Alexander Hamilton - biografía, duelo y legado

Alexander Hamilton - biografía, duelo y legado

Nacido en la oscuridad de las Indias Occidentales Británicas, Alexander Hamilton se hizo famoso durante la Guerra Revolucionaria y se convirtió en uno de los Padres Fundadores más influyentes de Estados Unidos. Fue un apasionado defensor de un gobierno federal fuerte y desempeñó un papel clave en la defensa y ratificación de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos.

Como primer secretario del Tesoro de los Estados Unidos, Hamilton construyó una base financiera para la nueva nación, contra la feroz oposición del archirrival Thomas Jefferson. Las diferencias entre los dos hombres ayudarían a dar forma a los primeros partidos políticos de la nación. El estilo político franco y polarizante de Hamilton (y un escándalo sexual vergonzoso) limitaron sus perspectivas profesionales posteriores, y en 1804 fue asesinado en un duelo por Aaron Burr, otro enemigo político de toda la vida.

La infancia de Hamilton en el Caribe

Hamilton nació en 1755 o 1757 en la isla caribeña de Nevis. Su padre, el comerciante escocés James Hamilton, y su madre, Rachel Faucette Lavien, no estaban casados. Rachel todavía estaba casada con otro hombre en el momento del nacimiento de Hamilton, pero había dejado a su marido después de que él gastara gran parte de la fortuna de su familia y la encarcelara por adulterio.

El padre de Hamilton abandonó a la familia en 1766 y su madre murió dos años después. Hamilton fue contratado como empleado en una empresa comercial en St. Croix cuando tenía solo 11 años y obtuvo una mayor atención después de publicar una elocuente carta en la que describía un huracán que azotó la isla en 1772. Los lugareños ayudaron a recaudar dinero para enviarlo a Estados Unidos a estudiar. , y llegó a Nueva York a fines de 1772, justo cuando las colonias se preparaban para una guerra por la independencia de Gran Bretaña.

Levántate de la oscuridad

Mientras estudiaba en el King's College de Nueva York (ahora Universidad de Columbia), Hamilton se involucró en la causa colonial, escribiendo panfletos como "Una plena reivindicación de las medidas del Congreso", en los que defendía la propuesta del Primer Congreso Continental de embargar el comercio con Gran Bretaña. . Cuando comenzó la Guerra de la Independencia, recibió el encargo de dirigir una compañía de artillería en el Ejército Continental y luchó con valentía en las batallas de Trenton y Princeton, entre otras. En 1777, había captado la atención del comandante en jefe del ejército, el general George Washington, quien le asignó un puesto en su estado mayor.

La destreza como escritor y las habilidades militares de Hamilton lo ayudaron a prosperar como ayudante de campo de Washington y construyeron su reputación en la sociedad de la era de la Revolución. En 1780, se casó con Elizabeth Schuyler, hija de un rico e influyente terrateniente y oficial militar de Nueva York. Tendrían ocho hijos, y ella siguió siendo una fuente clave de lealtad y estabilidad para él durante los muchos años tumultuosos por venir.

Hamilton dejó el estado mayor de Washington en 1781, pero regresó al ejército brevemente ese mismo año cuando Washington le dio un mando de campo en la batalla de Yorktown. En ese choque decisivo, Hamilton se comportó de manera brillante, liderando un exitoso asalto que contribuyó a la rendición del general británico Lord Charles Cornwallis.

Nombrado por George Washington en 1781 para comandar un batallón de infantería ligera en la División del Marqués de Lafayette, Hamilton ayudó a liderar el ataque en la Batalla de Yorktown en Yorktown, Virginia, que se convertiría en la última gran batalla terrestre de la guerra. El asedio duró del 28 de septiembre al 19 de octubre de 1781, con los franceses atacando el fuerte británico en el Reducto 9 y Hamilton atacando el Reducto 10 simultáneamente. El avance de doble filo llevó a la rendición del general británico Charles Cornwallis.

"En la época de Hamilton, mostrar coraje en el campo de batalla era una de las pocas formas en que una persona desconocida ganaba fama", dice el historiador Michael E. Newton, autor de Alexander Hamilton: Los años formativos. “Hamilton tenía un genio y era muy trabajador, pero no provenía de una familia ilustre como la mayoría de los Padres Fundadores. Sabía que ganar la gloria en la batalla lo haría famoso y lo ayudaría a avanzar en su carrera ".

LEE MAS: Cómo los hombres de Alexander Hamilton sorprendieron al enemigo en la batalla de Yorktown

Brendan McConville, profesor de historia en la Universidad de Boston, agrega que Hamilton siempre había sido sensible a sus humildes raíces, por lo que era importante para él demostrar su valía durante la guerra. “Había estado con Washington como ayudante clave durante la mayor parte de la guerra, pero quería gloria en el campo de batalla”, dice. Hamilton "vio la victoria en el campo de batalla como una forma de ganar reputación".

Inicialmente, según Newton, el mando del asalto al Reducto 10 se le dio a otra persona. Hamilton se opuso, alegando que era su turno y que tenía antigüedad. “Cuando Washington anuló la decisión anterior y le dio la orden a Hamilton, Hamilton corrió hacia su amigo y segundo al mando, Nicholas Fish, y exclamó: '¡Lo tenemos! ¡Lo tenemos!' "

La estrategia de Patriot en el ataque fue acercarse a los reductos “en silencio con las armas descargadas, rodear al enemigo y obligarlo a rendirse rápidamente con pocas bajas”, según Newton.

“Fue un asalto nocturno sorpresa en una noche sin luna; no querían delatarse con destellos y el sonido de armas”, agrega McConville. “Debían usarse bayonetas para evitar revelar ubicaciones específicas y se ordenó silencio”.

El plan funcionó: las tropas de Hamilton tomaron el control del reducto en 10 minutos y con pocas muertes estadounidenses. Y la victoria le valió a Hamilton la reputación que buscaba.

"El informe de Hamilton sobre el asalto al Redoubt 10 se publicó en periódicos de todo el país, pero Hamilton no mencionó sus propios logros ese día a pesar de elogiar a quienes sirvieron bajo su mando", dice Newton. “El informe de Lafayette sobre el asalto también se imprimió en estos periódicos y elogió abundantemente a Hamilton por sus acciones en Yorktown. Como resultado, todo el país se enteró de la valentía y el liderazgo de Hamilton ".

Trabajar en la Constitución de EE. UU.

Después de la guerra, Hamilton estudió derecho, aprobó el colegio de abogados de Nueva York y estableció una práctica como abogado en la ciudad de Nueva York. En 1787, cuando se celebró una convención federal en Filadelfia para revisar los Artículos de la Confederación, Hamilton fue elegido como uno de los tres delegados de Nueva York. Hizo un famoso discurso de seis horas sobre su propio plan para un gobierno fuertemente centralizado, lo que generó críticas de que quería crear una monarquía.

Aunque Hamilton terminó teniendo poca influencia en la Constitución en sí, jugó un papel importante en su ratificación. Junto con James Madison y John Jay, Hamilton publicó una serie de 85 ensayos defendiendo el nuevo documento ante el pueblo estadounidense. Hamilton escribió no menos de 51 de estos Federalist Papers, y se convertirían en sus escritos más conocidos.

Hamilton como secretario del Tesoro

En 1789, Washington fue elegido por unanimidad como el primer presidente de los Estados Unidos; nombró a Hamilton como el primer secretario del Tesoro de los Estados Unidos. Buscando proporcionar estabilidad financiera duradera para la nueva nación, Hamilton defendió la importancia de un sistema bancario nacional y la asunción de deudas estatales por parte del gobierno federal. Las políticas financieras de Hamilton enfrentaron una fuerte oposición de Madison y Thomas Jefferson, entonces secretario de estado, quienes pensaron que habían puesto demasiado poder en manos del gobierno federal.

LEER MÁS: ¿De quién ganó la visión de Estados Unidos: la de Hamilton o la de Jefferson?

Constituido en 1791 y siguiendo el modelo del Banco de Inglaterra, el Primer Banco de los Estados Unidos logró impulsar el crecimiento económico y marcó el punto culminante de la influencia de Hamilton en la nueva nación. Mientras tanto, el debate continuó en el gabinete de Washington sobre el equilibrio de poder entre el gobierno federal y los estados. En 1793, cuando estalló la guerra entre Gran Bretaña y Francia, la división entre Hamilton (que favorecía la neutralidad) y Jefferson (que quería que Estados Unidos respaldara a Francia) había comenzado a dar forma a los primeros partidos políticos de la nación, los federalistas y los demócratas. Republicanos.

Pelea con Adams y el 'Panfleto de Reynolds'

Hamilton dejó su puesto en el Tesoro en 1795 y regresó a su práctica legal en Nueva York. Cuando Washington renunció después de dos mandatos, Hamilton redactó la mayor parte de su discurso de despedida, que advirtió memorablemente sobre los peligros del partidismo político excesivo y la influencia extranjera. Hamilton continuó ejerciendo influencia entre bastidores en la administración del sucesor de Washington, John Adams, y la animosidad entre ellos dividiría al partido federalista y ayudaría a asegurar la victoria de Jefferson en las elecciones presidenciales de 1800.

Antes de eso, cualquier esperanza que tenía Hamilton de ascender él mismo al cargo más alto de la nación se había visto frustrada por su participación en el primer escándalo sexual destacado de Estados Unidos. En el infame “Reynolds Pamphlet”, publicado en 1797, Hamilton hizo público su romance con una mujer casada, Maria Reynolds, para limpiar su nombre de cualquier sospecha de especulación financiera ilegal que involucraba a su esposo, James.

LEER MÁS: El escándalo sexual que arruinó la oportunidad de Alexander Hamilton de ser presidente

Hamilton y su esposa, Eliza, sufrieron mucho más que esta humillación en 1801, cuando su hijo mayor, Philip, murió en un duelo en el que había participado para defender el nombre de su padre. El oponente de Philip, George I. Eacker, había pronunciado un discurso en el que acusó a Hamilton de ser un monárquico.

La rivalidad de Hamilton con Aaron Burr

Incluso más allá de su amarga disputa con Jefferson, la personalidad combativa y el estilo de formulación de políticas de Hamilton lo llevaron a conflictos frecuentes. Según la historiadora Joanne Freeman, estuvo involucrado en no menos de 10 asuntos de honor (o casi duelos) antes del notorio duelo de 1804 que le quitó la vida.

LEER MÁS: El legado político de Burr murió en el duelo con Hamilton

Hamilton y Aaron Burr habían sido oponentes políticos desde el debate sobre la Constitución en 1789. Burr enfureció aún más a Hamilton al postularse con éxito contra el suegro de Hamilton, Philip Schuyler, para el Senado de los Estados Unidos en 1791. “Me temo que [Burr] no tiene principios tanto como hombre público como privado ", escribió Hamilton en 1792, y agregó que" siento que es un deber religioso oponerme a su carrera ".

Cumplió con esto en 1800, después de que las divisiones federalistas llevaran a un empate entre Jefferson y Burr, ambos demócratas-republicanos, en las elecciones presidenciales de 1800. Aunque Jefferson había sido durante mucho tiempo su rival político, Hamilton ayudó a convencer a los federalistas en el Congreso para que votaran a favor de Jefferson para romper el empate y derrotar a Burr.

En gran parte marginado por Jefferson como vicepresidente, Burr decidió postularse para gobernador de Nueva York en 1804. Después de perder, en gran parte debido a la oposición de poderosos rivales del partido, el frustrado Burr se obsesionó con un artículo de periódico, publicado durante la campaña para gobernador, que afirmó que Hamilton lo había insultado en una cena privada. Le escribió a Hamilton enfrentándolo sobre el desaire. Cuando Hamilton se negó a dar marcha atrás, Burr lo desafió a un duelo.

El 11 de julio de 1804, Hamilton y Burr se encontraron en el campo de duelo en Weehawken, Nueva Jersey. Ambos hombres dispararon. El disparo de Hamilton falló, de hecho, algunos historiadores creen que Hamilton nunca tuvo la intención de golpear a Burr, sino de "tirar el tiro". La bala de Burr, sin embargo, hirió de muerte a Hamilton, quien murió al día siguiente a causa de sus heridas.

LEER MÁS: Cómo la viuda de Alexander Hamilton, Eliza, continuó con su legado

Siglos más tarde, el legado de Hamilton se destacó con el debut del innovador musical, Hamilton. La actuación, escrita y protagonizada por Lin-Manuel Miranda, ofreció una nueva perspectiva de la biografía del padre fundador al casar el hip-hop con Broadway. Dominó en los Tony's de 2016, ganando 11 premios. En julio de 2020, se estrenó una versión filmada del musical en Disney +.

Fuentes

Ron Chernow, Hamilton (Penguin, 2004)

Editores de tiempo, TIME - Alexander Hamilton: el genio visionario de un padre fundador y su trágico destino (Libros de Time Incorporated, 2016)

Kieran J. O’Keefe, "Alexander Hamilton". Enciclopedia digital de George Washington, Monte Vernon.

Alexander Hamilton, El Hamilton esencial: cartas y otros escritos. Editado con una introducción y un comentario de Joanne Freeman (Library of America, 2017)


Datos de Alexander Hamilton: primeros años

  • Alexander Hamilton nació y pasó parte de su infancia en Charlestown, la capital de la isla de Nevis, en las Islas de Sotavento. Nevis fue una de las Antillas Británicas.
  • Hamilton nació fuera del matrimonio de Rachel Faucette, una mujer casada de ascendencia parcial de hugonotes franceses, y James A. Hamilton, el cuarto hijo del laird escocés Alexander Hamilton de Grange, Ayrshire.
  • Su madre se mudó con el joven Hamilton a St. Croix en las Islas Vírgenes, luego gobernada por Dinamarca.
  • No es seguro si el año del nacimiento de Hamilton & rsquos fue 1757 o 1755; la mayor parte de la evidencia histórica después de la llegada de Hamilton & rsquos a Norteamérica apoya la idea de que nació en 1757, y muchos historiadores habían aceptado esta fecha de nacimiento.
  • Hamilton enumeró su año de nacimiento como 1757 cuando llegó por primera vez a las 13 colonias originales. Celebró su cumpleaños el 11 de enero.
  • La madre de Hamilton & rsquos había estado casada anteriormente con Johann Michael Lavien de St. Croix. Rachel dejó a su esposo y primer hijo, Peter, viajando a St. Kitts en 1750, donde conoció a James Hamilton.
  • Hamilton y Rachel se mudaron juntos al lugar de nacimiento de Rachel & rsquos, Nevis, donde ella había heredado propiedades de su padre. La pareja y sus dos hijos fueron James Jr. y Alexander.
  • Debido a que los padres de Alexander Hamilton no estaban legalmente casados, la Iglesia de Inglaterra le negó la membresía y la educación en la escuela de la iglesia. Hamilton recibió "tutoría individual" y clases en una escuela privada dirigida por una directora judía. Hamilton complementó su educación con una biblioteca familiar de 34 libros.
  • James Hamilton abandonó a Rachel y a sus hijos, supuestamente a & ldquospar [e] [Rachel] por un cargo de bigamia & hellip después de descubrir que su primer marido tenía la intención de divorciarse de ella según la ley danesa por motivos de adulterio y deserción. & Rdquo A partir de entonces, Rachel mantuvo a sus hijos en St. Croix, manteniendo una pequeña tienda en Christiansted.
  • Contrajo una fiebre severa y murió el 19 de febrero de 1768 a la 1:02 am, dejando a Hamilton huérfano.
  • En el tribunal de sucesiones, Rachel & rsquos & ldquofirst marido se apoderó de su patrimonio & rdquo y obtuvo los pocos objetos de valor que Rachel había poseído, incluida la plata del hogar. Se subastaron muchos artículos, pero un amigo compró los libros family & rsquos y se los devolvió al joven Hamilton.
  • Hamilton se convirtió en un empleado en Beekman y Cruger, que comerciaba con las colonias de Nueva Inglaterra y quedó a cargo de la empresa durante cinco meses en 1771, mientras el propietario estaba en el mar.
  • Él y su hermano mayor James Jr. fueron adoptados brevemente por un primo, Peter Lytton, pero cuando Lytton se suicidó, los hermanos se separaron.
  • James fue aprendiz de un carpintero local, mientras que Alexander fue adoptado por un comerciante de Nevis, Thomas Stevens.
  • Hamilton continuó trabajando como empleado, pero siguió siendo un ávido lector, más tarde desarrolló un interés por la escritura y comenzó a desear una vida fuera de la pequeña isla donde vivía.
  • Escribió un ensayo publicado en el Gaceta Real Danés-Americana, un relato detallado de un huracán que golpeó con fuerza a Christiansted el 30 de agosto de 1772. El ensayo de Hamilton & rsquos sería un punto de inflexión en su vida. El ensayo impresionó a los líderes de la comunidad, que recaudaron fondos para enviar al joven Hamilton a las colonias para su educación.

Datos de Alexander Hamilton: Educación

  • En el otoño de 1772, Hamilton llegó a la colonia media, Nueva Jersey, en Elizabethtown.
  • En 1773 estudió con Francis Barber en Elizabethtown como preparación para el trabajo universitario. Estuvo bajo la influencia de William Livingston, un destacado intelectual y revolucionario, con quien vivió durante un tiempo en su Liberty Hall.
  • Hamilton ingresó en King & rsquos College en la ciudad de Nueva York en el otoño de 1773.
  • En lo que se acredita como su primera aparición pública, el 6 de julio de 1774 en el poste de la libertad en King & rsquos College, el amigo de Hamilton & rsquos, Robert Troup, habló de la capacidad de Hamilton & rsquos para explicar clara y concisamente los derechos y razones que los patriotas tienen en su caso contra los británicos.
  • Hamilton, Troup y otros cuatro estudiantes formaron una sociedad literaria sin nombre que se considera un precursor de la Sociedad Philolexian.
  • Cuando el clérigo de la Iglesia de Inglaterra Samuel Seabury publicó una serie de panfletos que promovían la causa lealista en 1774, Hamilton respondió de forma anónima con sus primeros escritos políticos: Una reivindicación plena de las medidas del Congreso y El granjero refutado.
  • Seabury esencialmente trató de provocar miedo en las colonias y su principal objetivo era detener el potencial de una unión entre las colonias. Hamilton publicó dos artículos adicionales atacando la Ley de Quebec y es posible que también haya escrito las quince entregas anónimas de & ldquoThe Monitor & rdquo for Holt & rsquos New York Journal.
  • Aunque Hamilton era un partidario de la Revolución Americana en esta etapa anterior a la guerra, no aprobó las represalias de la mafia contra los leales. El 10 de mayo de 1775, Hamilton ganó el crédito por salvar a su presidente de la universidad, Myles Cooper, un leal, de una turba enfurecida al hablar con la multitud el tiempo suficiente para que Cooper escapara.

REVOLUCIONARIO AMERICANO

Mientras Hamilton estudiaba en una universidad en la ciudad de Nueva York, las colonias estadounidenses estaban al borde de la guerra con Gran Bretaña (ahora llamada Reino Unido) para determinar quién gobernaría la tierra. Hamilton habló en mítines y publicó artículos en apoyo de la lucha estadounidense, y cuando comenzó la Guerra Revolucionaria en 1775, dejó la escuela y se unió al ejército.

Hamilton era un luchador intrépido, pero un capitán aún mejor: estaba organizado y sabía cómo conseguir los suministros que necesitaban sus soldados. Incluso impresionó a George Washington, entonces comandante del ejército, quien le pidió a Hamilton que se uniera a su estado mayor. Hamilton se desempeñó como asistente de Washington durante cuatro años, ayudándolo a planificar batallas, administrar personal y escribir cartas.

El joven oficial escribía a menudo al Congreso Continental (el gobierno de las colonias americanas), pidiendo alimentos y suministros para las tropas. Observó cómo el Congreso Continental trataba de averiguar cómo dirigir el nuevo país (el Congreso Continental había aprobado la Declaración de Independencia unos años antes) y pensó que demasiados miembros estaban más preocupados por los derechos de los estados, no por todo el país. . Hamilton creía que la nación nunca tendría éxito a menos que todos los estados se unieran como una unión.


Cómo trabajaba Alexander Hamilton

El legado de Alexander Hamilton, como el de muchas figuras políticas, es complicado. Cuando él y Burr se volvieron para enfrentarse, con las pistolas en alto, su reputación ya estaba en decadencia. Muchos estadounidenses todavía lo recordaban por su romance con Maria Reynolds. La influencia política que una vez disfrutó estaba menguando, y luchó por ser el hacedor de reyes federalista que alguna vez fue. Su reciente mudanza a The Grange, una casa de campo al norte de la ciudad de Nueva York, había estirado sus finanzas, una situación que empeoró con algunos intentos fallidos de especulación de tierras [fuente: Archivos Nacionales]. Para empeorar las cosas, su temprana muerte permitió que sus enemigos políticos lo destrozaran en sus escritos posteriores. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson y James Madison tenían cosas malas que decir sobre el indefenso Hamilton, llamándolo fuera de contacto con el hombre común y sugiriendo que en el fondo prefería una monarquía amiga de Inglaterra [fuente: Hartle].

Pero las cosas mejorarían para Hamilton, incluso si él no estuviera presente para verlo. Por un lado, los académicos ahora le dan crédito a Hamilton con el tremendo éxito de la economía estadounidense en sus primeros años. Su énfasis en la fabricación, la infraestructura y las finanzas ayudó a fomentar la independencia de Gran Bretaña no solo en un sentido político, sino también en un sentido económico. Los académicos también ven la influencia de Hamilton en la economía actual. Él fue quien primero le dio al gobierno un papel en la economía estadounidense, creando cosas como una deuda nacional y un banco nacional, cosas que son ciertamente controvertidas pero que sin duda están arraigadas en el sistema financiero actual. Y el propio Hamilton no podría haber imaginado lo que algún día ayudaría a crear su promoción de la industria y los negocios: la economía más grande que el mundo haya visto jamás. No es de extrañar que haya aparecido en más denominaciones de moneda estadounidense que cualquier otra persona [fuentes: Gass, Cohen y DeLong, Hartle].

A pesar de todos estos logros, Hamilton no ha recibido tanta atención como otros padres fundadores. Pero eso puede estar cambiando gracias al musical Hamilton, interpretada y escrita por Lin-Manuel Miranda. En 2016, se llevó a casa el Grammy al Mejor Álbum Musical, lo que provocó que las búsquedas de Google de la frase & quot¿Quién es Alexander Hamilton? & Quot se dispararan en un 400 por ciento [fuente: Falcone]. Entonces no se convirtió en presidente, pero ahora tiene un musical. ¡Toma eso, Jefferson!

Publicado originalmente: 7 de abril de 2016

Nota del autor: cómo trabajaba Alexander Hamilton

¿Cómo podemos todos saber tan poco sobre un hombre cuya imagen está en el dinero que manejamos casi todos los días? Esa es la pregunta que me hice después de escribir este artículo y descubrir la fascinante e influyente figura que realmente era Alexander Hamilton. Desde su viaje de la pobreza a la riqueza hasta sus innovadoras políticas económicas y sus tórridos asuntos, había algo que agradaba a todos en la historia de Hamilton. Tal vez la falta de interés se deba simplemente a que, como dijo un autor, fue "el padre fundador más importante que nunca llegó a ser presidente". Amamos a nuestros presidentes.


Alexander Hamilton

El # 1 New York Times bestseller, y la inspiración para el exitoso musical de Broadway Hamilton!

El autor ganador del premio Pulitzer, Ron Chernow, presenta una biografía histórica de Alexander Hamilton, el padre fundador que galvanizó, inspiró, escandalizó y dio forma a la nación recién nacida.

"Biografía a gran escala en su máxima expresión: completa, perspicaz, siempre justa y magníficamente escrita... Un libro realmente genial". —David McCullough

“Un retrato robusto de cuerpo entero, en mi opinión el mejor jamás escrito, del fundador más brillante, carismático y peligroso de todos”. —Joseph Ellis

Pocas figuras en la historia de Estados Unidos han sido debatidas más acaloradamente o más incomprendidas que Alexander Hamilton. La biografía de Chernow le da a Hamilton lo que le corresponde y aclara las cosas, ilustrando hábilmente que la grandeza política y económica de los Estados Unidos de hoy es el resultado de los innumerables sacrificios de Hamilton para defender ideas que a menudo fueron disputadas salvajemente durante su tiempo. "Repudiar su legado", escribe Chernow, "es, en muchos sentidos, repudiar el mundo moderno". Chernow relata aquí la turbulenta vida de Hamilton: un huérfano ilegítimo, en gran parte autodidacta del Caribe, salió de la nada para tomar América por asalto, y se convirtió en el ayudante de campo de George Washington en el Ejército Continental, coautor de The Federalist Papers, fundar el Banco de Nueva York, liderar el Partido Federalista y convertirse en el primer Secretario del Tesoro de los Estados Unidos. Los historiadores han contado durante mucho tiempo la historia del nacimiento de Estados Unidos como el triunfo de los ideales democráticos de Jefferson sobre las intenciones aristocráticas de Hamilton. Chernow presenta a un hombre completamente diferente, cuyas ambiciones legendarias estaban motivadas no solo por el interés propio, sino también por un patriotismo apasionado y una voluntad obstinada de construir las bases de la prosperidad y el poder estadounidenses. El suyo es un Hamilton mucho más humano de lo que hemos conocido antes, desde su vergüenza por su nacimiento hasta sus ardientes aspiraciones, desde sus relaciones íntimas con amigos de la infancia hasta sus peleas titánicas con Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe y Burr, y de su relación muy pública con Maria Reynolds y su amoroso matrimonio con su leal esposa Eliza. Y nunca antes ha habido un relato más vívido de la famosa y misteriosa muerte de Hamilton en un duelo con Aaron Burr en julio de 1804.

La biografía de Chernow no es solo un retrato de Hamilton, sino la historia del nacimiento de Estados Unidos visto a través de su figura más central. En un momento crítico para mirar atrás a nuestras raíces, Alexander Hamilton recordará a los lectores el propósito de nuestras instituciones y nuestra herencia como estadounidenses.


Uno de los padres fundadores de Estados Unidos

Aunque Hamilton apoyó un gobierno de tipo parlamentario, es más famoso por sus trabajos sobre la Constitución de los Estados Unidos y los Papeles Federalistas. Fue un firme partidario de la Constitución y ayudó en su creación y ejecución. También fue el autor principal de Federalist Papers, un comentario clásico sobre los principios del gobierno y el derecho constitucional estadounidense. Cuando George Washington fue elegido presidente, Alexander Hamilton fue nombrado primer secretario del Tesoro de Estados Unidos. A Hamilton se le atribuye el establecimiento del sistema financiero America & rsquos y tuvo mucho cuidado en establecer el crédito America & rsquos en el país y en el extranjero. Sus opiniones sobre la estructura y función del banco nacional fueron innovadoras y siguen siendo la inspiración detrás de los sistemas económicos inglés y alemán. Hamilton también estableció una filosofía estadounidense sobre política exterior e influyó en George Washington para que afirmara una posición de neutralidad con respecto a la Revolución Francesa.


Cómo trabajaba Alexander Hamilton

Transpórtese de regreso a la clase de historia: sus compañeros de clase, algunos dormidos, se sientan en esos escritorios de una sola pieza, todos alineados y frente al maestro. Términos como & quot; Papeles federalistas & quot & quot; Mint, & quot y & quot; Aaron Burr & quot se destacan en tiza blanca sobre una pizarra verde manchada. "¿Por qué lo llaman pizarra si es verde?", se pregunta, mientras su mente va a la deriva mientras el maestro menciona algo sobre un duelo. Espera, ¿un duelo? ¿Dónde la gente se dispara entre sí? Eso es interesante. Ella está hablando de Alexander Hamilton, ya sabes, el tipo del billete de $ 10.

A menos que sea un aficionado a la historia, eso podría ser todo lo que recuerde sobre este Padre Fundador. Pero dada la popularidad del exitoso musical de Broadway Hamilton, podría ser el momento de repasar un poco su biografía. "Mi nombre es Alexander Hamilton", rapea el actor principal Lin-Manuel Miranda (sí, rapea) en el número de apertura, y hay un millón de cosas que no he hecho. Pero espere ". Afortunadamente, no tendrá que esperar mucho para saber lo que hizo, ya que tenemos todo lo que necesita saber sobre la vida y el legado del & quot; padre fundador de diez dólares & quot; aquí mismo.

Comencemos por el principio, y fue todo un comienzo. Hamilton, nacido en 1757 en la isla caribeña de Nevis, era hijo ilegítimo de James Hamilton, un pobre comerciante escocés, y Rachel Faucett, hija de un plantador inglés-francés. Después de trasladar a su familia a St. Croix, James abandonó a sus dos hijos ya Rachel, quien murió en 1768. Dejado para valerse por sí mismo, Alexander comenzó a trabajar para Beekman y Cruger mercantil. El propietario de la empresa reconoció rápidamente el talento del joven huérfano y pagó para enviarlo al King's College (ahora Universidad de Columbia) en Nueva York [fuentes: Archivos Nacionales, Sociedad Histórica de Nueva York].

Hamilton se inscribió en King's en 1773 y, como cualquier estudiante universitario, disfrutó de su parte de actividades extracurriculares. Pero la principal diversión de Hamilton no eran los deportes, las fiestas o las chicas, sino que sembró su avena salvaje escribiendo panfletos políticos. Todavía un adolescente, Hamilton se hizo un nombre por sí mismo cuando escribió la obra pro estadounidense "Una plena reivindicación de las medidas del Congreso", que defendía un embargo comercial propuesto con Gran Bretaña. No fue una sorpresa, entonces, cuando el joven tizón se unió al Ejército Continental poco después de que las colonias declararan su independencia de Gran Bretaña en 1776. Allí conoció a George Washington, y fue entonces cuando las cosas se pusieron realmente emocionantes para Hamilton [fuente: Sociedad Histórica de Nueva York].


Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton nació en Charlestown, Nevis, en las Indias Occidentales el 11 de enero de 1757 (o 1755), hijo de James Hamilton, un comerciante escocés de St. Christopher, y Rachel Fawcett. El padre de Rachel era médico hugonote y plantador. Cuando era muy joven, se había casado y se había divorciado de un propietario danés en St. Croix. Después de su divorcio, el tribunal prohibió que se volviera a casar. El matrimonio con James Hamilton era socialmente aceptable en las Indias Occidentales, pero no en otros lugares. La unión resultó en el nacimiento de dos hijos, pero vivían separados menos de 10 años después. Rachel y sus hijos vivían en St. Croix, dependientes de sus parientes. Ella falleció en 1768. Su padre sobrevivió hasta 1799 y mdash, pero los niños eran prácticamente huérfanos antes de que fueran adolescentes.

A la edad de 12 años, Hamilton comenzó a trabajar como empleado en una tienda general, pero el niño tenía un intelecto agudo y metas ambiciosas. Fue un excelente escritor, tanto en francés como en inglés. En 1772, sus tías escatimaron y ahorraron para enviar al joven intelectual a Nueva York para recibir educación formal.

Una impresión de 1859 de King's College,
como apareció en 1756

En 1773 ingresó en King's College (ahora Columbia). Incluso cuando era joven tenía un fuerte conocimiento de los problemas políticos relacionados con el gobierno británico y estadounidense, que exhibió en una serie de folletos anónimos tan perspicaces que se atribuyeron a John Jay. Tenía solo 17 años en ese momento.

Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) con el uniforme de artillería de Nueva York
Capilla Alonzo

En 1775 se retiró de sus estudios universitarios y fundó una empresa militar de voluntarios. El 14 de marzo de 1776, Hamilton fue nombrado Capitán de la Compañía Provincial de Artillería de Nueva York. Mostró gran habilidad e inteligencia en sus deberes con la artillería, y Nathanael Greene lo notó. Se le pidió que sirviera en el personal de Lord Stirling, lo cual rechazó, y continuó su carrera con artillería en Long Island, Harlem Heights, White Plains, y vio acción en Trenton y Princeton en la campaña de Nueva Jersey.

Washington reconoció las habilidades de liderazgo de Hamilton, así como su extraordinario talento para escribir. Hamilton fue ascendido a teniente coronel y fue nombrado ayudante de campo el 1 de marzo de 1777. Con solo veinte años en ese momento, Hamilton ya había logrado logros notables.

Hamilton pasó el invierno de 1777-1778 con Washington y el Ejército Continental en Valley Forge. Fue durante este invierno que el general de brigada Horatio Gates intentó sin éxito incriminar a Hamilton durante la Cabal de Conway.

Retrato de la Sra. Alexander Hamilton
Ralph Earl, alrededor de 1787
Pintado mientras Earl estaba en el
Cárcel de la ciudad de Nueva York

El 14 de diciembre de 1780, Alexander Hamilton se casó con Elizabeth Schuyler, hija de Philip Schuyler, un general de la Guerra Revolucionaria, y Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler. Tanto los Schuylers como los Rensselaers eran familias neoyorquinas muy adineradas y prominentes. Fue un matrimonio feliz que produjo ocho hijos.

El 16 de febrero de 1781, Hamilton se peleó con Washington y su relación se agrió para siempre. Describe el incidente en una carta a su suegro fechada el 18 de febrero de 1791:

. . . Hace dos días, el general y yo nos cruzamos en las escaleras. Me dijo que quería hablar conmigo. Le respondí que lo atendería de inmediato. I went below, and delivered Mr. Tilghman a letter to be sent to the commissary, containing an order of a pressing and interesting nature.

Returning to the General, I was stopped on the way by the Marquis de La Fayette, and we conversed together about a minute on a matter of business. He can testify how impatient I was to get back [. . .] I met him [Washington] at the head of the stairs, where, accosting me in an angry tone, "Colonel Hamilton," said he, "you have kept me waiting at the head of the stairs these ten minutes. I must tell you sir, you treat me with disrespect. I replied without petulancy, but with decision: "I am not conscious of it, sir, but since you have thought it necessary to tell me so, we part." "Very Well, sir," said he, "if it be your choice," or something to this effect, and we separated. I sincerely believe my absence, which gave so much umbrage, did not last two minutes.

Attempts at reconciliation were not successful. Several months later, in July, Hamilton was given command of a battalion of Lafayette's Division in Moses Hazen's Brigade. He led a successful attack at Yorktown, contributing to the final American victory there. He continued in the military for a couple of years when he was made Colonel on September 30, 1783. He left the service by the end of the year.


Reseñas de la comunidad

Disclaimers: 1) I won this copy through a First Reads giveaway here at Goodreads and 2) I am a huge fan of Alexander Hamilton.

Ron Chernow’s book Alexander Hamilton is what started my near Hamilton obsession. Hamilton is certainly an underappreciated founding father and I strongly oppose the proposed removal of his image from the $10 bill. I would prefer to see Jackson removed from the $20 if someone has to go but, I digress.

I have also read, Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr. The villain. N Disclaimers: 1) I won this copy through a First Reads giveaway here at Goodreads and 2) I am a huge fan of Alexander Hamilton.

Ron Chernow’s book Alexander Hamilton is what started my near Hamilton obsession. Hamilton is certainly an underappreciated founding father and I strongly oppose the proposed removal of his image from the $10 bill. I would prefer to see Jackson removed from the $20 if someone has to go but, I digress.

I have also read, Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr. The villain. Nancy Isenberg did a nice job with a very unfavorable topic. All-in-all, I did like that book too but how can you “love” a villain.

Duo bellum is the Latin from which the word “duel” is derived. It translates to War of Two which is this book’s title--clever. That’s one of those weird facts that will stick with me forever. The author did a fantastic job on writing the alternating biographies of Hamilton and “he who must not be named”. In my readings of the individual biographies mentioned above, I never had the sense of how closely their lives paralleled even though they came from very difference socio-economic backgrounds. I was unaware of the similarities—including their dalliances with the ladies. They were real horn dogs in that regard “he who must not be named” even more. I would classify “he who must not be named” as a Casanova as it seemed almost a game to him. He would even share his coquetries with his highly educated daughter, Theodosia. What a unhappy life she must have lived. “He who must not be named” was always critical of her writing and would send her notes back to her with corrections. Sounds harsh yes, but it did make her one of the most intelligent humans of that time.

The duel played only a small part of the book but the road leading to it and the understanding of why it came about was well documented for me. The part I enjoyed the most was “he who must not be named's” reaction and flight out of the area in the days afterward. Though I knew most of the story, it was still astounding to read of this former Vice President’s treasonous activities toward the United States.

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn the complete “duel” story of which we are all familiar. I am certain you will learn something new. . más

I didn’t know much about the 1804 duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr before I read this double biography, but that (of course) didn’t stop me from having an opinion: Hamilton, good Burr (the “victor”), bad. Learning more about them was revelatory and provided some well needed nuance. John Sedgwick takes readers back to the beginnings of each man&aposs life, revealing surprising similarities and stark contrasts. Both men fought in the Revolutionary War, practiced law in New York City, an I didn’t know much about the 1804 duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr before I read this double biography, but that (of course) didn’t stop me from having an opinion: Hamilton, good Burr (the “victor”), bad. Learning more about them was revelatory and provided some well needed nuance. John Sedgwick takes readers back to the beginnings of each man's life, revealing surprising similarities and stark contrasts. Both men fought in the Revolutionary War, practiced law in New York City, and held political office--Hamilton worked closely with George Washington and was the first Treasury Secretary, while Burr was Vice President during Thomas Jefferson’s initial term as President. But their contrasts started at birth.

Alexander Hamilton was born out of wedlock on a Caribbean island, and then orphaned early and put to work. At twelve he had charge of the Beekman and Cruger shipping business, a job that would have been daunting for most men twice his age. When he was sixteen a ferocious hurricane ravaged the island, but instead of hiding inside Hamilton ventured out to see the storm and then wrote a dramatic account of it for the island’s newspaper. His literary skills brought him to the attention of Hugh Knox, a local minister, who arranged for Hamilton to be educated in America. Hamilton never returned to the island.

Aaron Burr initially led a more privileged life than Hamilton because he was born into a kind of religious dynasty. His father was a minister and the second president of a prestigious New Jersey college that later became Princeton University, and his grandfather was Jonathan Edwards, a Calvinist minister and a leader of the Great Awakening religious revival of the 1730’s-40’s. Maybe because of his background Burr was driven to accelerate and excel in his studies, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree when he was just sixteen. Burr was a great admirer of early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, and he made sure that his beloved daughter Theodosia was as well educated as any boy.

Sedgwick’s penetrating account of the eventually fatal rivalry between the two men provides fascinating insights into the personalities involved and the history of their time. The love lives of several Founding Fathers are laid bare and I was intrigued by deportment differences between Federalists and Republicans. Those supporting the Federalist party made formal bows upon meeting and considered the handshake a vulgar Republican custom. George Washington in particular couldn’t bare to be touched. One man who patted Washington on the shoulder to win a bet deeply regretted it afterwards, being almost undone by Washington’s cold stare.

Federalists and Republicans even admired different doctors--Republicans preferred old fashioned bleeding and purging styles of medicine while Federalists like Hamilton favored gentler cures with doctors who allowed the body time to heal itself. America’s polarized politics have a long history.

While I couldn’t understand how he did it, I enjoyed reading about reactions to Hamilton’s financial alchemy. He somehow managed to turn the country’s prodigious debt into money that could be invested in things that would help the young nation grow economically, like canals and roads, but Republicans like Thomas Jefferson, who envisioned a society made up of gentlemen farmers, considered the whole business unseemly.

Moving, informative, and entertaining, the book takes the story forward many years after the Hamilton/Burr duel, including Burr’s audacious attempt to hijack some Louisiana Purchase lands to found his own republic and ending with Burr’s death in 1836. . más

Sedgwick has written a parallel biography of two prominent figures from the Federalist era whose lives came together on the dueling ground. I have always been interested in Alexander Hamilton and have read most of the biographies about him. Hamilton was the chief aide to George Washington during the American Revolution and author of most of the Federalist Papers. He was the first secretary of the Treasury. Aaron Burr was a prominent attorney and was Vice President under Thomas Jefferson. I found Sedgwick has written a parallel biography of two prominent figures from the Federalist era whose lives came together on the dueling ground. I have always been interested in Alexander Hamilton and have read most of the biographies about him. Hamilton was the chief aide to George Washington during the American Revolution and author of most of the Federalist Papers. He was the first secretary of the Treasury. Aaron Burr was a prominent attorney and was Vice President under Thomas Jefferson. I found it most interesting to be able to compare the two men’s lives side by side I feel as if I have a better understanding of the two men.

Sedgwick goes into the emotional and psychological makeup of the pair. The author presents evenhanded and insightful profiles of the two men. He states that Hamilton was hyperactive and produced volumes of work and had an intense devotion to the Federalist cause. Burr was a brooding and libidinous and tended to communicate in code. Sedgwick states he was inspired by Gore Vidal’s novel “Burr” (1973). The book is well written and meticulously researched. Sedgwick is a great storyteller therefore the book reads almost like a novel.

Sedgwick wrote about his own famous family in his book “In My Blood” (2007) from the revolutionary era of Theodore Sedgwick to modern day actress Kyra Sedgwick. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. P. J. Ochlan did a good job narrating the book. The book is fairly long at about 18 hours.
. más

John Sedgwick, the author of War of Two, is a direct descendant of the recipient of one of the last letters Alexander Hamilton wrote, the night before his fatal duel with Aaron Burr. The author’s somewhat tangential connection to this dramatic historical episode serves as his segue into this account of the events and interpersonal relationships that led to the duel.

Sedgwick’s writing style is entertaining and fast-paced. It’s a nice change from the dry recitation of facts often found in this kin John Sedgwick, the author of War of Two, is a direct descendant of the recipient of one of the last letters Alexander Hamilton wrote, the night before his fatal duel with Aaron Burr. The author’s somewhat tangential connection to this dramatic historical episode serves as his segue into this account of the events and interpersonal relationships that led to the duel.

Sedgwick’s writing style is entertaining and fast-paced. It’s a nice change from the dry recitation of facts often found in this kind of book. Unfortunately, he is also more than a little cavalier about pesky historical details. He includes a bibliography and some vague endnotes, but does not cite specific references or evidence for a lot of unproven statements that are not accepted parts of the historical record. Other statements are just patently incorrect.

There has been a lot written about Hamilton, Burr, and the founding era over the past 200 or so years. Some works are conscientious about historical evidence, but others are blatantly partisan, especially when dealing with conflict among various founding fathers. The conflict between Hamilton and Burr is obviously the central one here, but just in general, the founders disagreed a lot, they gossiped, they were not always truthful, and they wrote a lot of things down for people to comb through later. Historians over the years have picked and chosen what to believe and what to discount. Some stories get propagated from generation to generation without ever being substantiated.

Sedgwick cites a lot of completely unproven tales as if they were accepted history. That would be bad enough, but on top of that, he often makes rather incredible leaps into inferring the states of mind of historical figures. For example, the author cites the dubious rumor, without saying it was a rumor, that Hamilton looked a lot like his childhood friend, Edward Stevens, and may have been the son of Thomas Stevens rather than James Hamilton. “Properly, Alexander Hamilton was likely not Alexander Hamilton at all, but Alexander Stevens…If [Hamilton’s mother] had indeed been unfaithful, that would explain [her first husband’s] outrage and his insistence she be thrown in prison—depriving her of the ability to marry again and thus making Hamilton legitimate” (pg. 31). It’s a convoluted inference based on a flimsy premise and doesn’t really make any sense, since her imprisonment happened before Hamilton was born, not as a reaction to his birth, and was not the reason she couldn’t marry again.

Speaking of Hamilton’s birth, Sedgwick wades into the controversy over when exactly it took place while repeatedly confusing years and ages himself. He seems to accept without question the theory that Hamilton lied about his age when he came to the colonies, cutting off two years to make himself seem younger. This is not a settled issue. Many historians accept the birth year stated by Hamilton, his family members, and the engraving on his tombstone. There is some evidence that he was born two years earlier than he claimed, but Sedgwick doesn’t cite it. Instead, he surmises that Hamilton must have learned about Aaron Burr from a mutual acquaintance and heard how Burr graduated from Princeton at age fifteen. Hamilton was eighteen (or sixteen) when he arrived in New Jersey and still had to attend a preparatory school before starting college. Sedgwick says, “This delay made the age adjustment all the more imperative. Hamilton agreed to attend Elizabethtown Academy, just as Burr had. Or, perhaps, because Burr had” (pg. 39). It may make a good story that Hamilton had it in for Burr from the moment he arrived in the future United States, but it is completely speculative, rooted in a very questionable assumption.

The author references a flirtatious letter written by Hamilton to a female friend as being “pushy” for a sixteen year old. It’s a fair point, except that Hamilton was twenty (or twenty-two) when he wrote it (pg. 42). This makes even less sense, considering Sedgwick’s confident statements about Hamilton’s age. If Sedgwick’s own assertion about Hamilton’s birth year is correct, he wasn’t even in the American colonies at that age, let alone writing audacious letters to American women.

In discussing Hamilton’s extramarital affair with Maria Reynolds, Sedgwick states that the daughter of Maria Reynolds could have been Hamilton’s because she “was conceived after Reynolds came to know him” (pg. 319), but this is not true, as Sedgwick should have known from his sources (see Syrett, Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Introductory Note: From Oliver Wolcott, note #6 at https://founders.archives.gov/documen. ). Susan Reynolds was probably around four or five at the time of the affair. She was even mentioned in James Reynolds’s letters to Hamilton, when he said he wanted to leave his wife and take their daughter with him. But why let that get in the way of a good story.

These things may seem like nit-picking, but I could go on and on. And these are only details I am aware of. It makes me wonder what else is incorrect that I just don’t know as much about. Sedgwick states at the end that his target audience was “the public,” so he did not “[fill] the notes with the chapter-and-verse references of academe. . .In the Google era, of course, most information, especially material pertaining to the Founding Fathers, can be traced without scholarly citations anyway” (pg. 405). This may be so, but then why would anyone bother reading this book at all? With or without Google, it is problematic that he gives direct quotations without clearly citing the source. Even worse, in at least one section he paraphrases Chernow (to put it nicely) without quoting him directly or citing him as the original source. Compare Sedgwick pg. 211 in the section with “John Adams brayed at his ‘indelicate pleasures’” with Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton, pg. 363, in the section beginning, “John Adams carped at his ‘indelicate pleasures’”. There are several similar sentences in this section in a different order with slightly different wording. The notes for this chapter do reference Chernow, who “captured the social scene in Philadelphia” (pg. 405), but that’s as specific as they get.

My impression from all of this is that the author has read some books about Hamilton and Burr and then written this story from what he remembers, without being particularly concerned about what exactly he read or where he read it. It’s all very readable and entertaining, and the author’s ideas about why people did what they did are interesting, but with so much blurring of facts and conjecture, the result is a book as much fiction as history. . más

Sometimes I think Benedict Arnold has received a bad rap. His name has gone down in American history as practically a synonym for treason, the poster child for betrayal - and yet, if you ask me, Aaron Burr deserves it just as much, if not more. At least Arnold was committing treason for a cause and a side he held to the rest of his days Burr just conspired to betray his country for his own petty revenge and personal benefit, and never held to a cause he believed in in his life - unless that cau Sometimes I think Benedict Arnold has received a bad rap. His name has gone down in American history as practically a synonym for treason, the poster child for betrayal - and yet, if you ask me, Aaron Burr deserves it just as much, if not more. At least Arnold was committing treason for a cause and a side he held to the rest of his days Burr just conspired to betray his country for his own petty revenge and personal benefit, and never held to a cause he believed in in his life - unless that cause was Aaron Burr.

And yet, just as in many ways Alexander Hamilton's memory and greatness have been obscured behind the figures of Washington and Jefferson (at least until Lin-Manuel Miranda and his musical came along!), so the memory of Burr's treachery has been lost. Their lives are so intertwined, so impossible to disentangle or even tell separately, that it was perhaps inevitable that if one was neglected and forgotten so too would the other. As goes Hamilton, so goes Burr. The thought that he is remembered by history not for anything he did or achieved, but simply as the man who murdered Alexander Hamilton, would no doubt infuriate Aaron Burr. But then we see the results of Alexander Hamilton's achievements every day - modern America is very much the world he made - whereas all Burr ever achieved of lasting significance was to kill Alexander Hamilton.

So this book then is a dual biography, and indeed it would be dishonest to try and tell Aaron Burr's life at least in any other way. Alexander Hamilton could absolutely warrant a separate biography (and Ron Chernow's is the best) but Burr's life was hedged and bound and circumscribed and defined in almost every way by his relations with Hamilton. John Sedgwick acknowledges this fact on almost page of this book - not just in the alternating chapters but in the recognition that Fate, or whatever you want to call it, had bound these two men's life together, not just in their actions or reactions, but in the mirroring of their experiences and the way their lives touched and spun off and reflected one another.

It would be hard to know which side of the Hamilton/Burr divide the author himself comes down on, so in that sense this book is admirably impartial. Personally, I am an absolute Hamilton partisan, so there were times when I wanted far more damning criticism of Burr's behaviour - but an historical biography is neither the time nor the place, and I recognise that! I just seethed and muttered under my breath at parts. Sedgwick's own ancestor knew both men and is mentioned at a number of points in the text - indeed, Hamilton's last ever letter was to Sedgwick - which must lend an interesting perspective for any historian.

All in all, a fine read and worthy addition to the recent spate of Hamilton books - long may they continue. But there is yet anything to rival Ron Chernow's masterpiece. . más

“War of Two”, written by John Sedgwick, is ostensibly about the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr but in reality it’s about much more. It’s about the political atmosphere that Hamilton and Burr worked in, their successes and failures, and the people who were important in their lives.

Most of this information can be found in more detail in other books, but “War of Two” treats it in a completely different manner. This book’s strong point is that it discusses the emotions and passions “War of Two”, written by John Sedgwick, is ostensibly about the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr but in reality it’s about much more. It’s about the political atmosphere that Hamilton and Burr worked in, their successes and failures, and the people who were important in their lives.

Most of this information can be found in more detail in other books, but “War of Two” treats it in a completely different manner. This book’s strong point is that it discusses the emotions and passions of the time period, of Hamilton and Burr, and how those emotions led up to the infamous duel. This is a point of view that very few, if any, other writers have used and it worked. Rather than a dry description of the facts, the emotions and personal circumstances of Hamilton and Burr helped to truly explain the reasons behind the duel.

I think it’s difficult for those of us raised in the 20th and 21st centuries to realize how divisive, cruel, and backstabbing the politics were in the early days of the United States. We tend to view our historical figures through rose-colored glasses and this book shows us some of the realities of the time. Burr has almost always been vilified but this book gives all of the historical characters, including Burr, a more human aspect.

I thought it was interesting that the author acknowledges not only some of the best of the nonfiction biographers of Hamilton and Burr, but also acknowledges Gore Vidal, a fiction writer who wrote “Burr”, for giving him a good idea of the passions of the time period. It shows in the style of the book and once again, it works.

I’m highly recommending this book. It’s getting 4 stars from me, only because I was a little put off by the extremely short chapters. It just seemed to chop up the book too much.

This book is supposedly about the famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804, but is in reality, not really about that duel at all. It is a dual biography, ranging from both men’s childhoods through college, spending quite a long time on the revolutionary war (which is understandable considering how it shaped both men) and then into their political lives, their personal lives and the run up to the duel.

I actually found it quite interesting reading after the duel, because at t This book is supposedly about the famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804, but is in reality, not really about that duel at all. It is a dual biography, ranging from both men’s childhoods through college, spending quite a long time on the revolutionary war (which is understandable considering how it shaped both men) and then into their political lives, their personal lives and the run up to the duel.

I actually found it quite interesting reading after the duel, because at that point it became a singular biography of Aaron Burr, and it mainly focused on his attempt at treason, his relationship with Jefferson and his daughter Theodosia. This really made you feel for Theodosia and her husband because it felt like Burr took very little seriously in his later life, including his financial situation.

This was a well written biography, though it lacked a certain historical touch. Some words were used in the wrong context and it didn’t really refer to other historians, who know the topic much better than Sedgwick did, though he does seem to have dedicated a lot of research to this book.

The narrator was also quite slow. I had to speed it up to 2.5x to stop myself from zoning out. . más

I definitely enjoyed reading John Sedgwick&aposs War of Two: The Dark Mystery of the Duel Between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, and Its Legacy for America. I thought it did a good job chronicling the lives of both founding fathers. The attention is rightly divided between the two men. Readers learn not just about politics and war but also more personal affairs such as family and home life.

Part one is titled "The Roots of the Hatred." Part two is titled "The Battle is Joined." Part three is tit I definitely enjoyed reading John Sedgwick's War of Two: The Dark Mystery of the Duel Between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, and Its Legacy for America. I thought it did a good job chronicling the lives of both founding fathers. The attention is rightly divided between the two men. Readers learn not just about politics and war but also more personal affairs such as family and home life.

Part one is titled "The Roots of the Hatred." Part two is titled "The Battle is Joined." Part three is titled "To the Death." Part four is titled "And Then There Was One." Each chapter title seems to be taken from a direct quote from a primary source.

I was familiar with the basics of this story having listened to Hamilton a couple dozen times. I think anyone interested in learning more would profit from reading this one.

From the introduction, "Hamilton came to America alone at sixteen, a penniless immigrant, from the West Indian island of Saint Croix, the only one of the original Founding Fathers not born on the continent" (xxii). And, "As for the illegitimate Hamilton, Adams derided him as "the bastard brat of a Scotch peddler" (xxii). And, "Hamilton could take four hours to say what Burr could say in thirty minutes" (xxii).

From chapter five, John Adams on New Yorkers [like Hamilton], "They talk very loud, very fast, and altogether. If they ask you a question, before you can utter three words of your answer they will break out upon you again and talk away." (38)

From chapter six, "Hamilton was primarily a man of action, driven to achieve his strongest feelings stemmed from ambition, and indignation when his aspirations were not met." (44)

From chapter eight, "As Hamilton listened to the speakers bellowing into the wind, he found the arguments against the British to be surprisingly feeble, and, unable to wait his turn, he started to speak up, unbidden, from the middle of the crowd, first timidly, unsure, and then proudly, firmly and finally he could not stop, bringing forth a great tumbling river of argument that washed over the crowd. At nineteen, Hamilton was not the most prepossessing speaker, or the most fully voiced, but he was the most persuasive--forceful, compelling, assured--and somehow all the more so for being so boyishly slender and obviously young." (54-5)

From chapter eleven, "Hamilton, Laurens, Lafayette, all three of them young, brash, brilliant, and glamorously handsome, quickly formed a three-way attachment that was unusual by the standards of a ragtag army." (85)

From chapter thirteen, "Hamilton was a man on the prowl and had been ever since he was a teenager. No wonder Martha Washington named her frisky tomcat Hamilton." (98)

From chapter fifteen, "To Hamilton, Angelica was sunshine itself. The relationship revealed a gushing enthusiasm for a woman that ran the gamut from playfulness to desire and back again. From the first, he was so taken by Angelica, and so bad at concealing it, that many people assumed they were the lovers." (110)

From chapter twenty-four, "And so it began: From that moment forward, as in the army, Washington would depend on Hamilton as he depended on no other. He would never make a significant decision without Hamilton's advice, often doled out in ten-thousand word installments, his quill flying, and he would never question that advice, no matter how it turned out. Washington had plenty of wise men in his circle--Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Edmund Randolph, James Madison, all but the last of them in his cabinet, and all of them older, some substantially so--but it was Hamilton he turned to, over and over. He emerged as Washington's alter ego, the first among equals." (176).

There came a point when I stopped flagging all the passages that I liked/loved/found interesting.

The book is compelling and I definitely recommend it. . más

I don&apost want to say that this book is boring, but I&aposm bored with it. Sedgwick is trying to be scholarly yet accessible to the average reader of the street and manages to write a really chronological history in the end. The early parts are all about giving a picture of Hamilton and Burr as separate yet oddly similar men to the point where I really found I wasn&apost always sure who a chapter was about until one or the other&aposs name appeared. As for the chronological nature of the narrative, it makes f I don't want to say that this book is boring, but I'm bored with it. Sedgwick is trying to be scholarly yet accessible to the average reader of the street and manages to write a really chronological history in the end. The early parts are all about giving a picture of Hamilton and Burr as separate yet oddly similar men to the point where I really found I wasn't always sure who a chapter was about until one or the other's name appeared. As for the chronological nature of the narrative, it makes for slow beginnings and foundering middles until the really exciting stuff in the final two sections which is, honestly, not nearly so exciting because the build up has taken. asi que. long.

Okay, yeah, I might be somewhat of a minority toward this book, but it feels more like the author wanting to talk about part of his family history (of which there happens to be a lot - just ask people in a certain area of Massachusetts). The writing style is somewhere between dry and trying to be interesting (I'm not sure how much innuendo the author managed to get in, but let's just go with a lot). As a result, the topic feels overdone and perhaps not handled with the appropriate aplomb that someone casually looking into the subject will want to stick with.

Note: ARC received via Amazon Vine in exchange for review. . más

I was not disappointed with this book. Sedgwick has done an admirable job compiling a dual biography on what is perhaps the most famous duel in our nation&aposs history. At no time did I find myself bored or tempted to skip, or actually skip, any pages. Both Hamilton and Burr are well represented with respect to their history and the events that led to the morning of July 11, 1804 at Weehawken. Although a Hamiltonian myself, I was glad to see Sedgwick remained largely free of bias of either gentlema I was not disappointed with this book. Sedgwick has done an admirable job compiling a dual biography on what is perhaps the most famous duel in our nation's history. At no time did I find myself bored or tempted to skip, or actually skip, any pages. Both Hamilton and Burr are well represented with respect to their history and the events that led to the morning of July 11, 1804 at Weehawken. Although a Hamiltonian myself, I was glad to see Sedgwick remained largely free of bias of either gentleman and concentrated on the events.

Sedgwick begins by reminding us that no conflict begins at the end. Rather it slowly festers over time until finally reaching a head. It's no secret that Hamilton was a difficult man. Unforgiving and ruthless in his criticism, he called people as he saw them and stood behind his convictions. A failing, he said, of Burr. He made no secret of his disdain for Burr nor that he would go to any rhetorical lengths and means to oppose Burr's ambitions. Burr, we find, is a man that never stood for, nor stated, any political opinions. Which is unusual for someone that lived in the public and political eye. The public never fully knew him or what he stood for. His only cause was himself.

I recommend reading this book if you are curious as to the nature of each man and the events that led them to the dueling ground at Weehawken.

I found this to be an exceptional book.

Accessible and well researched.

Though I had read of Hamilton and Burr in other books, I really enjoyed how the author kept us on Burr&aposs story after Hamilton had died. I had read a few articles about Burr and his shenanigans later in life, but I hadn&apost absorbed the detail the author goes into.

Whether you are a history nerd like me or you are just interested because of all the Hamilton Mania that his going on right now, I highly recommend this treatment of th I found this to be an exceptional book.

Accessible and well researched.

Though I had read of Hamilton and Burr in other books, I really enjoyed how the author kept us on Burr's story after Hamilton had died. I had read a few articles about Burr and his shenanigans later in life, but I hadn't absorbed the detail the author goes into.

Whether you are a history nerd like me or you are just interested because of all the Hamilton Mania that his going on right now, I highly recommend this treatment of the lives of A.Burr and A.Ham.

10 paces and "PRESENT!" out of 10. . más

If you are looking for a comparative biography of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr I would avoid John Sedgwick’s WAR OF TWO: ALEXANDER HAMILTON, AARON BURR AND THE DUEL THAT STUNNED A NATION. I would turn to Ron Chernow’s magisterial work on Hamilton and Nancy Isenberg’s excellent life of Burr. To his credit Sedgwick makes no pretensions to have produced similar all-encompassing works, and states that his goal was to prepare a more personal and intimate portrait of Hamilton and Burr as they car
If you are looking for a comparative biography of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr I would avoid John Sedgwick’s WAR OF TWO: ALEXANDER HAMILTON, AARON BURR AND THE DUEL THAT STUNNED A NATION. I would turn to Ron Chernow’s magisterial work on Hamilton and Nancy Isenberg’s excellent life of Burr. To his credit Sedgwick makes no pretensions to have produced similar all-encompassing works, and states that his goal was to prepare a more personal and intimate portrait of Hamilton and Burr as they careened through the late 18th and early 19th centuries toward their eventual collision. There is a great deal that is attractive in Sedgwick’s work, but his seeming obsession with his subject’s attitudes and actions toward women detracts from some substantive insights. There is much that can be praised, but careless errors abound. I guess the reader should keep in mind that Sedgwick is a novelist, which is reflected in his prose, and not a trained historian.

The title of the book is an apt description of the end of the Hamilton-Burr relationship that dated back to the American Revolution. Sedgwick’s goal is to present an analysis and history of the two men and determine why their relationship soured. Sedgwick’s quest is to determine the turning point that pushed them on to the dueling field in Weehawken, New Jersey in 1804.

It is ironic that two men who had much in common ended up with such antipathy for each other. On the one hand Hamilton was particularly vocal about his disdain for Burr that seemed to originate in the election of 1792 and continued as he successfully contributed to Burr’s failed quest for the presidency and the governorship of New York State. Or perhaps it was Burr’s defeat of Hamilton’s father-in-law, Philip Schuyler for his New York Senate seat. In either case it appeared that Burr could swallow Hamilton’s demeaning and insulting comments for over a decade, but once Hamilton blocked him from the New York governorship in 1804, it was the last straw, especially due to Hamilton’s remarks at an Albany dinner at the home of Judge John Tayler. Also in attendance was Dr. Charles D. Cooper who passed along Hamilton’s remarks to the editor of the New York Post, William Coleman. Once Hamilton’s words reached the public, Burr was pushed over the edge.

Sedgwick recounts the most important aspects of the Hamilton-Burr association, mostly in a somewhat superficial manner. Beginning with their upbringing and the fact that both grew up without parents, Burr, an orphan Hamilton the son of an illegitimate pairing abandoned by his father, with a mother who was jailed for illicit behavior and passed away when Hamilton was a boy. What sets Sedgwick’s narrative apart is the attention he offers to certain aspects of their lives that other biographers do not. A case in point are Sedgwick’s ruminations concerning Burr’s attraction to women and resulting sex life, and Hamilton’s true lineage. Sedgwick seems to hold a fascination with the sex lives of both men, noting the many affairs in which they were involved that are explored in detail. As a novelist I guess he is drawn to tawdry aspects of his story and spends an inordinate amount of time on Hamilton’s idiotic pursuit of Maria Reynolds and the ruination of Hamilton’s career.

As previously mentioned, Sedgwick is prone to a number of historical errors. As the eminent historian Gordon Woods points out
He has Benjamin Franklin in Paris negotiating the peace all by himself. He mistakenly makes John Adams the minister to France when in fact Adams was never minister and was only a member of a peace commission. He says that President Washington pardoned the rebels in Shay’s Rebellion when in fact it was Massachusetts governor John Hancock. He has Washington selecting Hamilton to make the a ‘grand summation’ of the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention ‘at the end’ of the meeting, when actually Hamilton gave his six-hour speech on June 18 near the beginning, and it was not a summation at all but an effort to make the Virginia plan seem more moderate. He says the Senate decided to call the chief executive the president, when actually it was the House of Representatives that overturned the more monarchial title suggested by the Senate. (”Federalists on Broadway,” New York Review of Books, January 14, 2016)

I guess the reader should keep in mind that Sedgwick is a novelist, and at times is also prone to overstatement and hyperbole for example, “When Laurens died, it was as if the true Hamilton died too.”

Sedgwick mostly alternates chapters between his two protagonists as he compares his subjects. Burr is described as a man who was always short of money or in debt, charged the highest lawyer fees he could obtain, engaged in land speculation, and never committed to a position unless it could benefit him – a man without an ideology. Hamilton, on the other hand maintained a consistent ideology and was not obsessed with wealth, though he was concerning his reputation and social station. Sedgwick explores the marriages of both men in detail with Burr deeply in love with Theodosia, a widow of a British soldier he had had an affair with and was ten years his senior. It was more of an intellectual relationship than a physical one and despite his meanderings he worshiped her. Hamilton who suffered from his own peccadilloes, loved the “matronly” “Betsy,” but she was more of a traditional wife with womanly skills, and not a feminist. Sedgwick also spends time comparing their approach to fatherhood. Though away a great deal of the time Burr adored his daughter, also named Theodosia who was educated as if she was a male. Hamilton was a good father who was thrilled with his large “brood” and was very involved in the lives of his children.

My concern with Sedgwick’s approach is that he does not provide enough information when he introduces a topic and fails to provide the necessary historical context for the many scenes he introduces. For the novice his presentation is inviting, but I imagine too many times it is confusing. Further, the author seems to spend more time on inconsequential aspects of the story rather than the more important events that surround his subjects. A case in point is that he spends more time on why Federalists did not shake hands with each other, or even touch each other, than discussing the development and importance of Hamilton’s National Bank. In addition, Sedgwick’s approach to citations is somewhat cavalier. He presents a rationale for the approach he takes and it seems like a cop out. Stating that the existence of Google provides the best sourcing for readers, Sedgwick does provide a short paragraph for each chapter reflecting a few main sources to let the reader know where the information originated. Since he states that he used a myriad of sources it could not have overly taxed him to provide the proper affirmation.

Despite these shortcomings Sedgwick does provide some interesting insights particularly Washington’s disdain for Burr who he saw as arrogant, untrustworthy, unsoldierly, and one who would not conform. Another is his remarks pertaining to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison’s view of Burr that he would do for them in the political world what Philip Freneau did in the newspapers by backing him for the Senate from New York State. It was designed to “drive Hamilton to a frenzy of irritation, causing him to bring about his own ruin with no further help from them.” Sedgwick is also insightful as he explores Burr’s machinations as vice president, after the duel with Hamilton, and his plot to create his own western empire.

Overall, Sedgwick’s work can be categorized as entertaining and as a stylized historical narrative the book seems to be a success, but as a work of history, it is rather weak.
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