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John Jay
John Jay: Founding Father
by Walter Stahr
Published by Hambleton & London
Distributed by Palgrave Macmillan
March 2005
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  • Book Review from (Originally Reviewed 8/12/05)
  • Table of Contents

  • Description from Hambledon & London:
    John Jay was a central figure in the early history of the American Republic. A New York lawyer, born in 1745, Jay served his country with the greatest distinction and was one of the most influential of its Founding Fathers. In the first full-length biography for almost seventy years. Walter Stahr brings Jay vividly to life, setting his astonishing career against the background of the American Revolution.

    Few men have served their country in such a range of senior positions. From 1774, when he was one of the youngest delegates to the first Continental Congress, until 1801, when he retired after six years as Governor of New York, Jay was constantly in the first rank of America's leaders. he was, in turn, President of the Continental Congress, American representative in Madrid, Paris and London, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Chief Justice of the United States and Governor of New York. With John Adams and Benjamin Franklin he negotiated the treaty that ended the war with Britain in 1784, and he later negotiated the first commercial treaty with Britain ("Jay's Treaty") in 1794. He played a key part in the development and ratification of the United States Constitution and was the trusted friend of all the American leaders of the day, including Washington, Franklin, Adams and Hamilton, who recognized his exceptional competence, reliability and integrity. A Slave owner himself, he was nevertheless an early exponent of the gradual abolition of slavery.

    Drawing on substantial new material, Walter Stahr has written a full and highly readable portrait of both the public and the private man. It is the story not only of John Jay himself, the most prominent native-born New Yorker of the eighteenth century, but also of his engaging and intelligent wife Sarah, who accompanied her husband on his wartime diplomati missions. This lively and compelling biography presents Jay in the light he deserves: as a major Founding Father, a true national hero and a leading architect of America's future.

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