The struggle to establish a new nation was complex and challenging. While today we know that the government of the United States under the Constitution works, it was an experimental concept 200 years ago. The founders believed that their actions would impact not only themselves but Americans for generations to come. But while their resolve and their recognition of public trust never faltered, their visions for the future nation differed. Perhaps no men in history faced a greater challenge than the first presidents of the United States who had the responsibility of guiding a young, untried nation to economic stability, to ensuring the safety of the nation's borders, and to establishing respect for the United States in the eyes of the world.
The Challenges of Nationhood: Presidential Perspectives explores the struggles to establish a nation as seen through the eyes of our nation's first four presidents—George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. Cokie Roberts moderates this spirited discussion as the founding fathers talk about the sometimes tumultuous relationships that they formed while founding the nation.