Hamilton Resources

A Few Interesting Web Sites:

A Biography of Alexander Hamilton
An excellent site with many pages on Hamilton’s life story

The Federalist Papers
These documents are valuable for two main reasons. First, they are the stuff of revolution, with their goal being nothing less than the creation of a new kind of government, unlike any seen before. Secondly, they offer a porthole to the past.  They let us explore the “founder’s intent” you hear so much about.  Here you find Hamilton’s take on judicial review (78) and on impeachment (65). Madison’s towering work on the dangers of factions (10), what we would call interest groups today.  They can be difficult to read, but if you struggle through them, you will be better able to walk in the shoes of our Founders.

Interpreting Thomas Jefferson by Clay Jenkinson
Clay is the foremost historical interpreter in the nation, and his performance of Thomas Jefferson is both magical and educational.  Hal and Clay particularly enjoy working together and verbally jousting as Hamilton and Jefferson on the Founding Period

Selected Books:  ​​​​​​​

  • Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years by Michael E. Newton. Eleftheria Publishing, 2015. ISBN-10: 0982604033 ISBN 13:978-0982604038​
    • ​The definitive work on Hamilton’s early years. This text is very important, in that it lays to rest a number of false histories of AH’s youth, to include the debate about the year of his birth, which Newton meticulously researches, and determines AH was born in 1757.
  • Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance that Forged America by Stephen F. Knott and Tony Williams. Sourcebooks, Inc., 2015.  ISBN-10: 1492609838 ISBN-13: 978-1492609834
  • A very good and very readable book that explains the importance of the deep personal, as well as intellectual, connection between Washington and Hamilton. To truly understand the Founding period you need to read this book.
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, Penguin Books 2004.  ISBN: 1594200092
  • Simply the standard for Hamilton books. Chernow’s superb book is the best researched text on Hamilton yet, and contains details, insights, and analysis unmatched in earlier works. My highest recommendation.
  • Alexander Hamilton, American by Richard Brookhiser, The Free Press, 1999. ISBN 0-684-83919-9
  • An excellent book and by far the more readable of the Hamilton texts.
  • Alexander Hamilton, A Biography by Forrest McDonald, W.W. Norton & Company, 1979. ISBN 0-393-30048-X
  • The classic in the field, rich with detail and understanding.  The standard.
  • Alexander Hamilton: A Concise Biography by Broadus Mitchell, Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1999, ISBN 0-7607-1703-6
  • The late Professor Mitchell wrote this one volume version of his two-volume history of Mr. Hamilton.  Mitchell’s book covers Hamilton’s early life in far more detail than other biographies, and is well-written and easy to read.
  • Alexander Hamilton: Writings, edited by Joanne B. Freeman. The Library of America Press, 2001    ISBN 1-931082-04-9
  • A stunning collection of Hamilton’s writings. I can honestly say that this collection is the new standard for such texts. Freeman has done an exceptional job in selecting a remarkable collection of letters, pamphlets, Federalist Papers, speeches, and more, as well as such gems as the complete Hamilton-Burr exchange of letters that resulted in the duel, as well as the reports of the Seconds.  The complete Reynolds and Adams pamphlets are here as is an excellent chronology.  (1108 pages)
  • Selected Writings and Speeches of Alexander Hamilton, edited by Morton J. Frisch.  American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1985,  ISBN 0-8447-3551-5
  • A terrific collection of many of Hamilton’s most important works.  This abridged set contains the most important for the normal Hamiltonian student.
  • Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic, by Joanne B. Freeman. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2001. ISBN 0-300-08877-9
    • A terrific book by one of the nation’s best Hamilton scholars, Freeman examines how concepts of honor helped shape the Founding Period.  Chapters examine newspapers, political gossip, dueling, and more.
  • Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention by Mary Sarah Bilder. Harvard University Press, 2015. ISBN 9780674055278
  • A new book that explores Madison’s revising (correcting?) his historical account of the Constitutional Convention to make his notes appear more prescient, and which appears to diminish and to some degree demonize Alexander Hamilton.
  • Any edition of the Federalist Papers
  • Hamilton wrote 2/3rds of them, Madison nearly 1/3rd, and Jay only 4 before he was taken ill
  • The Age of Federalism: The Early Republic, 1788-1800 by Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick, Oxford University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-19-506890-4
  • A remarkable (and large) study of the Federalist period.  Excellent for context and fuller understanding of the times
  • Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Future of America by Thomas Fleming, Basic Books, 1999. ISBN 0-465-01736-3
  • A fascinating study of the conflict between two very important men, and what led to the events at Weehawken. Answers the oft-asked question, what the heck happened to Burr after the duel.  I personally don’t really like this book, as I think it bends over backwards to give Burr all the benefit of the doubt, and Hamilton none of it. Thus, you should be even more inclined to read this book, just to see if I’m as biased as you may suspect!