Wait, Dummy

DumbWaiter1.jpgRichard Brookhiser is one of the few — well, okay — the only smart polyp in the Cornhole. Yeah, I know: Sharing a forum with Jonah Goldberg can make even John Podhoretz look smart, but you know what I mean. Brookhiser isn’t a troglodyte. While he is certainly a wingnut (witness, if you ever saw the History Channel’s The Presidents series, Brookhiser’s enthusiatic, fawning endorsement of Theodore Roosevelt’s “Kill Em All” foriegn policy as juxtaposed to his coolly deprecating assessment of TR’s relatively decent domestic quasi-progressivism), his wingnuttery often has a placidity to it.

But that doesn’t mean it’s subtle. Once again overcome with the urge to laud a dead wingnut saint, Brookhiser once again lets hagiographical enthusiasm override judgment:

Hamilton, Right Again [Rick Brookhiser]
Alexander Hamilton’s northern Manhattan summer house, the Grange, built in 1802 two years before he was killed, is about to be moved to a new location at W. 141st St. and Hamilton Terrace[…]

But this was the detail that caught my eye from this morning’s NYTimes (p. B5): “Insights have also been gleaned from what the architects did not find, like evidence of a dumbwaiter that was once supposed to have existed. Mr. Waite [the architect] interpreted this as a sign that much of the Hamiltons’ family life took place downstairs, close to the kitchen. “This house was built to be operated without slaves,” he said.

C’mon, Rick. Fine, so Hamilton was maybe against slavery in the abstract. But the absence (or presence) of a dumbwaiter in Hamilton’s home is the silliest thing one could present as evidence of such a position.

Quick: Who is credited with inventing the dumbwaiter, and installed them everywhere he could? I’ll provide three hints: He was a redhead from Virginia, and owned slaves (even going so far as to sleep with one slave who happened to be his dead wife’s half-sister), who yet excoriated slavery as an institution.


All this Pasty stuff has distracted me. Although I love to humiliate wingnuts, it’s taken time away from what I really like to do, which is to write about the abuse of history. What’s a real good time is when I can do both.

[Gavin adds: I feel the same about humiliating wingnuts and drinking beer.]

It’s inevitable on grounds of personality-clash as well as ideological enmity that I despise that pompous proto-fascist blowhard Trevino. But it’s because of posts like this one on Hamilton & Burr that I loathe him because of my distaste for propaganda as well as baroque displays of stupidity. Tacky’s Alexander Hamilton: Good, victim, martyr; cut down by the forces of pure evil! It was murder!

Actually, Hamilton was a bastard — I don’t mean in the literal sense, which doesn’t matter to me, though Hamilton certainly was that, which was good enough for John Adams — but in the sense that matters; he was a hotheaded jerk who was bound to dig his own grave with that yammering mouth of his sooner rather than later. Indeed, it’s a minor miracle that Hamilton was not killed before 1804; actually Hamilton instigated a duel with future President James Monroe which was resolved at almost the last minute thanks to the caring attention of that bloodthirsty villain, Aaron Burr.

Hamilton called people out, and was called out, fairly often; IIRC from Thomas Fleming’s book, Duel, more than any of the Founders (unless you count Jackson, another hothead wingnut saint). But where Jackson’s hostility can be chalked up purely to a sour temperament, a congenital hostility, Hamilton’s eagerness to fight duels at least partially came from class issues: Hamilton’s literal bastardy had made him not only unelectable, but also caused him to be viewed by the majority of his peers as something less than a gentleman: If an opponent met Hamilton on the field of honor, social parity was at least implicit for Hamilton.

Hamilton did have good traits, and many of his bad ones hold appeal for connoisieurs of human tragedy. There’s a non-bullshit evenhandedness in Gore Vidal’s excellent summation of Hamilton as “the most brilliant but the most unstable of the Founders.”

Hamilton had a soft spot for the ladies; and some of his adulteries were masterly conquests. On the other hand, he could be a fool with women (the Maria Reynolds affair) and got himself into all sorts of trouble. Also, for a man who’d married very well (he married a Schuyler; in those days, if one wanted to advance in New York, one had better marry into, or work for, the Schuylers or Livingstons or, I suppose to a lesser degree, the Clintons) such adulteries were more than usually reckless.

Not surprisingly, there is no mention of Hamilton’s lechery in Trevino’s mini-hagiography. But I do wonder how a Santorum worshiper like Trevino, who in his own way is every bit the Talibangelical as the average 700 Club viewer, can deal with the fact that the Founders were very…French in their marital relations and, indeed, as the Founding period took place in a glorious break between evangelical “awakenings,” that there was a hell of a lot of fairly-open fornication and whoring and mistress-ing and 18th/19th Century equivalents of Desperate Housewifery. Avert your eyes, children; the Founders were not prudes! Hamilton, mirroring Jefferson, fucked his wife’s sister. Jefferson, a widower, of course had Sally Hemmings but also famously (with head and heart among other organs) had a thing for and with several of his friends’ wives. Burr was faithful to his wife while she lived — which wasn’t long — but ever after was part James Bond and part Smoove B. Love, silkily bedding many an Empire-fashioned lady whose plunging decolletage was so very equivalent to the babydoll-T-shirted, miniskirted, hip-huggered, cleavage and booty displayers who nowadays make our reactionaries hyperventilate with lust/scorn. Then Burr, most hilariously if somewhat cynically, in his old age married one of the wealthiest women in the country, a widow who was basically a Burr groupie from way back. In the name of Pat Robertson and the late 1990s Republican Congress, I condemn thee, Founders!

In fact, so tolerated was fucking-around back then, that when Hamilton’s underlings at the Treasury Department were busted for corruption — and all the evidence hinted that the rot rose to the top; Hamilton himself was almost certainly corrupt — Tacky’s hero cleverly diverted scandal away from money and toward sex, admitting to the affair with Mrs. Reynolds.

Yet Hamilton did have to overcome a lot to get to where he got. He was an orphan — and ever after, sucking up to father figures like Washington. He was raised in the West Indies, a precocious bastard whom several took a shine to; Hamilton was duly trained there in finance and politics. He went on to, in Vidal’s precious phrase, develop a “personality calculated to make the ill-born froth with Jacobin sentiments”; his snobbishness, his desire to be what he was not (a legitimately-born aristocrat) and his subsequent pro-Rich/anti-Poor stance inevitably irked, over the years, a great many populists, both good (the Jeffersonians; i.e. lefty populists) and bad (wingnuts; i.e. fascist populists):

Looking through [Father] Coughlin’s speeches in the early period (1930-1936), one can find frequent implicit anti-Semitic references. Thus in 1931, in discussing Communist leaders, he refered to “Trotsky from New York, Lenin from Germany, Bela Kun from Hungary” and to “the atheism and the treachery preached by the German Hebrew Karl Marx.” His attacks on “international bankers” were personified as in “the Rothschilds and Lazarre Freres,….the Morgans, the Kuhns and Loebs.” Mentioning Alexander Hamilton, he would casually add, “whose original name was Alexander Levine.”

It’s right to assail figures like Hamilton who hail from the dawn of a period of, and espouse an ideology of, gross exploitation; and we, the heirs of the Jeffersonians, do just that. It’s wrong, however, to blame figures like Hamilton according to a bigoted and conspiracy-minded calculus. But then wingnuts aren’t ever about to condemn apostles of the cruelest sort of capitalism for being cruel capitalists. Jefferson and his heirs attacked Hamilton for his corporate-whoring, for his excessive love of the English aristocracy model, for his political elitism. Wingnuts, on the other hand, when they did attack him, attacked him as an elitist and conspiratorial Jew. As always, the Lefty criticism is spot-on, while the right’s is vile to the core.

This is getting even longer than usual; I notice your eyes glazing, so I’ll cut things shorter by making a list of the reasons why wingnuts love A. Hamilton.

1. His rise from orphanhood in a foreign country to de facto ruler of the United States during Washington’s administration lends a superficial credence to the trite Horatio Alger myth that wingnuts like to peddle as proof of an American meritocracy (never mind that Hamilton would have gone mostly nowhere had he not married Elizabeth Schuyler).

2. Because his vanity (if he could not run things, no one should, he thought) and vindictiveness to John Adams, France, and Aaron Burr (more or less in that order) destroyed his own party, and after his son was killed in a duel (hotheadedness inherited from his father), Hamilton washed himself in the blood of the lamb, was consigned to the political fringe, openly regarded the Constitution as “worthless,” and considered forming a Christian political party. Had Hamilton not said whatever he said about Burr, and therefore not been cut down, he would have withered away as a public figure, would have been reduced to a Pat Buchanan-like condition of wacko-fringe reactionism.

3. Like all wingnuts, Alexander Hamilton despised France, especially republican France (a geopolitical bully like Bonaparte, on the other hand, Hamilton found room to admire deeply); like all wingnuts, Hamilton sneered at those who admired France, attacking them as effete — in other words, as fagg0rts and pussies. For Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson’s attraction to France was “womanish.”

4. Though Hamilton was probably racially progressive enough to support the Haitian Revolutionaries (which would be to his credit), it’s uncertain just how much of that support was actually given just because of the blow it dealt to France generally and Thomas Jefferson specifically. Brookhiser seems to want Hamilton to appear as some sort of proto-Lincoln: the financier as Emancipator. Bullshit; Hamilton, like many of the Founders, was a hypocrite (though not nearly to Jefferson’s level). Even his wikipedia entry — otherwise far too glossy and on the subject of duelling, especially one-sided — admits that Hamilton owned slaves and bought and sold them for friends.

5. As Hamilton could never be elected, his natural and already considerable bias against democracy became distended. Hamilton favored Executive power (where he shared in the weilding of it) to Congressional power (which he could never have a piece of), which was increasingly, with the extentions of the franchise, the organ of the plebes whom he despised. This bias prefectly dovetails with modern Wingnuttia’s desire to concentrate all state powers in a Dear Leader figure in the executive branch. Jefferson’s favorite epithet for Hamilton wasn’t “monocrat!” for nothing.

6. Hamilton’s attitude was, intensely, Federal power uber alles. This might seem counterintuitively wingnut if you think of all their yammering about Federalism, but actually it’s just-so with their beliefs — wingnuts only support states’ rights when the Federal government is trying to do something good, like making abortion legal everywhere or preventing the pollution of rivers. Though it was doomed from the start anyway, it was nevertheless Hamilton who did the most to stop Pickering’s confederacy of secessionists. Hamilton knew that the Federal government must be strong if the United States were to grow into a murderous Empire like Great Britain; a mere confederation or loose collection of in-and-out states wouldn’t turn that particular, and ultimately so very bloody, trick. Hamilton wanted the United States to be famed and feared, to conquer and to clash with other great powers. Jefferson, of course, just wanted the US left alone, and for the US to leave others alone. Unfortunately, Jefferson as Chief Executive turned into a Hamilton, but that is another story…

7. Batshit Propertarianism. Or, as Richard Hofstadter put it in his introduction to one of Hamilton’s reports on the state and future of manufacturing in America, “…clearly as Hamilton anticipated the benefits of manufacturing industry, he also anticipated the evils of modern industrialism — and without the slightest humanitarian forebodings. One of the advantages, for instance, that he saw in British cotton manufacturing was that it made use of the labor of ‘women and children, and many of them of a very tender age.'” This sort of callous sentiment gets you a long way with wingnuts, especially with our current crop, whose chief desire is to roll back America to the 19th century.

8. Gall. Chutzpah. Whatever Burr was Hamilton was as bad or worse. Whatever Burr did, Hamilton had done something similar or had planned to (I’m thinking of adventures ahem ahem out West here). Yet in anticipation of the possibility that the duel would not go well, Hamilton masterfully fixed Burr’s wagon for good: Hamilton so carefully rigged it that, whatever the aftermath, Burr would be destroyed — and so he was (though, ironically for wingnut Hamilton admirers, Burr’s killing of Hamilton earned the former VP a ton of fans in the the red states out West). On top of that, Hamilton had convinced a friend to challenge Burr to a duel so that hopefully Burr would be killed or wounded before Hamilton’s appointment with him — what a devious bastard! And all because, at root, of his perspicacity which so often degenerated into a loquaciousness that was as brilliant as it was, often, mad. Because the torrential flow of words had got him everything he had, he could not turn off the faucet when he should have. Whatever he said about Burr, Vidal is right to say that it must have been very very bad for Burr had always otherwise had an elephant’s skin (I do not quite buy Fleming’s theory that a depressed and demoralized Burr did it out of a desperate opportunism). Vidal’s pet theory, for which there is admittedly no evidence, but which is nonetheless inspired and has the virtue of conforming to all personalities involved, is that Hamilton said at table to an audience of several that Aaron Burr had fucked his own daughter Theodosia (Burr’s pachydermal hide attenuated where his daughter was concerned; Burr was a proto-feminist who’d raised Theodosia no differently than his peers had raised their sons; that said, their relationship was…odd).

9. Hamilton was personally courageous in a military context, which means that the chickenhawk right, including Tacitus (who bawked-bawked his way out of service just in the nick of time, pleading a nervous condition), in admiring their own reflections in a funhouse mirror (as is so often their wont), take him for one of their own. For what it’s worth, Burr served courageously in the doomed attack on Quebec; Burr himself pulled Gen. Montgomery’s body back from the field to the American line.


Comments: 32


Thomas Jefferson, now give me candy.

And a lifetime subscription.


And thing about all the spluttering we’d get from Josh if he knew about Hamilton’s intense, and possibly erotic, relationship with John Laurens. Certainly their correspondence would unnerve poor Josh.


From Trevino, yes. And also the persistent suspicions that the West Indian-born Hamilton was, according to the standards that prevailed at the time, a Negro.


After I read in a book somewhere that Hamilton said that shit about Burr and his daughter, I thought Hamilton had it coming.
It was one of Gore Vidal’s books, don’t remember which one. I think I’ve read them all.


I’m a big fan of Hamilton as a personality. I like him in an objective way. The peculiar pull of Federalist and Democratic forces during the founding of our country is what made it what it is today. You could put forth a good argument that Aaron Burr did us a favor in dispatching Mr. Hamilton in New Jersey back in 1804 and thus prevented the country from a further swing toward a President-King. Whatever “whatevers” you want to throw around, history happened and every player to me is fascinating. But not necessarily venerable. We have to remember they were all human. I think too many of these wingnuts are forgetting this.


that’s weird. i thought i clicked on “sadlyno.com” but apparently i’m on “tendentioushistoryanalysis.com”

i’m a much bigger fan of the former.


Thanks for posting this. The bs that’s conventional wisdom about the Burr-Hamilton duel has always bugged me.


Sadly, No! is a banquet, much appreciated.


I think for real insight into Brookhiser you should check out his book, “The Way of the WASP.” It is a retelling of Madison Grant’s “Passing of the Great Race” (1916) without the overt racist essentialism. The message is the same, however: The white folk, they are the one’s who build civililzation, those poor brown and black folks just don’t have what it takes.

I haven’t taken anything Brookhiser has written seriously since I read that.


I love the juxtaposition a post like this creates in the midst of the blog wars of Aught-Six (Kitten, Video and Golstein-flame).

Don’t read anything into that – I liked this post as much as the others of late (I’m still laughing at “Gavin adds: I saw something moving in that rubble. Hit ‘em again” right now, as I write this comment). I just know so little about history that I can add little more than a mildly meta observation.


Q.: What does J. do when not sleeping?
A.: Think about me, the things I do, the things I like, the things I say, etc.

Q.: What does J. do when sleeping?
A.: Dream about the above.

Admittedly, in my younger years I used to devoutly wish for a well-read feminine type with gorgeous flaxen locks who would hold me as such an object. But if there’s one thing answered prayers teach us, it’s that you need to be exceedingly specific with them.

Perhaps J. will tire of the reactive life. To say nothing of the fantasy life. But probably not, eh? So much fulfilment in splenetic blogging: it fills that void where parental attentiveness should have been.

Oh, one more Q&A, if I may:

Q.: Between J. and me, who has done the following?

i. Served as a soldier.
ii. Contemplated serving as a soldier.
iii. Made repeated attempts to reenter service during wartime.

As a hint, the answer to each is not J.. Which isn’t to say that six weeks at Fort Bragg wouldn’t do him well: he simply thinks it beneath him. Still, braying hypocrisy not stimulating any avoidance-reflex within him, he doesn’t mind bleating about the failures of others in endeavors he would never bring himself to attempt.

Cheers, J. And as before: my sympathies. Now, run off — I believe there’s an Instapundit post from 2003 that’s been gnawing at you for some time!


iii. Made repeated attempts to reenter service during wartime.

Given that, at present, the military is all but enlisting department store manniquins, just how emotionally disturbed do you have to be in order to earn a “um…no thanks” from a desperate recruiter?

Just curious.


Thanks for your posting. I will now get the Vidal book “Burr”.


Damn you Cliff, damn you to hell for mentioning Laurens before me. 🙂

If you read their correspondence, it’s some really steamy stuff, very much of the “If I can’t touch you within a week, I’ll just absolutely die, DIE I tell you!” genre.

Of course, it’s explained away by the homophobes and apologists by this: “Um, that’s the way men wrote letters to each other in those days, they used that overheated language”. OK, sure [insert a million eye rolling emoticons here].

Good stuff Retardo, but that was a cheap shot at Ticky Tack at the end. He’s lame enough in so many other areas that there’s no need to go there.

Speaking of the pompous blowhard, how does he manage to show up in almost every single comment section that’s attached to something that might just mention his name in passing? Trackbacks? Googling his nickname 43 times a day?


Josh Trevino said,
July 14, 2006 at 19:55

Q.: What does J. do when not sleeping?

I’m so confused, Mr. Trevino, who is “J”? Please enlighten me, I just don’t understand. What does that letter have to do with the guy who wrote the above post?


I liked the post alot actually, therefore to all you naysayers:

*Glove slap to the face*
I demand satisfaction sirs! Meet me at ye olde den of inequity. I shall be partaking in unmentionable acts, and generally partying like it’s 1799.


I come to Sadly, No! for snark and the thrashing of Gary Ruppert, not for the life history of Alexander Hamilton.

Just kidding — nice research there.


Thanks for the informative post, Retardo.
I’ve never liked Hamilton, and now I know why. He was a proto-wingnut and a jerk. He’s like an ancient Goldstein.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Hamilton also responsible for the Electoral College? I seem to recall hearing that he thought the common man was too stupid to decide who to vote for, and the current system was some kind of a compromise.


Admittedly, in my younger years I used to devoutly wish for a well-read feminine type with gorgeous flaxen locks who would hold me as such an object. But if there’s one thing answered prayers teach us, it’s that you need to be exceedingly specific with them.

Uh…sorry…that is what deals with the Devil teach us.

*hears Tacky’s hiss as he retreats back to his lair*


I know Hamilton was an awful prat, but I can’t help but feel sorry for him. Imagine what it must have been like, to want social acceptance and validation so badly, and to know that, due to the mores of his time, he could never, never quite get there.

Hmm. You’re right, he’s the prototypical wingnut! No wonder Tacky loves him so 😉

Oh, and Cyrus, that whole ‘J’ business is Tacky’s way of hinting that he *gasp* knows Retardo’s real identity!!1!! And Tacky could ‘out’ him at any time! So beware his wrath! Etc. etc.

What a twerp.


Thanks Retardo, I really enjoyed this post! The Founders are all such facinating charaters they require just this sort of penetrating, clear-eyed analysis rather than, say, hagiography.


The John Laurens thing is pretty new to me.

For the folks who’ve asked for references and a stab at a bibliography: I did this from memory except, obviously, for the Father Coughlin reference which I see now I didn’t properly credit. It’s from a book called “The Politics of Unreason: Rightwing Extremism in America, 1790-1970”, by Lipset & Raab, and a very good book it is; and the child labor quote, which I cribbed from the first volume of Hofstadter’s Great Issues in American History. Also I should note again the assist from wikipedia on the slavery issue pertaining to Hamilton.

As for Vidal’s quotes, I know these and many like them by heart (which are from his essays). Burr, his novel, is an entertaining read and the history is sound *if* you follow the rules, which are:

If a main historical character says it or does it, it was actually said and done. The fictional characters are there to move plot but more importantly, are there to give viewpoints, address historical rumors, debate on historical characters’ motives.

Of the American Chronicle series, Burr is probably my favorite simply because of the period and characters involved; but as far as art goes, it’s Lincoln that’s justly held to be a masterpiece. What Vidal almost always gets right is the character and personality of the subject; if you want structural or people’s history you should go elsewhere.

I liked McCullough’s John Adams; I never read the Chernow book that Tacky flipped through once and then declared himself Master of History. American Sphinx by Ellis, about Jefferson, IMHO sucks. If you want to read about a Jefferson that will scare the shit out of you, and will disabuse you of any notion that the sage of Monticello was anything less than a reprehensible President, read Leonard Levy’s Jefferson and Civil Liberties: The Darker Side (actually this slim but dense volume is the only book Vidal mentioned as a source for Burr). Thomas Fleming’s Duel, to which I refered in the post, isn’t bad on the whole, and is particularly useful in showing what in the culture of the time drove ambitious men to do what they did.

The best thing is to read their own words. Hard to do for Burr as much of his papers and correspondence were lost at sea with Theodosia. But the Library of America has a good series of edited collections — I have the editions of Washington, Grant and Jefferson; would like to have the one of Hamilton. If you have the bucks, the complete works of Hamilton are available. As for a definitive biography of Jefferson, it’s probably Dumas Malone (I’ve read most of Jefferson & The Ordeal of Liberty, but none of the other volumes), which is great as a collection of facts, but is abyssmal on questions of character. LOA ahs also reissued Henry Adams’ histories of the early Republic (which I’d love to get hold of). I’ve read some excerpts but not much of the whole; anyway, he too has a bias in favor of his ancestor Adamses but on the whole that’s not a terrible bias to have.

At all costs stay away from anything by Fawn Brodie. I read something between half and a third of her bio of Jefferson and most atrocious it was. History-as-psychological-profile is on the whole a useful enterprise but not, alas, when the analyst is a Freudian nutcase.


I dont see how students cant be made to like studying the Founders. It’s like a huge soap opera, but one that mattered and one that still affects everyone today. These guys often hated each other, and when they weren’t shooting at each other a la Burr and Hamilton, they were hiring the nastiest sort of proxies in the press to assassinate one another’s character. Everyone save Washington, Gouvenor Morris and John Jay pretty much loathed Hamilton. Jefferson despised Hamilton, was chilly to Washington, came to detest Burr, managed to fall-out with John Adams — only Madison and Monroe remained his friends from day one (he and Adams reconciled in old age) — while he regarded his cousins John Marshall and John Randolph of Roanoke with loathing (the feeling was mutual on their parts).

One more point and I’ll shut up: Reading Jefferson is like reading the Bible in that you can find in him anything that fits your agenda. Christopher Hitchens last year wrote a book arguing that Jefferson was a proto-neocon. That’s a stretch on Jefferson as a whole but, really, if you want to isolate two parts of Jefferson’s career (as governor of Virginia and his second term as President), it can honestly be done as extrapolation. Of all of them, Jefferson is the one I’d want to meet; he’s the most interesting of an interesting lot and also the most human. Even past slavery, his most obvious sin, the man had terrible political and personal flaws; he was easily the most vindictive man in our history. He’s at once the sum of our angels and all of our devils.


I’ve never liked Hamilton, and now I know why. He was a proto-wingnut and a jerk. He’s like an ancient Goldstein.

Except that Hamilton really was a whip-smart man, maybe even a genius, while Goldstein of course is a cretin even by modern wingnut standards. But I know what you mean. The overcompensation, the bitterness and envy — very Goldsteinish. Hamilton could have gone the other way. What if he’d *not* aspired to the upper class which would never truly accept him and instead decided to champion the people with whom he really had common class-grounds? What a shame.

It’s probably the latent Xtianity in me but IMO a characteristic of a wingnuts that is nearly universal for them is their identification with the bully — be it the bully class or country or individual or tribe. Never with the objectively oppressed or the underdog. Put in a slightly different way, wingnuts are to politics and culture what bandwagon-jumpers are to sports. Hamilton was the worst sort of political elitist, a proto-social Darwinist who wasn’t about to do anything for the plebian rabble he considered grossly inferior.

As for the electoral college, I dont know or can’t remember who’s most responsible, though for some reason I’m thinking John Adams’s influence in its favor was probably strongest. No doubt Hamilton was for it considering the alternative. Most Federalists were like that. But so were many early Jeffersonians, particularly, again IIRC, Madison, whose function for Jeffersonism was typically rather like Bill Clinton’s proved to be in the 90s for liberalism.

But historical Goldsteinism you mention so historical Goldsteinism I give you this, which contains everything you need to know about the character of its awful subject.


RM: I did read Chernow’s bio of Hamilton (every page) and recommend it highly. Chernow’s portrait of Hamilton as the ultimate policy wonk with a chip the size of a 777 on his shoulder is not a novel view of Hamilton, but the book is readable and filled with lots of interesting detail.

Chernow does take the standard view of the Laurens business that lots of intense “I love you so much I could die” language does not a homosexual make. This conclusion also seems to be influenced by the fact that Hamilton was also quite the horndog with the ladies. In my view, the language of the letters that survived (it appears some were thought by later relatives to be, uh, too much and were destroyed) is still over the top and suspicious.


I fucking hate it when people fanwank away every fault their historical heroes had. Especially for the purpose of having that historical person better support their ideology.


I notice your eyes glazing

Well, yes, but because I’m crying to see someone else who has a passion for history and is willing to discuss/debate it publicly. So hard to be a history freak; the education system has managed to make the fascinating foundation of this country seem pre-determined, pre-packed and incredibly dull. Too bad the new regs make it so damned difficult to become a teacher. I’d LOVE to have at high school students with the soap-opera, mystery, comedy, spy thriller, animal planet that was the contact period and through to…well, today.

The more you read, the more you realize that we keep doing these things over and over, in slightly different ways and with slightly different results. At a certain point, you can accurately predict how a situation will turn out, or at least identify the most likely results. Now, wouldn’t it be cool if the government listened to people who can do that?


Thanks for answering my question. You’ve gotten me all curious now, I’m going to have to go look up electoral college stuffs. I’m glad there are some other history buffs around here. Not that I don’t love teh funny, but it’s nice to get some edumacation in every now and then.


I wasn’t paying a lot of attention in the 80s (what with the whole single-digit age and all) but was George Michael’s sexuality an open secret? I can’t imagine walking away from this video with any impression other than “gayer than gay and then some.”


I dont see how students cant be made to like studying the Founders. It’s like a huge soap opera, but one that mattered and one that still affects everyone today

It’s pretty much because history gets totally neutered in school, Retardo – even high school. They still teach the Great Men silliness, which is enough to turn anyone off to history. Our first leaders are presented as men without flaws, who took rational actions without the interference of passion, and that’s just *boring*. And I suspect that it’s done that way to avoid pissing off parents, which act can lead to lawsuits.


Oh, and Cyrus, that whole ‘J’ business is Tacky’s way of hinting that he *gasp* knows Retardo’s real identity!!1!! And Tacky could ‘out’ him at any time! So beware his wrath! Etc. etc.

No, no, no, that can’t be it. There MUST be a more reasonable explanation. The creator of Online Integrity would NEVER do something like that, right, Mr. Trevino? Right?


[…] “Thou bilious obsessive, so not unlike Kos! There be other castles athwart Kos’s ‘neathwise which I tunnel!” […]


[…] good while back, our Clif recommended Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. Well, I finally got a copy and started it the […]


(comments are closed)