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Alexander Hamilton
Suggested Reading



"Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have is this. When I have a subject in mind. I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it... the effort which I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought."

Alexander Hamilton
(Ron Chernow)
From National Book Award winner Ron Chernow, a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

Ron Chernow, whom the New York Times called "as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we've seen in decades," now brings to startling life the man who was arguably the most important figure in American history, who never attained the presidency, but who had a far more lasting impact than many who did.

An illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, Hamilton rose with stunning speed to become George Washington's aide-de-camp, a member of the Constitutional Convention, coauthor of The Federalist Papers, leader of the Federalist party, and the country's first Treasury secretary. With masterful storytelling skills, Chernow presents the whole sweep of Hamilton's turbulent life: his exotic, brutal upbringing; his brilliant military, legal, and financial exploits; his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and Monroe; his illicit romances; and his famous death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July 1804.

For the first time, Chernow captures the personal life of this handsome, witty, and perennially controversial genius and explores his poignant relations with his wife Eliza, their eight children, and numberless friends. This engrossing narrative will dispel forever the stereotype of the Founding Fathers as wooden figures and show that, for all their greatness, they were fiery, passionate, often flawed human beings.

Alexander Hamilton was one of the seminal figures in our history. His richly dramatic saga, rendered in Chernow's vivid prose, is nothing less than a riveting account of America's founding, from the Revolutionary War to the rise of the first federal government.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, American
(Richard Brookhiser)
Alexander Hamilton is one of the least understood, most important, and most impassioned and inspiring of the founding fathers. At last Hamilton has found a modern biographer who can bring him to full-blooded life; Richard Brookhiser. In these pages, Alexander Hamilton sheds his skewed image as the "bastard brat of a Scotch peddler," sex scandal survivor, and notoriously doomed dueling partner of Aaron Burr. Examined up close, throughout his meteoric and ever-fascinating (if tragically brief) life, Hamilton can at last be seen as one of the most crucial of the founders. Here, thanks to Brookhiser's accustomed wit and grace, this quintessential American lives again.

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
(JOSEPH J. ELLIS)
In this landmark work of history, the National Book Award—winning author of American Sphinx explores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed individuals–Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison–confronted the overwhelming challenges before them to set the course for our nation.

The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers–re-examined here as Founding Brothers–combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government. Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes–Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, Adams’ administration and political partnership with his wife, the debate about where to place the capital, Franklin’s attempt to force Congress to confront the issue of slavery and Madison’s attempts to block him, and Jefferson and Adams’ famous correspondence–Founding Brothers brings to life the vital issues and personalities from the most important decade in our nation’s history.

Hamilton: Writings
(Alexander Hamilton, Joanne B. Freeman (Library of America))
One of the most vivid, influential, and controversial figures of the American founding, Alexander Hamilton was an unusually prolific and vigorous writer. As a military aide to George Washington, forceful critic of the Articles of Confederation, persuasive proponent of ratification of the Constitution, first Secretary of the Treasury, and leader of the Federalist party, Hamilton devoted himself to the creation of a militarily and economically powerful American nation guided by a strong republican government. His public and private writings demonstrate the perceptive intelligence, confident advocacy, driving ambition, and profound concern for honor and reputation that contributed both to his rise to fame and to his tragic early death.

Arranged chronologically, Writings contains more than 170 letters, speeches, essays, reports, and memoranda written between 1769 and 1804. Included are all 51 of Hamilton's contributions to The Federalist, as well as subsequent writing calling for a broad construction of federal power under the Constitution; his famous speech to the Constitutional Convention, which gave rise to accusations that he favored monarchy; early writings supporting the Revolutionary cause and a stronger central government; his visionary reports as Treasury secretary on the public credit, a national bank, and the encouragement of American manufactures; a detailed confession of adultery made by Hamilton in order to defend himself against charges of official misconduct; and his self- destructive attack on John Adams during the 1800 campaign. An extensive selection of private letters illuminates Hamilton's complex relationship with George Washington, his deep affection for his wife and children, his mounting fears during the 1790s regarding the Jeffersonian opposition and the French Revolution, and his profound distrust of Aaron Burr. Included in an appendix are conflicting eyewitness accounts of the Hamilton-Burr duel.

Joanne Freeman is the editor.

The Federalist : The Essential Essays, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
(Jack N. Rakove (Editor))
(The Bedford Series in History and Culture)

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