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Friday, 13 October 2017 09:36

John Randolph of Roanoke

Written by  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.

From the print edition of The New American

There was a time in the political history of the United States when men stood for principle, even when it meant breaking from their pals and their party.

One of the men once most recognized for his steadfast refusal to retreat from republican values today has been all but forgotten. His name was John Randolph of Roanoke.

So staunchly conservative was Randolph that he has been described as an enemy of both Thomas Jefferson — of whom he was once the most ardent ally — and John Adams. This was the essence of John Randolph: He was possessed of a fierce Southern spirit that would brook no centralization of power that would encroach upon his plantation. In defiance of the stereotype, however, he was a cosmopolitan bon vivant who displayed in his writings and his speeches an unparalleled fluency in the language of prose and poesy.

Randolph was born in 1773 in Virginia, and as such is too young to be counted among the generation grouped together as Founding Fathers. He knew many of those luminaries and regularly ran in the same circles, but he was not one of them. He was a man whose adult life and contributions fell between two eras: the era of the War for Independence and the era of the Civil War.

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