Magazine July 27, 2020, Issue

America’s Founding

Declaration of Independence, by John Trumbull (John Parrot/StockTrek Images/Getty Images)
Our job is to understand and uphold it

From Hamilton: An American Musical to rioters defacing every stone Founder they can find: A lot can flip in a short time, especially in a country as social-media-addicted as ours. But don’t tear up your tickets yet. The American founding remains an epochal and admirable event in political history.

“The Founding” is the period spanning the American Revolution and the adoption of the Constitution, 1775–89. But the political backstory begins in Jamestown, England’s first permanent American colony, in the summer of 1619, with the first meeting of the General Assembly.

The Jamestown colony had been in existence since 1607. Its early history

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