“Elegantly written and sparkling with keen insights, Lorri Glover's splendid book recasts our understanding of the American Revolution by revealing the surprising world in which the sons of liberty were fathers before they were founders—repeatedly forced to balance their deeply held responsibilities as parents with calls to lean in for independence and a new republic.”—Jon Kukla, author of Mr. Jefferson’s Women and A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America

“With a deft touch, Lorri Glover captures the domestic life and concerns of Virginia’s Founders as they pass from colonial protesters to scions of the first families of the new nation’s most important state. Wives and children share the spotlight in this excellently conceived study.”—Joyce Appleby, author of Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries and the Scientific Imagination

​“A lively, highly readable account of the competing loyalties of Virginia’s founding fathers. George Mason, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison come alive as fathers of families and stewards of estates, struggling to balance their domestic responsibilities with the political demands of war, revolution, and national formation.”—Kathleen M. Brown, University of Pennsylvania

“By exploring how the political careers and patriarchal roles of Virginia’s Revolutionary leaders were inextricably linked, Lorri Glover tells a profoundly human story about the nation’s beginnings.”—Virginia DeJohn Anderson, author of Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America

The Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries (Yale University Press, September 2014)



Founders as Fathers

Lorri Glover

Surprisingly, no previous book has explored how family life shaped the political careers of America’s great Founding Fathers—men like George Mason, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. In this original and intimate portrait, historian Lorri Glover brings to life the vexing, joyful, arduous, and sometimes tragic experiences of the architects of the American Republic who, while building a nation, were also raising families. 

The cost and consequence for the families of these Virginia leaders were great, Glover discovers: the Revolution remade family life no less than it reinvented political institutions. She describes the colonial households that nurtured future revolutionaries, follows the development of political and family values during the revolutionary years, and shines new light on the radically transformed world that was inherited by nineteenth-century descendants. Beautifully written and replete with fascinating detail, this groundbreaking book is the first to introduce us to the founders as fathers.