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Department 1

Civil War Institute


Political dynasties have always occupied a strange spot within the democracy of the United States. Though the argument is frequently made that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant, and that it is only the ability of a person which propels them through society, it is foolish to ignore the effects that a name can have how a person is judged by society—for better or worse. In the decades following the Revolution, when the descendants and fortunes of the Founding Fathers were still easily identifiable, this was especially true. When you possessed a name like Washington or Adams while their memory was still fresh in the young nation, you stood in the shadow of heroes. [excerpt]


This blog post originally appeared in The Gettysburg Compiler and was created by students at Gettysburg College.