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David BrooksKnott does a marvelous job of gathering all the different views of Hamilton and weaving them into an interesting narrative.
— The Weekly Standard
Knott observes that Thomas Jefferson and his followers, and, later, Andrew Jackson and his adherents, tended to view Hamilton and his principles as "un-American." While his policies generated mistrust in the South and the West, where he is still seen as the founding plutocrat, Hamilton was revered in New England and parts of the mid-Atlantic states. Hamilton's image as a champion of American nationalism caused his reputation to soar during the Civil War, at least in the North. However, in the wake of Gilded Age excesses, progressive and populist political leaders branded Hamilton as the patron saint of Wall Street, and his reputation began to disintegrate.
Hamilton's status reached its nadir during the New Deal, Knott argues, when Franklin Roosevelt portrayed him as the personification of Dickensian cold-heartedness. When FDR erected the beautiful Tidal Basin monument to Thomas Jefferson and thereby elevated the Sage of Monticello into the American pantheon, Hamilton, as Jefferson's nemesis, fell into disrepute. He came to epitomize the forces of reaction contemptuous of the "great beast" -- the American people. In showing how the prevailing negative assessment misrepresents the man and his deeds, Knott argues for reconsideration of Hamiltonianism, which if rightly understood has much to offer the American polity of the twenty-first century.
Remarkably, at the dawn of the new millennium, the nation began to see Hamilton in a different light. Hamilton's story was now the embodiment of the American dream -- an impoverished immigrant who came to the United States and laid the economic and political foundation upon which America's superpower status was erected. Here in Stephen Knott's insightful study, Hamilton fainally gets his due as a highly contested but powerful and positive presence in American national life.
|Death and remembrance||1|
|1||"And night returning brings me no relief" : Hamilton and the founding generation||9|
|2||Hamilton and the Jacksonian era : the monster bank and the coming of war||27|
|3||Hamilton rises again : Civil War and his vindication||47|
|4||Hamilton's gilded age : his renaissance||67|
|5||The twilight of Hamiltonianism : 1901-1928||85|
|6||Slouching toward oblivion : Hamilton as the new deal's great beast||113|
|7||Hail Columbia! : Hamilton and Cold War America||141|
|8||At century's end : a Hamilton restoration on the horizon?||189|
|9||Getting right with Hamilton : "the public good must be paramount,"||213|