Dunkak’s debut biography intricately documents the career of a revolutionary yet obscure American historical figure, lawyer John Morin Scott.
The relatively unknown Scott helped shape the early American political scene in the late 1700s. Born into a wealthy family, Scott attended Yale University and there managed to make friends with several influential people who sparked his interest in politics. He later had a major role in developing the important New York educational institution Kings College, which became Columbia University. Scott also became a key figure in the Whig Club of New York, an extension of the political Whig movement in England. This biography looks at several eras of Scott’s life and career, including his childhood, his legal career, his success during the provincial elections, his role in a controversy surrounding the salaries and tenures of Court of Appeals judges, and his Revolutionary War years. Scott, along with other leading lawyers, fought to make sure that religious dissenters of that time would receive equal treatment and recognizance under the law. Although the historical record doesn’t contain a wealth of information about John Morin Scott’s early years, Dunkak attempts to document his life to the best of his ability, and, overall, delivers a well-researched and scholarly biography. He thoroughly backs up every piece of information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, with supporting evidence and highly detailed footnotes. In particular, Dunkak explains the political schema with maturity and tact. Although the book can be a bit verbose at times, it’s an astute, intelligent reflection on Morin’s life and era.
An impressive informational effort about a nearly forgotten figure in American history.