Alexander Hamilton: Writings

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One of the most vivid, influential, and controversial figures of the American founding, Alexander Hamilton was an unusually prolific and vigorous writer. As a military aide to George Washington, critic of the Articles of Confederation, proponent of ratification of the Constitution, first Secretary of the Treasury, and leader of the Federalist party, Hamilton devoted himself to the creation of a militarily and economically powerful American nation guided by a strong, energetic republican government. His public and private writings demonstrate the perceptive intelligence, confident advocacy, driving ambition, and profound concern for honor and reputation that contributed both to his astonishing rise to fame and to his tragic early death.

This volume contains more than 170 letters, speeches, pamphlets, essays, reports, and memoranda written between 1769 and 1804. Included are all 51 of Hamilton's contributions to The Federalist, as well as subsequent writings calling for a broad construction of federal power; his famous speech to the Constitutional Convention, which gave rise to accusations that he favored monarchy; and early writings supporting the Revolutionary cause and a stronger central government. His detailed reports as Treasury secretary on the public credit, a national bank, and the encouragement of manufactures present a forward-looking vision of a country transformed by the power of financial markets, centralized banking, and industrial development.

Hamilton's sometimes flawed political judgment is revealed in the "Reynolds Pamphlet," in which he confessed to adultery in order to defend himself against accusations of corrupt conduct, and in his self-destructive pamphlet attack on John Adams during the 1800 presidential campaign. An extensive selection of private letters illuminates Hamilton's complex relationship with George Washington, his deep affection for his wife and children, his mounting fears during the 1790s regarding the Jeffersonian opposition and the French Revolution, and his profound distrust of Aaron Burr. Included in an appendix are conflicting eyewitness accounts of the Hamilton-Burr duel.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Whether lamenting the paucity of power in revolutionary-era Congress or asking a friend to find him a wife in Carolina, founding father Alexander Hamilton was earnest, passionate and articulate. In Hamilton: Writings, Joanne B. Freeman (Affairs of Honor), assistant history professor at Yale, has assembled 170 letters, essays, reports and speeches from 1769 to 1804. Describing himself as "[c]old in my professions, warm in my friendships," Hamilton indeed exhibits a range of expression, emotion and restraint. Extensive wartime correspondence, 51 contributions to The Federalist, the famous speech to the Constitutional Convention, courtship letters and many more items will interest all fans of American history. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The latest in the Library of America series arranges Hamilton's writings in chronological order. The text consists of more than 170 letters, speeches, essays, reports, and memoranda written between 1769 and 1804, including all of Hamilton's material presented in The Federalist. This additionally sports several conflicting eyewitness accounts of Hamilton's lethal duel with Aaron Burr. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931082044
  • Publisher: Library of America
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Series: Library of America Series
  • Pages: 1108
  • Sales rank: 434,749
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.16 (h) x 1.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) was born in the West Indies and served during the War of Independence as a captain. His military brilliance was recognized, and he was sent on several important military commissions. He was George Washington’s secretary and aide-de-camp and in 1787 become a Member of the Constitutional Convention. From 1789 to 1795 he was the first Secretary of the Treasury, and in 1801 he held the casting vote against Burr and for Jefferson. He fought a duel with Burr and died the next day.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


To Edward Stevens

St Croix Novemr. 11th 1769
Dear Edward

    This just serves to acknowledge receipt of yours per Cap Lowndes which was delivered me Yesterday. The truth of Cap Lightbourn & Lowndes information is now verifyd by the Presence of your Father and Sister for whose safe arrival I Pray, and that they may, convey that Satisfaction to your Soul that must naturally flow from the sight of Absent Friends in health, and shall for news this way refer you to them. As to what you say respecting your having soon the happiness of seeing us all, I wish, for an accomplishment of your hopes provided they are Concomitant with your welfare, otherwise not, tho doubt whether I shall be Present or not for to confess my weakness, Ned, my Ambition is prevalent that I contemn the grov'ling and condition of a Clerk or the like, to which my Fortune &c. condemns me and would willingly risk my life tho' not my Character to exalt my Station. Im confident, Ned that my Youth excludes me from any hopes of immediate Preferment nor do I desire it, but I mean to prepare the way for futurity. Im no Philosopher you see and may be jusly said to Build Castles in the Air. My Folly makes mc ashamd and beg youll Conceal it, yet Neddy we have seen such Schemes successfull when the Projector is Constant I shall Conclude saying I wish there was a War.

    I am Dr Edward Yours Alex Hamilton

PS I this moment receivd yours by William Smith and am pleasd to see you Give such Close Application to Study.

Excerpted from Alexander Hamilton by Alexander Hamilton. Copyright © 2001 by Literary Classics of the United States, Inc.. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved.
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Table of Contents

The West Indies, the Revolution, and the Confederation, 1769-1786
To Edward Stevens, November 11, 1769: "My Ambition Is Prevalent" 3
To Nicholas Cruger, February 24, 1772: Counting-House Business 4
To The Royal Danish American Gazette, September 6, 1772: Account of a Hurricane 6
A Full Vindication of the Measures of the Congress, December 15, 1774 10
To John Jay, November 26, 1775: The Danger of Trusting in Virtue 43
To Gouverneur Morris, May 19, 1777: The New York Constitution 46
To George Clinton, February 13, 1778: The Trouble with Congress 48
To Elias Boudinot, July 5, 1778: The Battle of Monmouth 51
To John Jay, March 14, 1779: Enlisting Slaves as Soldiers 56
To John Laurens, c. April 1779: Hope for a Wife 58
To William Gordon, September 5, 1779: An Insult to Honor 61
To John Laurens, January 8, 1780: "I Am Not Fit for This Terrestreal Country" 65
To Elizabeth Schuyler, August 1780: "Examine Well Your Heart" 66
To James Duane, September 3, 1780: "The Defects of Our Present System" 70
To Elizabeth Schuyler, September 3, 1780: Opinions Regarding the Sexes 87
To Elizabeth Schuyler, September 25, 1780: The Plight of Mrs. Arnold 89
To Elizabeth Schuyler, October 2, 1780: The Fate of Major Andre 91
To Margarita Schuyler, January 21, 1781: Advice About Marriage 92
To Philip Schuyler, February 18, 1781: A Break with Washington 93
To James McHenry, February 18, 1781: Washington Will Repent His Ill-Humour 97
The Continentalist No. I, July 12, 1781 98
The Continentalist No. III, August 9, 1781 101
The Continentalist No. IV, August 30, 1781 106
The Continentalist No. VI, July 4, 1782 111
To Richard Kidder Meade, August 27, 1782: The Birth of a Son 118
Remarks in Congress on Raising Funds, January 27, 1783 120
Remarks in Congress on Collecting Funds, January 28, 1783 121
To George Washington, February 13, 1783: The Prospect of a Mutiny 121
To George Washington, March 17, 1783: "Contending for a Shadow" 123
A Letter from Phocion to the Considerate Citizens of New-York on the Politics of the Day, January 1784 127
To James Hamilton, June 22, 1785: "I Feel All the Sentiment of a Brother" 140
Address of the Annapolis Convention, September 14, 1786 142
Framing and Ratifying the Constitution, 1787-1789
Plan of Government, c. June 18, 1787 149
Speech in the Constitutional Convention on a Plan of Government, June 18, 1787 151
To George Washington, July 3, 1787: "The Critical Opportunity" 166
Conjectures About the New Constitution, c. late September 1787 167
The Federalist No. 1, October 27, 1787 171
The Federalist No. 6, November 14, 1787 176
The Federalist No. 7, November 17, 1787 183
The Federalist No. 8, November 20, 1787 190
The Federalist No. 9, November 21, 1787 196
The Federalist No. 11, November 24, 1787 202
The Federalist No. 12, November 27, 1787 209
The Federalist No. 13, November 28, 1787 215
The Federalist No. 15, December 1, 1787 218
The Federalist No. 16, December 4, 1787 226
The Federalist No. 17, December 5, 1787 232
The Federalist No. 21, December 12, 1787 237
The Federalist No. 22, December 14, 1787 243
The Federalist No. 23, December 18, 1787 253
The Federalist No. 24, December 19, 1787 258
The Federalist No. 25, December 21, 1787 264
The Federalist No. 26, December 22, 1787 269
The Federalist No. 27, December 25, 1787 275
The Federalist No. 28, December 26, 1787 279
The Federalist No. 29, January 9, 1788 284
The Federalist No. 30, December 28, 1787 290
The Federalist No. 31, January 1, 1788 296
The Federalist No. 32, January 2, 1788 301
The Federalist No. 33, January 2, 1788 305
The Federalist No. 34, January 5, 1788 310
The Federalist No. 35, January 5, 1788 316
The Federalist No. 36, January 8, 1788 322
The Federalist No. 59, February 22, 1788 330
The Federalist No. 60, February 23, 1788 335
The Federalist No. 61, February 26, 1788 341
The Federalist No. 65, March 7, 1788 345
The Federalist No. 66, March 8, 1788 351
The Federalist No. 67, March 11, 1788 357
The Federalist No. 68, March 12, 1788 362
The Federalist No. 69, March 14, 1788 366
The Federalist No. 70, March 15, 1788 374
The Federalist No. 71, March 18, 1788 383
The Federalist No. 72, March 19, 1788 388
The Federalist No. 73, March 21, 1788 394
The Federalist No. 74, March 25, 1788 400
The Federalist No. 75, March 26, 1788 403
The Federalist No. 76, April 1, 1788 408
The Federalist No. 77, April 2, 1788 413
To James Madison, May 19, 1788: Coordinating a Campaign 418
The Federalist No. 78, May 28, 1788 420
The Federalist No. 79, May 28, 1788 428
The Federalist No. 80, May 28, 1788 431
The Federalist No. 81, May 28, 1788 438
The Federalist No. 82, May 28, 1788 448
The Federalist No. 83, May 28, 1788 452
The Federalist No. 84, May 28, 1788 467
The Federalist No. 85, May 28, 1788 478
To James Madison, June 8, 1788: Fears of Civil War 485
Speech in the New York Ratifying Convention on Representation, June 21, 1788 487
Speech in the New York Ratifying Convention on Interests and Corruption, June 21, 1788 496
Speech in the New York Ratifying Convention on the Distribution of Powers, June 27, 1788 502
To George Washington, September 1788: Convincing Washington To Serve 511
To James Wilson, January 25, 1789: Withholding Votes from Adams 513
To George Washington, May 5, 1789: Presidential Etiquette 515
Secretary of the Treasury, 1789-1795
To Lafayette, October 6, 1789: "I Hazard Much" 521
Memorandum by George Beckwith on a Conversation with Hamilton, October 1789 523
To Henry Lee, December 1, 1789: "Suspicion Is Ever Eagle Eyed" 530
Report on the Public Credit, January 9, 1790 531
Report on a National Bank, December 13, 1790 575
Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, February 23, 1791 613
Report on the Subject of Manufactures, December 5, 1791 647
To Philip A. Hamilton, December 5, 1791: "A Promise Must Never Be Broken" 735
To Edward Carrington, May 26, 1792: "A Faction Decidedly Hostile to Me" 736
To George Washington, July 30, 1792: The Necessity of Reelection 751
An American No. I, August 4, 1792 755
To George Washington, August 18, 1792: Political and Personal Defense 760
To John Adams, September 9, 1792: Reprimanding Adams 788
To George Washington, September 9, 1792: Responding to a Plea for Peace 789
Amicus, September 11, 1792 792
To an Unknown Correspondent, September 26, 1792: An Embryo-Cesar 794
Draft of a Defense of the Neutrality Proclamation, c. May 1793 795
Pacificus No. I, June 29, 1793 801
To Andrew G. Fraunces, October 1, 1793: "Contemptible As You Are" 810
To Angelica Hamilton, c. November 1793: Advice to a Daughter 810
To George Washington, April 14, 1794: Crisis with Britain 811
To George Washington, August 2, 1794: The Whiskey Rebellion 823
Tully No. I, August 23, 1794 827
Tully No. III, August 28, 1794 830
To Angelica Church, October 23, 1794: "Wicked Insurgents of the West" 832
To Angelica Church, December 8, 1794: "A Politician, and Good for Nothing" 833
Memorandum on the French Revolution, 1794 833
To George Washington, February 3, 1795: Resigning from Office 836
Federalist Leader and Attorney, 1795-1804
To Rufus King, February 21, 1795: A Threat to the Public Credit 841
To Robert Troup, April 13, 1795: "Public Fools" 842
The Defence No. I, July 22, 1795 844
Memorandum on the Design for a Seal of the United States, c. May 1796 850
To George Washington, July 30, 1796: A Draft of the Farewell Address 851
To William Loughton Smith, April 10, 1797: Crisis with France 869
To William Hamilton, May 2, 1797: Introduction to an Uncle 879
The "Reynolds Pamphlet," August 25, 1797 883
To George Washington, May 19, 1798: An Appeal to Washington 911
To Elizabeth Hamilton, November 1798: "My Good Genius" 912
To Theodore Sedgwick, February 2, 1799: The Problem of Virginia 913
To James McHenry, March 18, 1799: Displaying Strength "Like a Hercules" 915
Memorandum on Measures for Strengthening the Government, c. 1799 915
To Josiah Ogden Hoffman, November 6, 1799: "The Force of the Laws Must Be Tried" 920
To Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, December 22, 1799: The Death of Washington 922
To Martha Washington, January 12, 1800: "So Heart-Rending an Affliction" 922
To John Jay, May 7, 1800: An Electoral Stratagem 923
To Theodore Sedgwick, May 10, 1800: Withdrawing Support from Adams 925
To Charles Carroll of Carrollton, July 1, 1800: Supporting Pinckney 926
To John Adams, August 1, 1800: Response to an Accusation 928
To Oliver Wolcott Jr., August 3, 1800: "I Am in a Very Belligerent Humour" 929
To William Jackson, August 26, 1800: "The Most Humiliating Criticism" 930
Rules for Philip Hamilton, 1800 932
To John Adams, October 1, 1800: "A Base Wicked and Cruel Calumny" 932
Letter from Alexander Hamilton, Concerning the Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, Esq. President of the United States, October 24, 1800 934
To Gouverneur Morris, December 26, 1800: Jefferson Over Burr 972
To John Rutledge Jr., January 4, 1801: Anxiety About the Election 972
To James A. Bayard, January 16, 1801: Burr Has "No Fixed Theory" 977
Proposal for the New York Legislature for Amending the Constitution, January 1802 982
Remarks on the Repeal of the Judiciary Act, February 11, 1802 983
To Gouverneur Morris, February 29, 1802: "Mine Is an Odd Destiny" 985
To Benjamin Rush, March 29, 1802: The Death of Philip Hamilton 987
To James A. Bayard, April 1802: The Christian Constitutional Society 987
To Rufus King, June 3, 1802: "A Most Visionary Theory Presides" 991
To Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, December 29, 1802: "Refuge of a Disappointed Politician" 994
To Elizabeth Hamilton, March 17, 1803: "A World Full of Evil" 995
Purchase of Louisiana, July 5, 1803 996
To Timothy Pickering, September 16, 1803: Explaining a Plan of Government 1002
Speech to a Federalist Meeting in Albany, February 10, 1804 1004
Propositions on the Law of Libel, February 15, 1804 1006
From Aaron Burr, June 18, 1804: Origins of a Dispute 1008
To Aaron Burr, June 20, 1804: Declining to Avow or Disavow 1010
From Aaron Burr, June 21, 1804: New Reasons for a Definite Reply 1012
To Aaron Burr, June 22, 1804: "Expressions Indecorous and Improper" 1013
From Aaron Burr, June 22, 1804: "The Course I Am About to Pursue" 1014
Response to a Letter from William P. Van Ness, June 28, 1804 1015
Statement Regarding Financial Situation, July 1, 1804 1016
To Elizabeth Hamilton, July 4, 1804: "Fly to the Bosom of Your God" 1019
Statement Regarding the Duel with Burr, c. July 10, 1804 1019
To Theodore Sedgwick, July 10, 1804: "Our Real Disease; Which Is Democracy" 1022
To Elizabeth Hamilton, July 10, 1804: An Obligation Owed 1023
Appendix Statements on the Hamilton-Burr Duel
Joint Statement by William P. Van Ness and Nathaniel Pendleton, July 17, 1804 1027
Statement by Nathaniel Pendleton, July 19, 1804 1028
Statement by William P. Van Ness, July 21, 1804 1030
Chronology 1035
Note on the Texts 1052
Notes 1056
Index 1090
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