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Chapters Quiz #3 / Chapters 7 – 9
see CANVAS for due date
Directions: Post your answers to these questions in the assignment text box.
[1] In this weekâ??s assigned reading, titled; Hamilton and Jefferson: The Deserving
and the Deserter, the author makes a several points regarding the founding era.
Write a brief paragraph on something you learned about this period from reading
this article.
[2] What were the four original cabinet positions created by President George
Washington and who did he chose to serve in these positions?
[3] Detail and explain the steps Alexander Hamilton believed were needed to
establish a strong American economy.
[4] Explain the Jeffersonian argument against Hamiltonâ??s Bank of the United
States. (see â??John Adamsâ?? video excerpt posted under â??Week 3 Reviewâ??)
[5] How are the lessons of the â??Alien & Sedition Actâ?? significant to today?
[6] Briefly list three significant facts regarding the â??Election of 1800â??.
[7] What did the â??Midnight Judgesâ?? case establish and why does this episode
resonate in todayâ??s political environment?
[8] What do you believe was most significant about Jeffersonâ??s Presidency?
[9] Briefly detail what the War of 1812 was all about?
[10] What do you believe was most significant about the â??Era of Good Feelings.â???
University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee
American History I
Mr. Michael Sprout
msprout@mail.usf.edu
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Hamilton and Jefferson: The Deserving and the Deserter
These two Founding Fathers could hardly be more unlike.
By M. D. Aeschliman â?? October 31, 2015
T
he proposal to remove Alexander Hamilton from the ten-dollar bill shows yet again how poorly we often value the really deserving
figures in our history: Other than Hamiltonâ??s great patron, colleague, and friend George Washington and his lineal political descendant
Abraham Lincoln, no one deserves more gratitude, interest, and credit for the relative success of the U.S.A. as a state, society, and
economy than Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Mirandaâ??s musical Hamilton gives a popular edge to the picture we get from two outstanding
books on Hamilton that explain in detail why he is among our greatest and most instructive figures â?? Richard Brookhiserâ??s Alexander
Hamilton, American (1999) and Ron Chernowâ??s mammoth biography Hamilton (2004), which won the George Washington Book Prize
in 2005 and inspired Miranda to write his musical.
Another interesting interplay between history and the contemporary arts, like the playwright/composer Mirandaâ??s inspirational reading
of Chernowâ??s biography, is to be found in Annette Gordon-Reedâ??s account of how she came to write her groundbreaking book Thomas
Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (1995), which she followed up with her Pulitzer Prizeâ??winning The Hemingses
of Monticello (2009). An African-American woman now teaching at Harvard Law School, Gordon-Reed has described how she was
inspired to write her book on Jefferson, his black mistress, and their offspring by watching in 1995 the Merchantâ??Ivory film Jefferson in
Paris, a quite brilliant exposure of Jefferson as a hypocrite. This was also about the time when DNA testing on Hemings descendants
made it overwhelmingly probable that Jefferson had indeed sired mixed-race children and that one of them, Madison Hemings, was
telling the truth about Jeffersonâ??s being his father when he told his life story to an Ohio newspaper in 1873. The Sally Hemings story
had been widely circulated in Jeffersonâ??s lifetime and afterward, and the historian Fawn Brodie skillfully made the case for it in Thomas
Jefferson: An Intimate History (1974). But defenders of Jefferson such as biographer Dumas Malone harshly attacked Brodieâ??s book and
sneered at Madison Hemingsâ??s account as that of an untrustworthy, lower-class mulatto looking for gain, fame, or notoriety.
RELATED: The Vision of the Founding Fathers
In addition to Brookhiserâ??s, Chernowâ??s, and Gordon-Reedâ??s books, we owe much to Conor Cruise Oâ??Brienâ??s outstanding study The
Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution (1996). â??Rien nâ??est beau que le vrai,â? goes an uncharacteristically orthodox
French adage: â??Nothing is beautiful but the true.â? Alexander Hamilton may have taken this far too literally â?? he issued an
unnecessarily revealing public statement documenting, exposing, and apologizing for an adulterous affair into which he had been lured
by two extortionists, causing great pain to his beloved wife, who bore him eight children and to whom he was otherwise apparently
deeply devoted and loyal. She outlived him by 50 years after his murder by Aaron Burr in 1804 and was whole-heartedly devoted to
getting him the recognition that he deserved for his deeds and writings, but which was denied him by his resentful and envious rivals,
including John Adams and the Virginians Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe.
Jeffersonâ??s character and career, documented during his lifetime and subsequently, and especially well by Oâ??Brien, were often marked
by double-dealing, deceit, prevarication, and extraordinarily clever hypocrisy, especially on the race issue, presenting a strong contrast
to the forthright candor of Hamilton. Not only was Jefferson born to wealth and privilege, including slaves, but he lived very well and
far beyond his means, dying deeply in debt and manumitting at death only the Hemings slaves: Contrast George Washington, who
manumitted all of his slaves at his death and provided funds for some of them.
B
orn poor and illegitimate in the West Indies, Hamilton was a completely self-made man: a scholarship boy in New York, a
Revolutionary War hero who became the second-in-command to General Washington, the inspirer and writer, with Madison, of The
Federalist Papers advocating the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, principal spokesman on its behalf in the crucial New York ratifying
convention, the first secretary of the Treasury and main adviser and amanuensis to President Washington, and also a dogged, lifelong
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opponent of slavery. The great anti-slavery Virginia Federalist John Marshall, himself a war veteran who owned no slaves and went on
to be the great first chief justice of the United States (1801â??35), said that compared to Hamiltonâ??s intellect he felt like a mere candle
â??beside the sun at noon-day.â? After reading through Washingtonâ??s state papers, many of them written by Hamilton, in preparation for
writing his biography of Washington, Marshall said Hamilton was â??the greatest man (or one of the greatest men) that had ever appeared
in the United States.�
When Hamiltonâ??s clever, amoral rival Aaron Burr, who continued to serve as vice president of the United States under Jefferson even
after murdering Hamilton, visited France in later life, he asked for an interview with the French foreign minister, Talleyrand, who had
known Hamilton well. Talleyrand sent a note to tell Burr that he would see him, but that he should be warned â??that a portrait of
Alexander Hamilton always hangs in my study where all may see it.� Talleyrand also said that he considered Napoleon, Charles James
Fox, and Hamilton the greatest men of his age, and that if he were â??forced to decide between the three, I would give without hesitation
the first place to Hamilton.â? He said that Hamilton, who had never traveled to Europe, â??divined Europe.â?
Jefferson, who was American ambassador in France from 1785 to 1789, never spoke French well, whereas Hamilton, who never set foot
in Europe, spoke French fluently and was Washingtonâ??s translator during the American Revolutionary War, when the France of Louis
XVI was an American ally. But Hamilton, unlike Jefferson, was never seduced by French manners, morals, or models, the â??libertinageâ?
(libertinism) that was often the practical meaning of â??Enlightenment,â? or by the abstract idea of liberty â?? not grounded in history, fact,
or realism â?? that Jefferson and the other Virginia slave-owners Madison, Monroe, and Patrick Henry invoked so cleverly to pose as
liberals and democrats. â??Why is it,â? the anti-slavery Samuel Johnson, a Tory and a Christian, had unforgettably asked in 1775, â??that we
hear the loudest yelps for liberty from the drivers of Negro slaves?�
RELATED: Bumping Hamilton From the $10 Bill Is Arrogant, Ignorant, and Stupid
Why indeed? And how were they allowed to get away with it? Oâ??Brienâ??s The Long Affair succeeds in explaining this. By posing as
pro-â??Enlightenmentâ? friends of abstract liberty and â??the common man,â? Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe succeeded brilliantly in
deflecting attention from the â??peculiar institutionâ? of slavery, whose existence was the very condition of their living leisured and
privileged lives like landed French or English aristocrats. They were â??parlor pinks,â? indulging in ostentatious oral and written sympathy
with the wildly oscillating, bloody, and brutal French Revolution, during whose sanguinary phases men exactly like them were fleeing
France or being guillotined in large numbers. Oâ??Brien shows in great detail and with brilliantly chosen quotations how systematically
and cleverly evasive were Jeffersonâ??s writings on race and slavery, as he deplored it on paper while enforcing it brutally on his own
plantation, where his regime never slackened its rigor, and while keeping a beautiful black concubine who bore him children.
Hamilton had grown up among blacks in the West Indies, and he hated slavery passionately and worked all his life to ban it as a member
of the New York Manumission Society. Yet his allegedly more â??democraticâ? political enemies, especially Jefferson, Madison, and
Monroe, persistently defamed him as a closet monarchist and aristocrat who was aspiring to re-unite the United States with Britain
under a monarch or even to seize control himself in a coup dâ??état. Oâ??Brien shows how Jeffersonâ??s final disillusionment with the
murderous French Revolution â?? after his â??long affairâ? with it â?? came about only after the successful slave uprising against the French
in Haiti, which terrified him, and the dictatorship of Napoleon, a dictatorship that Hamilton, like Edmund Burke, had dreaded and
predicted from an early date in the revolutionary euphoria.
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I
f Hamilton was deserving but defamed in the last years of his life, and for long afterward, we might say that the popularly triumphant
Jefferson won his power and fame largely through the clever, well-disguised desertion of principles that he had probably sincerely
espoused as a young man. Like the envious John Adams, Jefferson mocked, ignored, or denied the military bravery of Hamilton during
the Revolutionary War, bravery in such spectacular contrast to his own ambiguous behavior. As Chernow notes, â??Hamilton had spent
five years in combat, exposing himself to enemy fire on many occasions.â? By contrast, Jefferson â??never set foot on a battlefield.â?
Chernow goes on to mention that after being elected governor of Virginia in 1779, Jefferson â??found the job irksome and wanted to
resign, prompting Edmund Pendleton to complain to Madison, â??It is a little cowardly to quit our postsâ??â? in a difficult time. Chernow
continues: â??When the turncoat Benedict Arnold burned and pillaged Richmond in January 1781, the capital stood defenseless despite
warnings from Washington to Jefferson. Governor Jefferson fled in the early hours, giving up Richmond without a shot and allowing
munitions and government records to fall into British hands. In June, in Jeffersonâ??s waning hours as Governor, the British pounced on
Charlottesville and almost captured the Virginia Assembly gathered there. Then, when word came that a British cavalry was
approaching Monticello, Jefferson scrambled off on horseback into the woods.â? Jefferson was subsequently â??accused of dereliction of
duty and neglecting the transfer of power to his successor.�
RELATED: Historyâ??s Complexity Should Discourage Liberalsâ?? Cheap Retroactive Morality
As amanuensis in the writing of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was the principal author of the great lines about â??selfevidentâ? truths: â??that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these
are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.� Even if the roots of this claim were in Judaism, Stoicism, and the Christian New
Testament, conveyed by the Church, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Richard Hooker, 17th-century Protestant dissenters, and John Locke,
Jefferson nevertheless deserves permanent credit for the formulation. Other passages in his writings, including Notes on the State of
Virginia, draw on the lively, widespread tradition of his time that historian Gregg Frazier has called â??theistic rationalismâ? (Faith and the
Founders of the American Republic, ed. D. L. Dreisbach and M. D. Hall [Oxford, 2014]). Unlike Jefferson, Hamilton was from an early
age devout, remaining so while a student at Kingâ??s College in New York (now Columbia) â?? which until after the Revolution was
connected with the Church of England â?? and identifying himself with orthodox Christianity throughout his life.
But if Jefferson deserves credit for the classic articulation, in the great 1776 Declaration, of Natural Law and theistic rationalism â?? of
the Judaeo-Christian tradition in its scholastic or rational form â?? it is not hard to see why many of his educated contemporaries thought
him, as Chernow reports, â??one of the most artful, intriguing, industrious and double-faced politicians in America.â? When, in writing of
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the iniquity of slavery, he said, â??I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just,â? Jefferson cleverly used the force and
momentum of a theological language that, in most cases and respects, he opposed or denied. In The Long Affair, Oâ??Brien painstakingly
tracks Jeffersonâ??s artful subterfuges, and those of his apologists down to the present day. He also shows how Jefferson deserted his
initial skepticism about the French and the French Revolution and became an ardent and uncritical admirer of it from 1789 until the
accession of Napoleon. As Page Smith argued in his 1978 history of the Constitution â?? a document Jefferson had nothing to do with
and mistrusted â?? Jefferson essentially promoted a secular-democratic consciousness opposed to the classical-Christian consciousness of
most of the Founding Fathers, including Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Marshall, John Jay, Gouverneur Morris, and the early Madison.
Jefferson also came to desert the ethical universalism of the Declarationâ??s great sentence â?? an earlier draft of which had read, â??We hold
these truths to be sacred,â? not â??self-evident.â? They certainly ceased to be self-evident or sacred to him, if they ever were, because of the
â??scientificâ? evolution of his thinking about alleged racial superiority and inferiority. Jefferson became the inspiration not only for
Southern statesâ??-rights intransigency about slavery â?? Calhoun and the â??nullifiersâ? â?? but also for a theoretical â??scientific racismâ? that
would later be immensely augmented by Darwinism. As a politician he pushed for laws prohibiting free blacks in Virginia, and he
threatened mixed-race free blacks with death, opposed and harassed the black regime in Haiti, and demanded the deportation to Africa
of any freed American slaves. He, along with Madison, Monroe, and Henry, wonderful, stirring libertarians and democrats on paper,
actually got and maintained their positions in life not â?? like Hamilton â?? by â??the sweat of their backs, but by the sweat of their blacks.â?
It was this gross, fundamental hypocrisy that revolted Abraham Lincoln, who hated Jefferson as a person although admiring his great
libertarian public statements, as Allen C. Guelzo has recently pointed out (â??What Did Lincoln Really Think of Jefferson?â? New York
Times, July 3, 2015).
Another profound anomaly was that Jeffersonâ??s â??democratic revolution of 1800â? â?? his defeat of the Federalist John Adams in the
presidential election of that year â?? was not really â??democraticâ? at all. The Constitutionâ??s pro-Southern â??three-fifthsâ? clause counted
each slave as three-fifths of a person for purposes of state electoral-vote totals, without of course any idea that these enumerated persons
were allowed to vote. Does anyone in his senses doubt that if these â??three-fifths personsâ? had had the vote they would have voted
against slave-owners such as Jefferson and for an anti-slavery Federalist such as Adams, Hamilton, or Marshall? They were of course
never given the chance, but large slave-holding states such as Virginia and South Carolina were given their electoral votes anyway.
Chernow patiently makes the relevant points: â??The 1800 triumphâ? of Jeffersonâ??s party, he writes, â??also meant the ascendancy of the
slaveholding south. Three Virginia slaveholders â?? Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe â?? were to control the White House for the next
twenty-four years. These aristocratic exponents of â??democracyâ?? not only owned hundreds of human beings but profited from the
Constitutionâ??s least democratic features: the legality of slavery and the ability of southern states to count three-fifths of their captive
populations in calculating their electoral votes.� Regarding the outcome of the 1800 presidential election, Chernow pens a lapidary line:
â??Without this so-called federal ratio, John Adams would have defeated Thomas Jefferson in 1800.â?
â??The Constitution did more than just tolerate slavery,â? Chernow writes, â??it actively rewarded it.â? The completely racialist and
undemocratic Electoral College bias in favor of the South â??inflated southern power against the north and disfigured the democracy so
proudly proclaimed by the Jeffersonians. Slaveholding presidents from the south occupied the presidency for approximately fifty of the
seventy-two years following Washingtonâ??s first inauguration.â? And liberal-democratic historians until recently have been kind to these
â??democrats.â? Chernow concludes: â??Many of these slaveholding populists were celebrated by posterity as tribunes of the common
people. Meanwhile, the self-made Hamilton, a fervent abolitionist and a staunch believer in meritocracy, was villainized in American
history textbooks as an apologist for privilege and wealth.�
Hamilton was gloomy about the raucous and rebellious politics and the long-term future of the republic at the end of his life, terminated
at age 49 in the duel with the cynical libertine Aaron Burr in 1804. As he was dying from the mortal gunshot wound, Hamilton worried
about the threat to the decent survival of the United States; one of his last recorded statements was, â??If they break this union, they will
break my heart.�
Contrast the extremist, Jacobin utterance of the aged, aristocratic Jefferson, writing from Monticello, three years before his death, in a
letter to John Adams, advocating a revolutionary, proto-Bolshevik â??universal republicanismâ?: â??To attain all this, however, rivers of
blood must yet flow, and years of desolation pass over; yet the object is worth rivers of blood, and years of desolation� (September 4,
1823). It was, in fact, ultimately the extinction of the slavery that supported his way of life that would require such rivers of blood and
years of desolation.
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