The Founding Fathers--Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, Madison. Subjects of seemingly infinite biographies, they are rarely allowed to speak to us in their own words. But it was their words that mattered most to them. As James Madison once wrote, "the biography of an author must be a history of his writings." Here, finally, these towering figures come together in one volume--in conversation with each other, and with us. The Founders were thinking revolutionaries--they read, questioned, debated, and, most of all, wrote. They theorized about government and political institutions; considered the problem of parties and factions; and reflected on religion and education. In this volume, eminent historian Susan Dunn brings together the Founders' most important letters, speeches, and essays and sets them in the context of their lives and times. Through their words, the Founders created the first democracy of the modern world. Their courage, imagination, and genius would never be surpassed. Here they are, in the present tense of their extraordinary lives. To truly understand them, this is where we must begin.