Given that this chapter focuses so much on correspondence, what role does language play, both thematically and as an element of Ellis's historical narrative?
Throughout the book, Ellis has always pointed to writing style as a window onto the personalities and proclivities of the founders. In this chapter, he commits fully to this as the principle around which he organizes his larger point, which is that though Adams may have had a more nuanced, though potentially vain, view of revolutionary history, it is Jefferson's lyrically worded, deeply ideological, but ultimately over-simplified version of events that has prevailed in the popular consciousness. Ellis paints the...
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