I have a problem with Alexander Hamilton. I don’t know why. I just don’t like him.
I know Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both thought Hamilton was a dick. On the other hand, George Washington seems to have liked him. I don’t know if that means that Hamilton wasn’t a dick, or maybe that Washington was just a bad judge of character.
People have started to notice that I am always trying to break my ten dollar bills to get his ugly face out of my wallet. He was never even a president, anyway, so what is he doing on my money in the first place?
It’s probably not healthy for me to be carrying around hostility towards a founding father who’s been in the ground for 204 years.
I recently saw that a new biography of Hamilton is available for Kindle. I also keep hearing Ron Paul supporters talking about how Hamilton is somehow wrapped up in “central banking”, the Federal Reserve, the gold standard, the end of the world, and other such crazy matters.
So I thinks to myself, “maybe I’ll read that biography of Hamilton and give the man a fair shake.” Then I see that the book is like 1,200 pages long, and I don’t even like the guy, so why am I going to spend all month reading about his stupid life.
Nevertheless, my political affiliations have been in flux lately, and it is healthy to read books you disagree with to help stretch your brains out. Reading 1,200 pages was just a bit too much time for me to dedicate to such a scalawag at this junction.
Then, I hears about this “Founding Brothers” book. It’s shorter, and dedicates one chapter to each founding father, so I can get just a little bit of Hamilton, to see if I am still interested enough to carry on with the more voluminous tome at a later date.
It’s a very nice book (it won a Pulitzer Prize and everything). The very first chapter is about the duel where Thomas Jefferson’s vice president shoots Hamilton dead for talking shit about him in the newspapers. I liked that part.
The rest of the chapters are also good. There’s one about Washington’s farewell address, and one about the Jefferson-Adams correspondence. The chapters are small enough that you don’t drown in detail (like you do in John Adams), but they’re long enough that you feel like you understand a lot of what went on between the constitutional convention and 1826.
One of the ideas I got from the book is that maybe I think poorly of Hamilton because he died young, and Jefferson and Adams got to talk shit about him for years afterward.
In any event, I’m still not convinced that Hamilton is worth my time to read that huge book about him, and now, I’m not even sure if I like Washington anymore.
The more I learn about history, the more I realize that what I thought I knew was totally wrong.
I give Founding Bothers 4 jihadis out of 5.