Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Owe a Great Debt to One of The Founding Fathers

For Constitution Day, Steve Bartin wrote an American Thinker article about Roger Sherman, my favorite Founding Father. Sherman was a powerful influence on our founding and his progeny have been exceptionally influential in our nation’s history. I’m biased, course. In writing Tempest at Dawn, I wanted to present a personal perspective on the major conflicts at the Constitutional Convention. I stumbled around with a few different approaches until I decided to alternate point of view between James Madison and Roger Sherman. Each chapter would switch between these two characters to give the reader a personal as well as fact-based perspective. It worked far better than I expected.

Roger Sherman and James Madison provide a great contrast. Sherman was one of the few who could look the tall George Washington straight in the eye, while a wag described Madison as smaller than a used piece of soap. Sherman was the second oldest delegate and Madison among the youngest. Sherman was an abolitionist, while Madison owned over one hundred slaves. Sherman was taciturn, while Madison was talkative. (Sherman once dedicated a bridge by stomping on it, remarked that it appeared well built, and then walked away.)

constitutional convention Constitution
Roger Sherman and James Madison

The men were behind the two principle opposing plans at the beginning of the convention. Sherman championed the New Jersey Plan presented by a surrogate, and Madison architected the Virginia Plan presented by Virginia Governor Edmund Randolph. Sherman led the small states and Madison was a key member of the large state caucus. After the convention accepted Sherman’s compromise of two senators per state, the two found themselves on opposite sides of the slavery issue.

Sherman was one of the two major protagonists of Tempest at Dawn, and the two protagonists in my contemporary thriller The Shut Mouth Society, descended from Roger Sherman. The Sherman family tree described in Bartin’s article became an integral element of the book’s century-old conspiracy theory.

You might say I owe a lot to the Shermans. I can’t think of a better family to be indebted to.

When a rich Santa Barbara collector acquires a newly discovered Abraham Lincoln document, he asks detective Greg Evarts and UCLA professor Patricia Baldwin to authenticate it. Their research launches them into a dangerous struggle with a secret society formed during Reconstruction. Before they can solve the mystery surrounding the Lincoln manuscript, a shocking murder forces them to run for their lives. As they race across the country, they discover a Civil War secret that could upset the balance of power in North America. Now Evarts and Baldwin must unravel the 150-year-old conspiracy before it's too late . . . and before they are silenced for good.

No comments:

Post a Comment