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tv   Alexander Hamilton Myths  CSPAN  February 18, 2017 3:00pm-3:56pm EST

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>> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. how accurate are the historical accounts written about our founding fathers? in the case of professor stephen knott, not much at all. alexander hamilton and the persistence of myth. characterized as to fill in, womanizer, and worse. knott highlights the broadway musical "hamilton," and its impact in restoring his reputation. this is just under an hour.
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>> good afternoon. welcome to united methodist church. i am the pastor of this congregation. we welcome you to this exciting event, sponsored by the alexander hamilton awareness society. an important event in their organization and for our aggregation here as well. john street church is the oldest methodist congregation in the united states. in very many ways, it is fair to say that this congregation grew up with this country. themes that are present in american history have defined this conversation as well. when we have learned the importance of the founding
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fathers in this country, i bring that lends to my experience here today. i look for the ways in which threads and influences of this church, the way those things are impacted by the likes of alexander hamilton. whatever you hope to learn, whatever questions you bring, whatever insights you plan to bring, hope you will find them fulfilled and i look 5 -- forward to sharing this time with you this afternoon. [applause] >> my name is rand, president of the american -- alexander hamilton american society. more commonly known as the aha! society.
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thank you to the congregation of john street method in -- methodist church for hosting this event which is part of happy birthday hamilton, 2017. we invite you to join us tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. for the wreathlaying ceremony at hamilton's grave monument. it will include the u.s. coast guard, dignitaries, and officials from where hamilton spent the first 18 years of his life. they will be there and speaking and presenting. it will be a nice even. i would like to let you know s willhe premier from navi be there tomrrow. the ambassador will be there tomorrow. another of our partners will be there. a partnership in furthering alexander hamilton.
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we have bob white who is the president of the alexander hamilton society in st. croix. congratulations to the john street methodist church. this building is the third which is so rating its 175th anniversary. do you know what is behind this wall? maiden lane. that is where thomas jefferson lived. that is where the story goes that jefferson, madison, and hamilton got together to work out the nation's debts and where the permanent capital should be.
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inspired the musical when it want to be in the room where it happened, the room where it happened, the room where it happened." it happened right on the other side of this will. want to be in the room where ittwo years ago, a show dd off-broadway hoping to make it to broadway. an show, " hamilton: american musical." this visa a call has introduced millions of people around the world to alexander hamilton. people are looking into his background with a positive spirit. why had hamilton been considered a less significant founder in the mind of the public? mischaracterization, a convenient villain. it was based on myths. new readers of the new hamilton musical go in and read this characterization and it is very confusing.
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on our website we shared the recommended books that relay accurate information about hamilton. subsequent authors on hamilton would previously rely on other accomplished writers that ended up propagating a lot of this mischaracterization. that is why hamilton was not so well known and revered before the look he is getting now. our speaker today has done the actual hard work of getting past the books and getting to the primary sources. getting to the actual letters. he has written a monumental book, "alexander hamilton and the persistence of myth." which, outside of biographies, is one of the most important books on alexander hamilton. stephen knott is a professor of national security affairs at the
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united states naval war college and served as cochair of the university of virginia -- he received his phd from boston college and has taught at the united states air force academy and the university of virginia. he is the author of the book we , -- dr. knott recently co-authored a book entitled "washington and hamilton," and if you will prepare concise questions, that will help for after the talk. knott. welcome stephen [applause]
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dr. knott: thank you. thank you all. thank you very much. i appreciate you coming out on this cold winters today. i particularly want to thank nicole and everyone involved with the alexander hamilton awareness society. you guys do terrific work in terms of keeping hamilton's legacy alive for your statuses -- for your fellow citizens. i also want to thank the john's street methodist church for providing such a nice venue for my talk today. let me begin by saying that i never believed in my life, when i wrote "alexander hamilton and the persistence of myth," well over 15 years ago, that hamilton would be restored to his rightful place as a founding father, buting would also become a broadway celebrity. i never dreamed in my wildest imagination that that would happen when i was writing this book back in 1998 and 1999. let me start by noting that i
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believe alexander hamilton was the first victim of the politics of personal destruction. thomas jefferson, james madison, james monroe and other jeffersonian lieutenants made it their life's work in the 1790's and even after hamilton's death to this march his reputation. part of the reason for this was their objection on policy grounds to the federalist presidency of george washington. it was simply easier -- it was more politically palatable to attack alexander hamilton than it was to attack george washington, the father of this country. washington, for the most part, was off-limits to the kind of personal and political attacks directed against alexander hamilton during his life. even after the duel, even after the death of hamilton at the
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hands of aaron burr, jefferson and his lieutenants understood the damage that a dead hamilton could do in terms of presenting a threat to the jeffersonian agenda. their immediate reaction -- there is a chain of correspondence that goes back and forth between madison, monroe, noah webster and other jeffersonians expressing concern the emotional reaction of hamilton's death and the concern for what it might do to the jeffersonian agenda. hamilton's death in 1804 gave john adams some 22 years to spin the historical record. in 1804, jefferson and adams died on the fourth of
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july in 1846. -- 1826. they use that time to spend historical records in a direction favorable to the jeffersonians. james madison outlives outfitter hamilton by 32 years and as we know now, he actually goes back and doctors some of the notes that he took from the constitutional convention to make hamilton look bad in a sense. this desire to be little and besmirch hamilton's reputation continues apace throughout the democratic party. in the 19 century, andrew jackson believed that hamilton was the tribune of the moneyed aristocracy. jackson comes to see the bank of the united states and nicholas biddle as a personification of all that was wrong without -- with alexander hamilton.
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jackson plays the class card to the hilt and hamilton is a key figure in terms of appealing to populist sensibilities in terms of generating animus towards the bank of the united states. during the american civil war, you briefly see a kind of resurrection of hamilton's reputation. his anti-slavery stance, his strong nationalism appeals to many in the north, in the new republican party, and especially future presidents such as james garfield, rutherford b. hayes, benjamin -- harrison and others all revered out of vendor hamilton as the father of the american union and perhaps the greatest of the founders to george washington. the 20th century -- at the beginning, briefly, hamilton
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retains his status as an impressive founder at least for those who consider themselves progressive. i'm thinking particularly of teddy roosevelt, henry cabot lodge, if you can call him a progressive. mostly in the republican party these are people who revere alexander hamilton. he is not particularly well-liked in the populist wing of the democratic party. william jennings bryan sees him as the founding plutocrat. hamilton's reputation in the 20th century begins to decline fairly rapidly. while he is revered by presidents such as warren harding and calvin coolidge, those two presidents are not guaranteed to make him a revered figure in the academic circles. it is harding's secretary of the treasury, andrew mellon, who
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erects the statute we see to this day on the grounds of the in may 1923. but when the great crash comes , as i say in my book, alexander hamilton might well have been the chair of the republican national committee in terms of his reputation in the media. because he was so warmly embraced by harding and coolidge and mellon, that perception of his as the founding father of wall street, you begin to see a radical decline in hamilton's reputation in the late-20's and -- late 1920's and throughout the new deal year. it is franklin roosevelt more than any other president who elevates thomas jefferson into the pantheon of american greats. it is roosevelt who erects the jefferson memorial. the beautiful title basin memorial in washington, d.c..
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in so doing there is an iron law in american historiograpy, one rises.and the other jefferson comes into his on in the american mind in the 1940's. the only book review that franklin roosevelt ever wrote was of a book by claude bowers called "jefferson and hamilton and the struggle for democracy in america." and if i can be blunt, this is a god-awful book that took the nation somewhat by storm and fdr found this book to be brilliant in his review in "the new york world." an obscure newspaper that no longer exists. it was a glowing review. if you look at this book by portrayed aston is
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a dictator, or a budding dictator. the author repeatedly uses the term dictatorial when characterizing hamilton. he says hamilton considered himself to be quote part of the race of military masters end quote. hamilton was a budding fascist during the founding era. this caricatured account of hamilton resonates with millions of americans, including jefferson's most famous malone, whodumas says that the work is a brilliant piece and inspired him to get into the business of writing biographies. his famous six volume biography of thomas jefferson. erects theho jefferson memorial in washington, d.c.. he even has a hand in the quote
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that adorns the wall of the jefferson memorial. it is franklin roosevelt who invites a staff sergeant in the united states army by the name of sydney tingly -- sidney kingsley, who writes the most successful broadway play of 1943, "the patriot." it was the most successful musical of its day. if you go back and read the script, you can see why fdr loved it. you have a cigar chomping fdr -- -- a cigar-chomping alexander hamilton referring to the american people as a drunken swine. all the while eliza hamilton sits beside him in a sort of ntoinette outfit, popping bon bons, and expressing
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her approval of her husband's contempt for the american people. it is beyond belief. if you are invited a performance in washington, d.c.. general george marshall is in attendance and all of washington society attends the play and kingsley is invited to the dedication of the jefferson memorial. i say this in my book and i don't think this is a overstatement. by the time of the second world war, alexander, in many quarters, is seen as a joseph goebbels in a white coat and breaches. maybe a bit of an overstatement that not by much. "fortune magazine" have to write a quote in which they say if hamilton were alive today, we think he would fight the nazis. things to do begin to change in the late 20th century in terms of hamilton's reputation these
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vis a vis, jefferson. that is partly due in good measure to the back to that civil rights and the whole african-american area becomes very much part of the scholarly and political agenda of the 1960's. also due to the fact that hamilton was the lone immigrant amongst the key founding fathers. that also begins to play in a sense to hamilton's favor. you see this in the works of richard burrookehiser, ron chernow, and eventually working its way into lin n-manuel's musical. many myths still persist to this day regarding alexander hamilton and i believe these myths persist partly due to the ideological agenda of various
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scholars and writers. for instance, i go to great lengths in "the persistence of myth" to chip away at this idea that alexander hamilton referred to the american people this way. as a great beast. the source of this goes back to inry adams's book, written 1889, "the history of the jefferson administration" and adams is the first one to pull this quote. hamilton allegedly said at a dinner party around 1800 that the people are a great beast. adams pulls this out of a memoir a theophilus parsons, jr., somewhat obscure juror in massachusetts. the point i'm getting at here is
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the quote was allegedly uttered in 1800. b, whoa, told source who told source c, published a book six years later with a . quote.r with the no scholar worth his salt should cite that quote. it is a fourth hand account published 60 years after the fact by a person who despise -- despised hamilton. close friends of the adams family. this quote has taken on a life of its own and scholars who should know better continue to cite it. some will say something to the effect of, he may not have actually said it, but it sounds like hamilton. in my view, that is very professionally irresponsible. let me talk about a few more myths associated with hamilton that despite the great work of
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brookhiser, chernow, and miranda, and michael newton, who is in the audience today. the idea that alexander hamilton was an opponent or a foe of liberty. this was another mid-first -- another myth, first propagated by the jeffersonians and by jefferson himself. jefferson is the source of the quote that alexander hamilton believed that julius caesar was the greatest man who ever lived. jefferson reports this 20 years after the fact in 1811, long after alexander hamilton is a dead and not in a position to refute it. i would urge you to look at the work of a historian who has done a great job in terms of dismissing that quote as fiction. again these things have taken on a life of their own. i have to give jefferson credit.
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jefferson and his lieutenants. they were masterful in terms of spinning the historical record. persists to this day. you are probably picking that up from me. these myths are proving very resilient. another myth is hamilton was only concerned with the well-being of the rich and the or bankersnd banks in particular. it was true that hamilton was not a friend of, or a supporter of precip atari -- participatory democracy. he wanted as many elements of stability and purpose as he -- and permanence as he could possibly infuse into the system. he did propose a president elected for life and a senate life, but i believe,
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among others, and i believe harrelson -- hamilton himself even made this case, what he was trying to do with the constitutional convention was pull his fellow delegates as far in the direction of permanence and stability as he could. so he staked out what seemed a more extreme position and made the more moderate, nationalist position seem far more palatable and acceptable. the other charge that he faced in his lifetime, that persists to this day, is that he was a monarchist. the people who push this line in june ofhat speech where hamilton makes the case of 1787 a president elected for life. i will leave it to you if a president elected for life, subject to impeachment, is a
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monarchy. i want you to consider the possibility that hamilton is trying to push the position as far as possible in the direction of permanence and stability. accusing someone in the 1790's of being a monarchist was the equivalent of accusing someone of being a communist in the 1960's. it was not an attempt to engage in any sort of debate, it was an attempt to end the debate, to stifle debate, to destroy your opponent. that is exactly what jefferson and his tenants were attempting to do in the 1790's. as jefferson would put it in 1802, he wanted to sink the federalists into an abyss from which they would never emerge. another issue are those that portray him as a dictatorial,
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plutocratic, or people-hating founder, they will focus in on the whiskey rebellion. this was an ongoing series of protests in western pennsylvania of whiskey distillers. hamilton, and washington for a time, lead the force of 12,000 to 14,000 men to suppress this rebellion. you will frequently find, and there are a number of books out there in recent years, where the whiskey rebels are portrayed very sympathetically. these are grassroots folks merely trying to stand up or their rights and embrace the spirit of 1776. but if you look at it from president washington's position and secretary of the treasury hamilton's position, this was one of the first tests of the new government in terms of --
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look, this government is 4-5 years old, there is a real question of whether is going to survive. will obedience to law override the armed resistance of a minority? it was a question of should the majority government. hamilton made repeated concessions to the whiskey rebels, and in return, all he got in a sense was escalating violence. threats to burn pittsburgh to the ground. violent harassment of hamilton's ridge -- revenue agent. one guy was kept locked up for three days and they promised him his freedom only in return for grinding his nose off on a grindstone. this was violent and have the -- and had the potential to spiral out of control. it was president washington who made the decision to put down the whiskey rebellion. washington referred to that as
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force of 12,000 to 14,000 men that he led as the army of the constitution. for hamilton and washington, this was a test. the first test of the american constitution. was law going to prevail in the united states or the use of force? another myth that still percolates out there, and you saw it in david mccullough's book on john adams. this notion that hamilton was attending to use the quasi-war with france to suppress domestic defense through the use of armed force. that somehow this was a army that washington had been appointed as the figurehead of, that hamilton actually led -- thisto adams' pain, that
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force was going to be used to march into the south and to deploy the bayonet and destroy jefferson and his party. this leads jefferson to write the initial draft of the kentucky resolution. it makes a clear statement in favor of secession. i think this is dramatically overstated by mccullough and a lot of hamilton's critics. as jacob cook pointed out, when fades, when adams strikes a deal, hamilton is in command of that army. what does he do? he disbands it. a real budding napoleon would have taken advantage of that situation to enact his dastardly scheme. he disbands the army in his usual, i think there is a tendency even in the quazi-war with france to look at hamilton in the worst possible light.
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what you will frequently see biographers and historians do is refer to hamilton's letter that he wrote when he was 14 years old or so in which he says i wish there were a war. i mean, what kind of teenage boy -- i am revealing too much, teenage boys think that way. they had dreams of military glory to get them out of their groveling situation. frequently what you see is that quote, "i wish there was war," that has been pulled up had -- as evidence of hamilton's warmongering dictatorial street. with no reference it was written by a young teenager. myth, andhe final unfortunately even though i love what was done with "hamilton"
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the musical, the idea that martha washington named her randy tomkat alexander hamilton, it is amazing to me how much of that is cited. michael newton has done tremendous work in terms of pulling that apart, but there is no evidence whatsoever. it is fiction. it is fiction that martha washington named her horney tom cat after hamilton, and that on. lives unfortunately it is propagated in the musical, which i love, by the way. finally let me conclude. i think one of the final myths and i think this is the most important of all. the fact is, alexander hamilton was george washington's closest advisor. staff person, more than a staff
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person when he becomes treasury secretary, but he is his most important advisor in the matters of war, the revolution, and peace. during the first, during the administration of george washington. he was washington's right-hand man. get far more attention than it does. the fact is that the george washington should have had more in common with his fellow slave owner, fellow virginian thomas jefferson but he did not. ,instead, he bonded with this immigrant from an obscure speck of an island in the caribbean . and the two of them, hamilton and washington, i would argue, put aside their parochialism to create a great nation of the united states of america and to
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the end of his life, george washington had nothing but positive things to say about alexander hamilton, including hamilton's character and hamilton's integrity. washington rallies to hamilton's side when hamilton confesses to the affair with maria. the last few years of washington's life, he has nothing to do with the thomas jefferson. he has completely cut him off, rightly so because it jefferson -- because jefferson had deceived his own president on multiple occasions and lied right to washington's face. washington finally agreed to confront jefferson about this deception. the fact is that while serving as secretary of state for president washington, jefferson was organizing the opposition and jefferson was leading the
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press campaign to go after first hamilton, and ultimately george washington. so i would urge those of you in the audience today and those watching us through c-span, to look at washington's take, his assessment of alexander hamilton. washington's reliance on alexander hamilton. and if you do so, you will be able to move beyond any of the the myths i discussed this morning and the of to see -- and then begin to see that alexander hamilton, despite the arguments of jefferson and his lieutenants, was as american as it could get because the george washington certainly understood that. thank you and i would like to take your questions. [applause] i hope i left enough time.
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>> please wait for the microphone to come to you. nicole will be bringing around the microphone. dr. knott: i can repeat the questions if that will help. >> revenge is sweet and i think iranda -- [indiscernible] dr. knott: ok. no comment. [laughter] of --ough the stories
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, what is theilton context of -- [indiscernible] dr. knott: that is a great question. the idea that jefferson is the champion of small government, the idea that you see directive from hamilton's libertarian critics, if you will, that hamilton is the father of big government. that hamilton will be happy with the new deal or the great society, the sort of activist federal government we see to this day. i think that is a myth as well. i am glad you mentioned that, michael. i would urge those of you in the audience to look at some of the work by a political scientist named carson holloway who has written extensively on this subject. hamilton was not a believer in big government. he was a believer in energetic government particularly in the , realm of national security. ok? dr. knott: he says explicitly in
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the federalist papers that the federal government will be responsible for matters of work, -- war and peace, foreign policy, international commerce. that is basically it. responsiblet is not whether you like us or not, it , is not responsible for the welfare of individual americans citizens. in fact, i find it hard to believe that a man who wrote in the federalist papers that a power over man's subsistence is a power over a man's will would be a believer in the kind of modern welfare state that has been around for a hundred or so years. so i do think that is one of the myths about hamilton. what he wanted was a united states of america. he wanted people to think of themselves as americans, not as new yorkers or virginian and he wanted to invest enough elements
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, as i said, of permanence and stability in this new national government, particularly in the realm of foreign policy and national security. so i think a number of progressive historians in the 20th century began to distort that record as a kind of justification for the kind of modern behemoth that we have today. and i think, again, i would urge you to take a look at mr. holloway's work, which has been far more effective on this issue. >> i think it was interesting when you mentioned people not wanting to quote the rest of the letter. when he said, i would willingly risk my life, not my character for my station. even at a young age, he was cognizant of his character. dr. knott: thank you for pointing that out. i appreciate that. >> you mentioned a few times the
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success and thoroughness of how jeffersonians spun hamilton. as a researcher and scholar, how did you start to untangle that to try to find where the truth was. -- was? dr. knott: the inspiration for my book, i have to admit, was merrill peterson's work "the jeffersonian image in the american mind." peterson is is a storing at the university of -- historian at the university of virginia who is a great admirer of jefferson. i thought it would be interesting to look at this man , alexander hamilton, who when i'm beginning to write this in is still seens, as a malevolent force. sort of the darth vader of the country's founding. and it proved to be fairly simple. i mean, i had to make sure that i understood hamilton's record as best i could. i had to make sure i went
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through his writings extensively, and the writings of his contemporaries and then the distortions begin to appear very quickly. including this, i wish there was a war quote. a 14 year are taking old and applying that thinking to a man in his 40's? and people not pointing that out. so very quickly i began to see this campaign of distortion that jefferson and his lieutenants launched in the 1790's and how it carried on for decades. i mean, jefferson believed hamilton was a colossus. as he put it. and they took him seriously, i will give them that. they took him so seriously that they decided he needed to be destroyed both in life and in death. so it was not as difficult as
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you might imagine to start dissecting things. as long as i felt i was on solid ground, in terms of knowing hamilton's actual record. good question. >> i have a question of my own. part a and part b, which in this -- which myth do think was most damaging to hamilton while he was alive and which do you think is most damaging as it continues to persist? dr. knott: i would say while he , was alive it was the monarchist angle, the british agent angle. so jefferson and his lieutenants , argue that hamilton is a monarchist but they also begin to explicitly state that hamilton was a british agent. which by the way which has -- way must have really burned a veteran who has put his life on the line as opposed to some other folks. so i think the monarchist angle,
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which is closely tied with he's part of the british fashion, -- faction, that was incredibly damaging in the 1790's and the rest of life. he would have to try to overcome that. in our time, maybe due to the increasedd sensitivity surrounding issues of gender, perhaps this notion that he was a serial adulterer, which is fiction. had an extramarital affair, i am not excusing that. but was he a super adulterer? as adams adulterer, said? for whatever reason, the adams were obsessed with hamilton sex life.
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i enjoy the musical. i actually tried to contact lynn manuel, and in the musical he stopped at one point saying martha washington named her randy tom cat hamilton. that is not true. i kind of wish -- it would not cost him anything too cold outline out. i think that is more damaging today. >> thank you. dr. knott: i think there is a gentleman upfront that has a -- >> you mentioned the names of several of our presidents and their attitudes towards hamilton. but what was woodrow wilson's attitude towards the hamilton legacy? dr. knott: good question. woodrow wilson, i would say a little bit torn. wilson admired hamilton's
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embrace and advocacy of an energetic executive but he found or certainly bought into the idea that hamilton dislikes the great masses of people. and he found that to be, whether it is accurate or not, objectionable. so a younger wilson seems to have some positive things to say about hamilton but the older , wilson does not. he has embraced what is going to become a 20th century democratic party orthodoxy that jefferson was the champion of the common man and hamilton was the champion of the wall street plutocrats and that has been the defining issue in american life. you are going to find far more admiring statements from teddy roosevelt about hamilton, then you will from woodrow wilson.
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>> first of all i would like to say, i loved this book. thank you for writing it. second of all, more recently since the publication there have been a spat of articles about hamilton's xenophobia. have you read any of them? do you have any comments? dr. knott: i have seen them. i've seen a few pieces in relation to the quazi-war with france and tougher immigration standards. >> rate. dr. knott: during the quasi-war. i think it is true. i think many americans were scared during 1797-98 with what they saw as the back channel or fifth column influence inside the united states and hamilton did advocate for tightening immigration restrictions. xenophobia -- no. i mean, this is one of the few founders who grow up in a completely different world than most of his peers. so i -- a legitimate concern for
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national security at a time of a potential conflict with a great power strikes me as legitimate and not xenophobia. if that helps. i'm troubled with the president for life and a senate for life. dr. knott: sure. >> how would you choose a good president and good senator? dr. knott: senators of course would have been chosen by the state legislators. not by direct popular election, that does not come until the 17th amendment. and i would be troubled by it as well. we would be in the year whatever of the jimmy carter presidency. no offense to anybody. to me that is too long. wanted -- ihamilton am beating this to death, but he wanted to infuse as many elements of stability and
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permanence into the system as he could. particularly for foreign policy and security reasons. i think he felt the longer you place, he makes it can teach somebody -- he writes he would be opposed to the 22nd amendment which limits the president to two terms. he wanted as long a term as possible and as he did with many of the things he disagreed with in the final constitution, he swallowed hard and work to get -- and worked like heck to get it ratified. i'm hedging a little bit on your question because i am not entirely sure if hamilton himself believed that. in other words was it a tactic designed to make the more moderate nationalist proposals more palatable to the delegates? but i'm not going to endorse a president or senate for life.
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he did of course say you could be removed, or you could be impeached as a president even if you were elected for life. there were checks. else? anybody here want to defend thomas jefferson? i have to confess i do suffer from jefferson derangement syndrome. >> in today's new york times, there is a quote saying, if hamilton lived he was preparing to leave the country through an anticipated crisis in american democracy. specifically, it does not explain what she meant, but had he lived another 10-20 years, what impact would that have had on the american government and its policies? dr. knott: i have always believed that alexander hamilton finished byell
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1804. he was planning on writing a philosophical treatise. i wish that would have happened. but as a political force, i am not sure what -- i have a lot of respect for joann's work, but i am not sure what she is alluding to there. i do think hamilton and his party were pretty well done by 1804. they hold on until 1816. maybe it is 1816 is the last 1820. federalist candidate. they are getting their clocks cleaned by jefferson and madison and monroe. so they have been politically outmaneuvered. again, i will say this for betteron, he was a much street politician in a sense. and a much better political tactician by far than hamilton and they constantly outmaneuvered federalists. hamilton was hoping to create this christian constitutionalist society as a grassroots network
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to check the jeffersonians, but i think it was too late in the game. so in my view hamilton was spent , politically by 1804. i think he kind of knew that too. i think part of the reason he challenged, or he accepted the dual, was this was his last patriotic act. he's going to finish burr. i think he had a pretty good sense that he might die out there across the river here. and that that would finish ehrenberg -- aaron burr. hamilton was going to throw away his shot, this would be burr's last shot. it did finish him politically. so i just see hamilton as a spent force by 1804. without reading the entire piece or speaking with joanne freeman, that is as far
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as i can take it. lived andhamilton witnessed the war of he would 1812, have told them i told you so. you have to make strong military and a national bank to fund a war. you can't just talk about war and declare war and not be prepared for it. that is committing national suicide. i think he would have felt very vindicated by the events related to the tragic mismanagement of the war of 1812 under madison. >> thank you and we have our last question back here. dr. knott: sure. >> thank you for that talk. dr. knott: thank you. >> how do you see the future of alexander hamilton's legacy in the sense that the shape of all appreciation and renaissance going on in the last few years? dr. knott: i think hamilton's
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legacy is in good shape not just because of the great work of the alexander hamilton awareness society, but this is a more -- we live in a very diverse country. there is a great appreciation for issues related to immigration. i would think and i haven't touched on the fact, that hamilton was one of the founders of the new york society for the manumission of slaves. i am not going to say he was a radical abolitionist, he wasn't. but in contrast to jefferson, madison, monroe and some of the stalwarts in their party, hamilton's position on matters of race, the fact that it is pretty clear that he did not own slaves himself, and the fact that he is one of the founders of the manumission societies, it will hold well that he was a progressive.
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so it may come to pass that jefferson was right, opposed in death as in life, and as one falls the other rises. the 21st century will have a -- has a good chance to be hamilton century. [applause] dr. knott: thank you. >> thank you very much. dr. knott: sure. >> the alexander hamilton awareness society would like to provide a special designation for the work that stephen knott that, weand to provide nicole, if you could come and present the award. >> good afternoon, everyone. as we have heard from this talk, for the past two centuries authors have taken up the task of writing about alexander hamilton's life but along the way stories of the political
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opponents who outlived him have been told as fact and as a waslt hamilton's character recast. it was not until stephen knott that anyone took the time to examine the narrative behind the narrative that have been told. it is a tribute to his in-depth research that we now have an understanding of how hamilton's story has been reshaped over the centuries and his meticulous study has helped hamilton offers -- authors to tell a more accurate story. and by debunking many myths about alexander hamilton, he is helped those interested in learning about hamilton be introduced to a truer version of him. since his monumental book "alexander hamilton and the persistence of myths" was published, he has remained active in publishing new material on hand including writing articles and publishing an additional book and co-authoring a book on hamilton
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and washington's partnership. he is also remaining a present force for public question. for these reasons and many more the alexander hamilton awareness to bestow theroud designation of hamilton scholar. dr. knott: thank you. thank you. >> thank you. knott will be available to meet with you afterwards and we thank you so much. dr. knott: thank you. this is beautiful. >> thank you. >> join us on sunday at 6:00 p.m. for live coverage


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