Who's Your Founding Father?: One Man’s Epic Quest to Uncover the First, True Declaration of Independence (Hardcover)

Who's Your Founding Father?: One Man’s Epic Quest to Uncover the First, True Declaration of Independence By David Fleming Cover Image

Who's Your Founding Father?: One Man’s Epic Quest to Uncover the First, True Declaration of Independence (Hardcover)

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A centuries-old secret document might unravel the origin story of America and reveal the intellectual crime of the millennia in this epic dive into our country’s history to discover the first, true Declaration of Independence.

In 1819 John Adams came across a stunning story in his hometown Essex Register that he breathlessly described to his political frenemy Thomas Jefferson as “one of the greatest curiosities and one of the deepest mysteries that ever occurred to me…entitled the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. The genuine sense of America at that moment was never so well expressed before, nor since.” The story claimed that a full 14 months before Jefferson crafted his own Declaration of Independence, a misfit band of zealous Scots-Irish patriots, whiskey-loving Princeton scholars and a fanatical frontier preacher in a remote corner of North Carolina had become the first Americans to formally declare themselves “free and independent” from England.

Composed during a clandestine all-night session inside the Charlotte courthouse, the Mecklenburg Declaration was signed on May 20, 1775—a date that’s still featured on the state flag of North Carolina. A year later, in 1776, Jefferson is believed to have plagiarized the MecDec while composing his own, slightly more famous Declaration and then, as he was wont to do, covered the whole thing up. Which is exactly why Adams always insisted the MecDec needed to be “thoroughly investigated” and “more universally made known to the present and future generation.” Eleven U.S. Presidents and many of today’s most respected historical scholars agree.

Now, with Who’s Your Founding Father?, David Fleming picks up where Adams left off, leaving no archive, no cemetery, no bizarre clue or wild character (and definitely no Dunkin’ Donuts) unexplored while traveling the globe to bring to life one of the most fantastic, important—and controversial—stories in American history.In 1819 John Adams came across a stunning story in his hometown Essex Register. He breathlessly described it to his political frenemy Thomas Jefferson as “one of the greatest curiosities and one of the deepest mysteries that ever occurred to me…entitled the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. The genuine sense of America at that moment was never so well expressed before, nor since.” The story claimed that a full 14 months before Jefferson crafted his own Declaration of Independence, a misfit band of zealous Scots-Irish patriots, whiskey-loving Princeton scholars, and a fanatical frontier preacher had joined forces in a remote corner of North Carolina to become the first Americans to formally declare themselves “free and independent” from England.

Composed during a clandestine all-night session inside the Charlotte courthouse, the Mecklenburg Declaration, aka the MecDec, was signed on May 20, 1775—a date that’s still featured on the state flag of North Carolina. About a year later, in 1776, Jefferson is believed to have plagiarized the MecDec while composing his own, slightly more famous Declaration, and then, as he was wont to do, covered the whole thing up. Which is why Adams always insisted the MecDec needed to be “thoroughly investigated” and “more universally made known to the present and future generation.” Eleven U.S. Presidents and many of today’s most respected historical scholars agree. Now, with Who’s Your Founding Father?, David Fleming picks up where Adams’ investigation left off. Fleming leaves no archive, cemetery, bizarre clue, conspiracy theory, or wild character unexplored as he travels the globe and shines new light on one of the most fantastic, important—and controversial—stories in American history.
David Fleming is a senior writer at ESPN. During the last three decades at Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine and ESPN he has been one of the industry’s most prolific, versatile, and imaginative longform writers, traveling the globe while penning more than 35 cover stories and numerous groundbreaking pieces on everything from the Super Bowl and Steph Curry to the Musical Chairs World Championship and the NFL’s obsession with glutes. Fleming’s unique work has earned numerous national awards as well as a handwritten note from the White House. He is also the author of two books, Breaker Boys: The NFL’s Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship and Noah's Rainbow: A Father’s Emotional Journey from the Death of his Son to the Birth of his Daughter. A native of Detroit, Fleming and his wife, Kim, live in North Carolina with their daughters.
Product Details ISBN: 9780306828775
ISBN-10: 0306828774
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: May 16th, 2023
Pages: 320
Language: English
“David Fleming can write about anything, literally anything, and it will be wonderful. But give him an enduring 250-year-old mystery about the founding of America, a spectacular cast of characters and a lot of caffeine (and donuts), and you get something hilarious, thought-provoking, and utterly unforgettable.” —Joe Posnanski, #1 New York Times bestselling author of six books, including The Baseball 100, Paterno, and The Secret of Golf

"In this hugely entertaining page-turner of a book, David Fleming proves beyond reasonable doubt that Thomas Jefferson plagiarized the Declaration of Independence, and then sought to cover it up. This is historical detective work at its best."—Andrew Roberts, author of Napoleon, Churchill, and The Last King of America

“David Fleming is a modern master of the gonzo dive into a rabbit hole and he has done that bit of magic once again. You don't really know any of the things you know about the Declaration of Independence, which means you don't really know all the things you know about America. Dave’s book will fix that.”—Wright Thompson, ESPN senior writer and New York Times bestselling author of Pappyland

“If David Fleming was our professor, we'd all have been history majors. In the first few pages on our way to John Adams' birthplace and back into deep colonial history, we stop at the original Dunkin' Donuts in Quincy, MA, then go from there. As we look for a Declaration of Independence that predates the Declaration of Independence, we learn why the Charlotte Hornets are the Charlotte Hornets, spend a nice weekend in England, and develop a strong dislike for Mr. Thomas Jefferson. A grand trip, it is. A whole lot of fun. Five out of five stars.”—Leigh Montville, New York Times bestselling author of Ted Williams and The Big Bam

"This is Columbo meets National Treasure meets gonzo journalism. Who's Your Founding Father? is the title. But the questions it poses most urgently are 1) Can we handle the truth? And 2) Do we need David Fleming on that wall? I say yes and oh, yes. If extreme obsessiveness in the pursuit of the actual facts surrounding the birth of the republic is a virtue, what Fleming gives us is a story unsurpassed in its virtuousness. I loved it.”—Jeremy Schaap, Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Award-winning ESPN anchor and New York Times bestselling author of Cinderella Man

"Stunning history....This is a book that reads like a personal travelogue. You’re along for a historic ride that legitimately questions the roots of our country. Kudos to Fleming for going down an important rabbit hole.”—Peter King

“This should be required reading…Books, beer, and serious fun.”—Good Morning BT

"Dave's book is awesome and this is not hyperbole: It will change how you see American history."—Tommy Tomlinson, author of The Elephant in the Room

Who’s Your Founding Father? takes a gonzo approach to unpacking a storied legend about where an early version of our establishing edict may have come from."—The Assembly

“Who can resist cracking this new wild and wonderful investigation….If you haven’t read Fleming before, you’re in for a treat.”—Garden & Gun

“A fascinating look at the first Declaration of Independence. Fleming makes a compelling case for the historical importance of the oft-overlooked Mecklenburg Declaration of 1775….There’s absolutely material here that will be of interest to those interested in the scholarly debate around the MecDec and its influence on Jefferson, and the whole book is a strong introduction to this controversy….But where Who’s Your Founding Father? particularly shines is in its telling of Fleming’s personal discovery of the MecDec story, the passion he winds up feeling for it, and the lengths he then goes to to try and track down elements of it, including even a trip for archival research in England….Who’s Your Founding Father? plays out partly as a detective story, partly as a story of historical research, and partly as gonzo journalism.”—Awful Announcing

“Fleming's passionate popular history and travelogue…. Ross's splendidly clear baritone suits the author's conversational work to a T.”—AudioFile (audiobook review)

“Fleming presents an explosive book."—The Virginia Gazette

“His mesmerizing book follows his effort to solve this 250-year-old cold case. His research, documentation and extensive bibliography make his conclusions compelling…. As Fleming follows his trail down the rabbit hole to its conclusion, he leaves a hilarious trail of pop culture breadcrumbs along the way…. By the time the author has concluded his search for the truth, he has found a cast of characters as bizarre as any Alice encountered…. To reveal any more about this correction of a historical mistake would spoil the reader’s delight in discovering the details the author has so painstakingly uncovered. This book will remind the reader of National Treasure.”—The Lincoln Journal-Star

“Fleming’s book is a meticulously researched and thoughtfully written examination…. Also woven into the scholarly narrative are thick threads of dorky dad humor.”—Charlotte Magazine