harrison Clark, All Cloudless Glory: The Life of George Washington, Volume II, p. 167 (Letter from Benjamin Franklin to George Washington, September 18, 1789).
  43. Edwin Robins, Benjamin Franklin, p. 343.
  44. Willard Sterne Randall, George Washington: A Life, p. 23.
  45. Andrew Burstein, Jefferson's Secrets: Death and Desire at Monticello, p. 12.
  46. John Ferling, Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution, p. 300.
  47. James F. Simon, What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States, p. 293 (Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Henry Dearborn, ).
  48. John P. Kaminski, editor, Founders on the Founders, p. 11 (Letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, January 14, 1826).
  49. Garry Wills, James Madison, p. 6.
  50. Drew R. McCoy, The Last of the Fathers: James Madison & the Republican Legacy, p. xi.
  51. Leonard Baker, John Marshall: A Life in Law, p. 293.

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