During the Revolutionary Period, and in the early days of the Union, Virginia was the nation’s most promising state. It produced a galaxy of America’s most important founders and statesmen: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, John Marshall, and many others. And yet, by the middle of the nineteenth century, Virginia had become little more than a byword for poverty, slavery, and economic stagnation. The decline was dramatic and startling. What happened? In Dominion of Memories, Susan Dunn chronicles the precipitous decline of America’s most promising state. A gloriously written tale of the Founding Fathers and their beloved state, Dominion of Memories offers in microcosm the story of how a nation founded with great hope in the Age of Revolution found itself marching inexorably towards civil war half a century later.
Susan Dunn is Professor of Humanities at Williams College. She is the author or editor of numerous books, including Something That Will Surprise the World: The Essential Writings of the Founding Fathers; and Jefferson’s Second Revolution: The Election Crisis of 1800 and the Triumph of Republicanism. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
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