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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