In 1814, John Randolph of Roanoke brooded over his family's decline since the American Revolution. The once-sumptuous world of the Virginia gentry was vanishing, its kinship ties crumbling along with its mansions. Looking back in an effort to grasp the changes around him, Randolph fixated on his stepfather and one-time guardian, the jurist St. George Tucker. Although Tucker had fought during the Revolution, he grasped the significant changes the war had brought to the Old Dominion. Thus he sold his plantations and urged his children to pursue careers in learned professions. Tucker's stepson John Randolph bitterly disagreed, precipitating a painful break between the two men.Drawing upon an extraordinary archive of manuscript materials, Phillip Hamilton illustrates how two generations of a colorful and influential family adapted to social upheaval. He finds that the Tuckers eventually rejected wider family connections and turned instead to nuclear kin. They also abandoned the liberal principles and enlightened rationalism of the Revolution for a romanticism girded by deep social conservatism. ""The Making and Unmaking of a Revolutionary Family"" reveals the complex process by which the world of Washington and Jefferson evolved into the antebellum society of Edmund Ruffin and Thomas Dew.