Volume 21

A Great Statesman: Reclaiming Gouverneur Morris

by Melanie Randolph Miller

In these days of cynical disillusionment with many of our long-revered Founders, Gouverneur Morris has perhaps found his moment. For the past 200 years, his virtual exclusion from the historical picture and the denigration with which he continues to be characterized has flattened our perception of that period of American history. It is very gratifying to think this may be ending. It should end. Restoring Morris doesn’t just help complete the record, it enriches it in many ways: by his speeches in the Convention and later in the Senate, his truly extraordinary diary of the French Revolution, his letters, and the actual events of his life. His acute observations were made in a modern voice, and his political comments, whether humorous or agonized, were expressed with an eloquence that resonates today—sometimes very painfully. 


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