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Why did Ellis call them "founding brothers" instead of "founding fathers"?

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emilycas | Teacher

Posted July 15, 2012 at 10:28 PM via web

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Why did Ellis call them "founding brothers" instead of "founding fathers"?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 16, 2012 at 4:42 AM (Answer #1)

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For Ellis, the idea of calling the new leaders of the new nation "brothers" helps to convey the sense of connection and shared experiences that these individuals shared. Fatherhood does not convey this connection as much as brotherhood does. Ellis believes that this particular group was Revolutionary because they held a certain esteem for one another and revered the bond between one another, an experience that transcended political reality.  It is for this reason that Ellis argues that they were perfectly equipped to handle the challenges of rebelling against England and forming a new nation.  These "brothers" understood political differences not to be personal ones.  Ellis suggests that such connection between one another helped to enhance the idea that character was essential in order for the public to accept the legitimacy of the new government.  They were "brothers" because they understood that while intensity of political issues can divide them, it cannot divide the nation.  When Jefferson invites a feuding Hamilton and Madison to his home for dinner to work out disagreements, it is akin to an older brother moving to bring consensus to arguing siblings.  It is in examples such as this one where Ellis' term of "brother" becomes poignant and emotionally heroic to describe the men who are credited with founding the nation.

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