The Erotic Charisma of Alexander Hamilton

In 2010, Caroline A. Hamilton wrote “The Erotic Charisma of Alexander Hamilton” in the Journal of American Studies. I’ve included a short excerpt from Hamilton’s article below, and the full article PDF is available here, via the University of Pittsburgh.  Pretty interesting stuff- share your thoughts in the comments below!

“Hamilton was the youngest, best-looking, most controversial, and arguably the most brilliant of the major founders. He was almost fifty years younger than Benjamin Franklin, twenty-three years younger than Washington (rumored to be his father), twenty years younger than Adams, fourteen years younger than Jefferson, and four years younger than Madison. At the time of his death in the famous duel, Hamilton was the age Barack Obama was in 2009. Aaron Burr lived another thirty-two years after the duel, dying at the age of eighty. Adams and Jefferson outlived Hamilton by twenty-two years, with Adams surviving to ninety-one and Jefferson to eighty-three. Madison died in 1836 at the age of eighty-five. As Ron Chernow has observed, Hamilton’s premature demise gave his political opponents a chance to shape, and to distort, his reputation and legacy. Hamilton’s life story is as improbable and seductive as his financial work – assumption of the debt, sinking funds, protectionism, taxation, a national bank – is dry and daunting.

Hamilton was a Romantic avant la lettre. He fought with both the pen and the sword. He led a dramatic life before Byron supplied the model for literary characters like Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin and Lermontov’s Pechorin (Pushkin and Lermontov were killed in duels). Born on a Caribbean island far from any center of power, Hamilton fought on the battlefields of a revolution, rose to the peak of national power and international fame, was ensnared in the first sex scandal in American politics, fell from power because of a tragic flaw in his temperament (an excess of candor, his friends said), and died a violent, premature death. He made lifelong, devoted friends and bitter, ruthless enemies. His story is the stuff of tragedy.”

Click to access -AMS-AMS45_01-S0021875810000629a.pdf

Click to access -AMS-AMS45_01-S0021875810000629a.pdf

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