Alexander Hamilton is experiencing a well-deserved revival. Often forced to take a back seat to other founding fathers, his vision of America as an economic powerhouse with a dynamic and aggressive government as its engine has found many followers. He helped get the Constitution ratified, helped found the Federalist Party, and served as the first secretary of the treasury. An orphan born in the West Indies, he was like a son to George Washington and perhaps should have been like a brother to Thomas Jefferson.
But Jefferson fought bitterly against the Federalists and his election as president ushered in the “revolution of 1800.” Ironically, it would be Hamilton who helped ensure Jefferson’s triumph over Aaron Burr. Jefferson articulated a vision different from Hamilton’s, promoting an agrarian democracy built upon geographic expansion—an “empire of liberty,” he called it. In 1793, he would resign as secretary of state to protest Hamilton’s policies. In retirement, Jefferson would reflect on the differences between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans and express fear for the future of the new nation.
Learn about the conflict that took shape in the 1790s between America’s first political parties—the Federalists, led by Hamilton, and the Republicans, led by Jefferson in Hamilton vs. Jefferson: The Rivalry That Shaped America.
Louis Masur is a distinguished professor of American studies and history at Rutgers. His books include the recently published The Sum of Our Dreams: A Concise History of America (2020); Lincoln’s Last Speech: Wartime Reconstruction and the Crisis of Reunion (2015); and Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union (2012). Masur’s essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. Masur is a member of the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Society of American Historians and has received teaching prizes from Harvard University, the City College of New York, Trinity College, and Rutgers University. He lectures frequently for One Day University.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
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