Below are the questions for the reading on Alexander Hamilton. We will be talking more about him in the coming week. He is interesting for a number of reasons. The most notable of which is that he was born to nothing in the Caribbean and grew up to be an elitist who probably wished the U.S. to have become some version of a monarchy. Also interesting: Thomas Jefferson the exact opposite. Little surprise they didn’t get on well. Hamilton is also the one whose ideas about the country’s future were most realized.
1. The worst thing about history is when people in today’s society try use the Founding Fathers for their own politics. You can’t trot the founders out on Fox News or stick an iPhone in their hands and bring them into our world. What does Wood write about Republican efforts to own Hamilton and FDR’s New Deal love of Jefferson?
2. Hamilton is an Horatio Alger story. How does he end up in NY and what all had he done by the time most young men today have moved back home and logged a couple of dog years playing Xbox and eating pizza rolls?
3. Hamilton has more sway with Washington than anyone else of the period. My opinion for why: it’s the product of the war and Hamilton’s unique understanding of complicated money stuff. Convince me this right or wrong.
4 Pg. 133 – 136 is the brunt of what is taught about Hamilton (I also like to note that he got caught up in a messy/slightly creepy scandal. Google Hamilton-Reynolds Affair if you’re interested). Tell me what you understand better after reading this.
5. Hamilton had big plans — not Jeffersonian in any way— for the US. What did he want both foreign and domestic.
6. It’s worth noting that despite being the only brilliant, self-made Founder who was always antislavery, he is not remembered like a Jefferson or Washington. What do you think made Hamilton such a polarizing figure?
7. Wood has always written that Hamilton is the only Founder who would admire the modern U.S. Why does he believe Hamilton would love it while others like Jefferson and Madison would be appalled at the size and power of our government?