A Republic of Scoundrels: America’s original white men behaving badly

A new book explores the infamous and lesser-known members of America's founding generation who engaged in controversial acts and schemes.


Controversial Members of the Founding Generation

A new book titled 'A Republic of Scoundrels: the Schemers, Intriguers & Adventurers Who Created a New American Nation' examines 14 individuals from America's founding generation who were known for their controversial actions and schemes.

The book aims to provide a more nuanced view of this generation, moving away from the idealized portrayal of the founding fathers as American saints.

These individuals did not always uphold the ideals they are often associated with, and the book sheds light on their deceitful and cunning behaviors.

Infamous Names: Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr

While most are familiar with the stories of Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr, the book delves into lesser-known aspects of their lives.

For instance, after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, Burr went on to recruit frontiersmen for his own plans, including carving out an empire in the west or invading Spanish Mexico.

Similarly, Arnold, who committed treason by defecting to the British, felt under-appreciated despite his achievements and played a different role than what is commonly portrayed.

Uncovering Other Scoundrels

Aside from the infamous names, the book explores the lives of other scoundrels from the founding generation who were engaged in unethical activities.

James Wilkinson, a high-ranking general, was a paid agent for Spain while serving in the US army, keeping his allegiance hidden until after his death.

The book provides separate chapters for each protagonist, offering insights into their motivations and actions, ultimately contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of the founding generation and the early American republic.