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Book Talk: The Virginia Dynasty: Four Presidents and the Creation of the American Nation

Lynne V. Cheney, American Enterprise Institute; Allen C. Guelzo, Humanities Council and James Madison Program

December 15, 2020 · 4:30 pm5:30 pm · via Zoom

James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions

A conversation with Lynne V. Cheney on her new book, The Virginia Dynasty: Four Presidents and the Creation of the American Nation (Viking, 2020).

From a small expanse of land on the North American continent came four of the nation’s first five presidents — a geographic dynasty whose members led a revolution, created a nation, and ultimately changed the world. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were born, grew to manhood, and made their homes within a 60-mile circle east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Focusing on the intersecting roles these men played as warriors, intellectuals, and statesmen, Cheney takes us back to an exhilarating time when the Enlightenment opened new vistas for humankind. But even as the Virginians advanced liberty, equality, and human possibility, they held people in slavery and were slaveholders when they died.

Taking full measure of strengths and failures in the personal and political lives of the men at the center of this book, Cheney offers a concise and original exploration of how the United States came to be.


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