Synopses & Reviews
Offering a reassessment of the tumultuous culture of politics on the national stage during America's early years, when Jefferson, Burr, and Hamilton were among the national leaders, Freeman shows how the rituals and rhetoric of honor provides ground rules for political combat. Illustrations.
In this extraordinary book, Joanne Freeman offers a major reassessment of political culture in the early years of the American republic. By exploring both the public actions and private papers of key figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton, Freeman reveals an alien and profoundly unstable political world grounded on the code of honor. In the absence of a party system and with few examples to guide America's experiment in republican governance, the rituals and rhetoric of honor provided ground rules for political combat. Gossip, print warfare, and dueling were tools used to jostle for status and form alliances in an otherwise unstructured political realm. These political weapons were all deployed in the tumultuous presidential election of 1800--an event that nearly toppled the new republic.
By illuminating this culture of honor, Freeman offers new understandings of some of the most perplexing events of early American history, including the notorious duel between Burr and Hamilton. A major reconsideration of early American politics, Affairs of Honor offers a profoundly human look at the anxieties and political realities of leaders struggling to define themselves and their role in the new nation.
A reassessment of the tumultuous culture of politics on the national stage during America's earliest years, when national leaders struggled to define themselves and their role in the new nation. The author shows how the rituals and rhetoric of honour provided ground rules for political combat.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 347-364) and index.