Founding Fathers & Founding Brothers

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A&E Premiered Jan 01, 2008 Unknown

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  • Season 1 (6)
  • Evolution of a Revolution

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 6 - 4/14/08

    America's first truly contested presidential election took place in 1796, with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson vying to replace George Washington. In keeping with the standards of 18th-century American politics, neither man actively campaigned, and Jefferson even claimed not to know that he was a candidate. Adams's victory ended the long friendship between the two former revolutionaries, and while Jefferson served as Vice President, Adams never consulted him on political matters. Nor could Adams trust his cabinet; held over from Washington's administration in an attempt to provide continuity, these men took their orders from Alexander Hamilton. About the only advisor he could rely on was his wife, Abigail, and Founding Brothers reveals how she played a key role in the defining event of Adams's presidency, the passage of the hated Alien and Sedition Acts.moreless
  • A More Perfect Union

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 5 - 4/14/08

    Founding Brothers opens with a look at two of the many crises faced by George Washington during his term as America's first president. At a time when any conflict had the potential to dissolve the fragile union, Washington surrounded himself with brilliant men who were bound by their undying devotion to America, but often bitterly divided about how best to serve their common cause. At a secret meeting arranged by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison reached a critical compromise on their rival views for America's future. Just months before his death, Benjamin Franklin signed a petition calling for an end to slavery--forcing a reluctant Congress to confront the issue that would eventually divide the nation.moreless
  • You Say You Want a Revolution?

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 4 - 4/14/08

    By 1776, the rebels would finally make their fateful, final break with Britain. One of those advocating this extreme step was a young Virginia planter named Thomas Jefferson. A misogynist who suffered debilitating migraines, the man who penned the Declaration of Independence wrestled all his life with the contradiction of being a slave-owner himself. On the battlefield, the war did not get off to a promising start. George Washington failed miserably in his first campaigns, while Ben Franklin's own son was arrested for plotting to aid the enemy. But as the revolutionary army gained in experience and confidence -- and the French threw their considerable financial support into the fray -- the tide slowly but surely began to turn in the rebels' direction.moreless
  • A Healthy Constitution

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 3 - 4/14/08

    After the final defeat of British forces in Yorktown, the 13 colonies found themselves in a unique and frightening situation: building a new, democratic nation with no money, few allies and no blueprint of how to proceed. The revolution's savior would turn out to be the shy, studious James Madison, the father of the Constitution. Also vital to the new nation's survival was ensuring good ties with the friends it possessed. Sent to Paris to maintain vital ties with the French, Thomas Jefferson would engage in not one but two scandalous affairs: one with a married woman and one with his slave Sally Hemings. Back in the newly independent America, the revered George Washington would decline the title of "King" -- and become the first President of the grand social experiment that came to be the United States of America.moreless
  • Taking Liberties

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 2 - 4/14/08

    In the aftermath of heavy British tax levies and the shock of the Boston Massacre, the situation in the American colonies grew more incendiary. Helping to fan the flames was the eloquent orator Patrick Henry, who rose from backwoods obscurity to marry into money and make the first open "call to arms." Meanwhile, Benjamin Franklin, actually slow to join the colonists' cause, was in London -- desperately attempting to patch things up with King George. Across the Atlantic, George Washington, a retired soldier with a spotty military record, maneuvered for command of the rebel forces, while an alcoholic essay writer named Thomas Paine published "Common Sense," one of the period's most famous, and inflammatory, tracts.moreless
  • Rebels... With a Cause

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 1 - 4/14/08

    The birth of American democracy was attended by an extraordinary cast of characters, drawn from every level of colonial society. They brought to the cause of independence a dazzling array of talents and genius -- and an equally noteworthy range of personality flaws and defects. Sam Adams was a rumpled, pugnacious man who failed at a variety of professions, before finding his niche as a revolutionary with a knack for inciting mob violence. John Hancock, a wealthy, aristocratic merchant, was also a known wine-smuggler with a major economic stake in breaking away from Britain. But the unique chemistry of this political "odd couple" would prove pivotal, combining to spark the fires of resentment which until then had been merely smoldering within the colonies.moreless
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