Ken Owen, Michael Hattem, Roy Rogers, Nora Slonimsky, and Joanne Freeman continue their discussion from our previous episode on the life and times of Alexander Hamilton by thinking about the current “Hamilton Moment,” as well as the “peaks and valleys” of Hamilton’s legacy throughout American history.
Alexander Hamilton’s legacy has risen and fallen throughout the nation’s history. Generally speaking, in times of economic prosperity, Hamilton is hailed as the “man who made modern America” and the architect of American capitalism. It is also possible to say that Hamilton’s legacy has been directly tied with the legacy of his archnemesis, Thomas Jefferson. When one is down the other is up. In our own time, Hamilton is experiencing such a peak as to be a moment, as in the past decade he has been the subject of numerous popular books, as well as a television documentary and, of course, an immensely popular Broadway musical entitled Hamilton.
Joanne Freeman is Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University. She is the author of Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic and editor of the Library of America volume of Alexander Hamilton’s Writings. Her highly popular course on the American Revolution is available on OpenYale and YouTube.
Nora Slonimsky is a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center and a Writing Fellow at Lehman College. Her dissertation, “The Engine of Free Expression [?]: The Political Development of Copyright in the Colonial British Atlantic and Early National United States,” focuses on copyright as a conceptual and economic construct.
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