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Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth (American Political Thought)

Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth (American Political Thought) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth explores the shifting reputation of our most controversial founding father. Since the day Aaron Burr fired his fatal shot, Americans have tried to come to grips with Alexander Hamilton's legacy. Stephen Knott surveys the Hamilton image in the minds of American statesmen, scholars, literary figures, and the media, explaining why Americans are content to live in a Hamiltonian nation but reluctant to embrace the man himself.

Knott observes that Thomas Jefferson and his followers, and, later, Andrew Jackson and his adherents, tended to view Hamilton and his principles as "un-American." While his policies generated mistrust in the South and the West, where he is still seen as the founding "plutocrat," Hamilton was revered in New England and parts of the Mid-Atlantic states. Hamilton's image as a champion of American nationalism caused his reputation to soar during the Civil War, at least in the North. However, in the wake of Gilded Age excesses, progressive and populist political leaders branded Hamilton as the patron saint of Wall Street, and his reputation began to disintegrate.

Hamilton's status reached its nadir during the New Deal, Knott argues, when Franklin Roosevelt portrayed him as the personification of Dickensian cold-heartedness. When FDR erected the beautiful Tidal Basin monument to Thomas Jefferson and thereby elevated the Sage of Monticello into the American Pantheon, Hamilton, as Jefferson's nemesis, fell into disrepute. He came to epitomize the forces of reaction contemptuous of the "great beast"-the American people. In showing how the prevailing negative assessment misrepresents the man and his deeds, Knott argues for reconsideration of Hamiltonianism, which rightly understood has much to offer the American polity of the twenty-first century.

Remarkably, at the dawn of the new millennium, the nation began to see Hamilton in a different light. Hamilton's story was now the embodiment of the American dream—an impoverished immigrant who came to the United States and laid the economic and political foundation that paved the way for America's superpower status. Here in Stephen Knott's insightful study, Hamilton finally gets his due as a highly contested but powerful and positive presence in American national life.

Table of Contents

Preface

Death and Remembrance

1. "And Night Returning Brings Me No Relief"

Hamilton and the Founding Generation

2. Hamilton and the Jacksonian Era

The Monster Bank and the Coming of War

3. Hamilton Rises Again

Civil War and His Vindication

4. Hamilton's Gilded Age

His Renaissance

5. The Twilight of Hamiltonianism

1901-1928

6. Slouching Toward Oblivion

Hamilton as the New Deal's Great Beast

7. Hail Columbia!

Hamilton and Cold War America

8. At Century's End

A Hamilton Restoration on the Horizon?

9. Getting Right with Hamilton

"The Public Good Must Be Paramount"

Odd Destiny

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780700611577
Author:
Knott, Stephen F.
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Location:
Lawrence
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
United states
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Public opinion
Subject:
National characteristics, american
Subject:
Statesmen
Subject:
Public opinion -- United States.
Subject:
Biography-Political
Subject:
History & Theory
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Series:
American political thought
Series Volume:
no. 42
Publication Date:
20020231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
348
Dimensions:
9.29x6.33x1.24 in. 1.45 lbs.

Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Biography » Political
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
History and Social Science » US History » 18th Century
History and Social Science » US History » Presidents » Hamilton, Alexander

Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth (American Political Thought)
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Product details 348 pages University Press of Kansas - English 9780700611577 Reviews:
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