Sex and the Founding Fathers: The American Quest for a Relatable Past

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Temple University Press, 2016 M10 17 - 232 pages

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.

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User Review  - DoingDewey - LibraryThing

Sex and the Founding Fathers does not directly deal with sex and the founding fathers, as you might expect. Instead the author examines how people have remembered the founding fathers and their sex ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - writerbeverly - LibraryThing

Titillating title, coquettish cover, and yet, as I read on, my enthusiasm became, well, rather flaccid. I loved the idea of this book, and the reason for it: "Unlike contemporary sex-scandalized ... Read full review

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About the author (2016)

Thomas A. Foster is Associate 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, the most recent being Documenting Intimate Matters: Primary Sources for a History of Sexuality in America.

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