In this presentation, Mr. Bidlack reviews, highlights, and explains the human side of the Founding period, as well as the stories and lessons traditionally taught in public education. He focuses on how the Revolution was spawned by very real, very human people. Mr. Bidlack notes the great fortune of the newly born nation in having a remarkable collection of leaders such as Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and of course Hamilton. He also, however, brings alive the struggles that existed among these great men, in particular the spirited contest of ideas and wills between Jefferson and Hamilton. We often like to think ourselves a Jeffersonian people, but we live Hamiltonian lives. Our greatness and our power as a nation is largely due to Hamiltonian principles of economics, military power, and constitutional government.
Here Mr. Bidlack explores the history of the United States military during the time of the Founding, and explores the myths and the realities of our martial history. He examines the traditional notion most Americans hold regarding the “Minuteman” and the revolutionary militia in general, and compares that fabled breed of soldier to the professional army of Washington. Further, Mr. Bidlack reminds the audience of the continuing importance of the echoes of that distant gunfire. The Revolution teaches liberty can only be protected by a professional military, a concept keenly embraced by Hamilton. He explores the alleged dangers of a standing army, and ponders implications for the modern world.
Alexander Hamilton was truly the founder of our modern economic system, a system that has brought the United States to the pinnacle of the international economic community. His antagonist, Thomas Jefferson, had a sharply different view of the proper direction America should take. But Hamilton, largely while serving as the first Secretary of the Treasury, crafted an economy that encouraged investment, managed the public debt, and put us on the path to becoming an economic superpower. Mr. Bidlack explores Hamilton’s vision, and well as the dangers such a path to progress can entail.
In 1801 Hamilton founded the New York Evening Post, a newspaper that survives to this day, albeit in a fundamentally different form. Hamilton spent his entire career either battling with or trying to control the media. In what may be the most vicious election in American history, the presidential contest of 1800, Hamilton was on the front lines of the media wars, one of the original “spin doctors.” In this talk, Mr. Bidlack helps the audience understand the nature of the media in his day, and reminds them of what has changed since then. But perhaps more importantly, he reminds them what has not.
In this energetic presentation, Mr. Bidlack reflects upon a man who was at once both his greatest adversary and his fellow Cabinet member, Thomas Jefferson. If Jefferson was the poet and the muse of the Founding, Hamilton was a vital constitutional architect and a unmatched economic mechanic. Hamilton’s drive to create a manufacturing powerhouse in America often brought him in direct conflict with Jefferson, a man of committed to an agrarian future for this nation. Hamilton referred to Jefferson as an “intellectual voluptuary,” while Jefferson simply called Hamilton a “colossus.” This complex relationship was at the very core of President Washington’s first critical term of office. Hal Bidlack will help the audience understand both the personal and the public characters of these men, and how their arguments echo down to this day.
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