The Use of History, Then and Now

During the first discussion, “History: Past and Future,” panelists at the recent AHI conference debated the ways Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson used history. For a conference organized by a history professor and a panel laden with historians, that question seemed fitting but awkwardly put. While everyone in the room knew what Steve Ely, the moderator, was asking, I chafed against the phrase “use history.”

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A Republic, If You Can Keep It: More on the Recent AHI Colloquium

You must find Philadelphia much changed, Mr. Jefferson.”

“More changed than I could have imagined, Mr. Hamilton. Not the city itself—all cities swallow everything … that’s no surprise to me; that’s why I abhor them. But I have been, as you know, in revolutionary France, where the streets are filled with the sounds of liberty and brotherhood and the overthrow of ancient tyrannies of Europe. And to return from there to this, our cradle of revolution, and find the dinner-table chatter is all of money and banks and authorities is — an unwelcome surprise.”

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Reflections on “Hamilton v. Jefferson: On History, Freedom, and Republican Government”

The Alexander Hamilton Institute’s eleventh annual colloquium, “Hamilton v. Jefferson: On History, Freedom, and Republican Government,” took place recently in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was an extraordinary educational event.

AHI undergraduate fellows and other Hamilton College students traveled there on Thursday, November 15 for the two-day conference, where they heard prominent Jefferson and Hamilton scholars debate these two very different founders’ legacies and contributions to American history.

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The Blue Wave: Midterm Elections in Perspective

In the buildup to the midterm elections, nothing garnered more attention than the much-ballyhooed “blue wave” being sold by many politicos. It was hard to tell whether they truly believed this prediction or it was a tactical move, a self-fulfilling prophecy, as if the more they talked it up, the more the masses would get on board and make it a reality. As human nature would lead us to expect after any competition that lacks a definite winner and loser, both sides rushed to claim victory. They also applauded the high voter turnout rate. Unfortunately, this phenomenon often has an effect opposite to the outcome they are trying to elicit -- overinterpreting the strength of one or the other party’s performance after the election will discourage turnout the next time.

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Europe’s Immigration Crisis: What We Can Learn From It

Coming into the school year, I was only somewhat aware of the immigration and refugee crisis spreading all over Europe. It was not until my Introduction to Public Policy class that I really got a grasp of the surrounding issues. The class focuses on immigration and refugee policy. A major group project in it is a policy brief on the immigration and refugee practices of a country of our choice. Many are part of the European Union (EU), which has an open borders policy. Open borders across Europe were enacted in 1985 as part of the Schengen Agreement, which did away with border checks. By now, 26 European countries have open borders. Although the idea was good in theory, EU countries could not have predicted its outcome in the years to come.

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Florida Grants Felons the Right to Vote

Last week, Florida voted to restore voting rights to as many as 1.4 million people with felony records, a number which includes 500,000 African-Americans. According to the New York Times, Amendment 4 passed with more than the required 60 percent threshold (and 766, 200 signatures were needed to place it on the ballot). Thus, an overwhelming share of voters supported it. The amendment restores voting rights to felons who have completed their prison sentences, parole, and probation, except for those convicted of murder or sexual assault. In fact, many people said it was the proposed amendment that prompted them to vote. Most Floridians who voted for the amendment were from Democratic counties, but a considerable amount of support came from Republican-leaning counties.

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