Albany Law School will confer an honorary degree on Alexander Hamilton in recognition of his influence in the Albany area. The degree will be conferred as part of the law school’s 167th Commencement ceremony on May 17, 2018. The award will be accepted by Douglas Hamilton, Alexander’s fifth great-grandson.
Alexander Hamilton was an immigrant, the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, author of a large portion of the Federalist Papers, and a Colonel to George Washington in the Revolutionary War.
Hamilton traveled to Albany for the first time in 1777 on behalf of George Washington to meet with General Horatio Gates, to convince Gates to provide Washington with reinforcements.
In 1780, Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler at the Schuyler Mansion in Albany where Aaron Burr was one of the invited guests. Elizabeth was the daughter of the prominent Albany family patriarch Philip Schuyler, a Revolutionary War general, and Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler.
Hamilton spent considerable time in Albany, staying often with his in-laws when legal work brought him to the state’s high courts. Both Hamilton and Aaron Burr studied law and were admitted to the bar by 1783. They both opened law offices in New York City. Because New York’s Capitol, the highest court—the Supreme Court of Judicature (later the Court of Appeals)—and the state legislature were all in Albany, Hamilton and Burr were frequently in the area. Burr kept an office at 24 South Pearl Street, while Hamilton often stayed with his in-laws the Schuylers.
Continuous conflicts between Burr and Hamilton eventually led to Burr challenging Hamilton to a duel in 1804. It was the Albany Register that published a letter with disparaging remarks allegedly made by Hamilton about Burr that brought the conflict to a head.
Reportedly Hamilton shot in the air, but Burr aimed and hit his target. Hamilton died the following day at age 47.
A Hamilton-themed Los Angeles event is coming up on April 21st to benefit the Kitty Bungalow. Details are below, and you can get tickets at http://www.KittyBungalow.org!
Hamilton’s Cats tells the story of a small town cat rescue that decides to put on the musical CATS to raise money for their organization. Sadly, no one has much interest in the show until discovering that Andrew Lloyd Webber plans to attend.
Now everyone wants in on the action!
This behind the scenes musical comedy mash up of the musical CATS and HAMILTON features an all star celebrity cast and dancers!
Saturday, April 21st
With appearances by
MOSHOW THE CAT RAPPER
Doors open at 7pm
Curtain at 8pm
After party until midnight!
If you’re in the New York/New Jersey area, check out the AHA Society’s series of events from January 7-11, 2017 in commemoration of Alexander Hamilton’s birthday on January 11, 1757. The AHA Society has a full list and description of events here.
The events include talks by authors Stephen Knott, Michael Newton, and Jeff Wiser. Unfortunately, I will not be attending this year, but look forward to hearing all the updates from those who do!
On October 9, 2016, I’ll be speaking on a Hamilton panel at GeekGirlCon in Seattle! Come check it out if you’re in the area! Panel description is below and it is scheduled for October 9 at 3 pm:
Over the last year, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton has become a Broadway and nationwide phenomenon, selling out tickets for performances over a year from now. We’ll explore the impact Hamilton has had in the theater world and beyond, from the fandom it’s inspired to the attention it’s brought to the women in Alexander Hamilton’s life. Come discuss a variety of topics related to the hit musical and the “founding father without a father” who inspired it.
On August 11, 2016, I’ll be giving a talk entitled “Murder in Manhattan!: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and America’s first recorded murder trial.” Tickets are available here and a description of my talk is below!
In March of 1800, the nation was transfixed by a high profile murder trial involving the death of a young woman found in the Manhattan Well. The defendant, Levi Weeks, was represented by a legal dream team of Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and Brockholst Livingston (less than four years before Burr would kill Hamilton in a duel). Pooja Nair will delve into the trial, which is the first recorded murder trial in American history, offering us unique insight into the workings of the criminal justice system of the era.
I’ve been focusing on research and on preparing talks for the past few months, but will be updating this blog more frequently and have some exciting posts scheduled for the end of August!
The New York Public Library has announced a new free exhibit on Alexander Hamilton that they will be hosting from June 24, 2016 through December 31, 2016. The library’s press release describing the exhibit states:
Alexander Hamilton: Striver, Statesman, Scoundrel features more than two dozen items on display from the Library’s collections, focusing on his ambitious early life, work as a statesman and creation of the Federalist Papers, as well as the scandals that marred his legacy. The exhibition also explores Hamilton’s volatile relationships with Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.
Some of the exciting highlights of the new exhibition include:
Hamilton’s draft of George Washington’s farewell address alongside Washington’s version
The Federalist (commonly known as the Federalist Papers) as originally published in a historic newspaper
Hamilton’s proposed plan for a U.S. Constitution
The Reynolds Pamphlet, in which Hamilton’s admits to an affair with Maria Reynolds
Letters from Hamilton to his wife Eliza, and her sister Angelica Schuyler Church; correspondence Hamilton sent on behalf of Washington, and a letter he sent to Washington about the Newburgh Conspiracy
Letter introducing Burr to the Schuyler family
Broadside of the letter that incited the duel that led to Hamilton’s death
The exhibit is open to the public for free, and will be at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 5th Ave and 42nd Street. I’ll certainly be checking it out this summer!
Happy birthday to the founding father without a father! On January 11, 1757, Alexander Hamilton was born in uncertain circumstances on the island of Nevis in the West Indies. However, by sheer brilliance, luck, and a relentless drive and ambition, Hamilton became (among many other accomplishments) an influential Revolutionary thinker, invaluable aide-de-camp to General Washington, creator of the Federalist Paper, Secretary of Treasury, and a celebrated lawyer
When Hamilton was 12, he wrote to his friend Edward Stevens who was studying in King’s College and described the extent to which his ambition made him unable to accept the circumstances of his birth as something that could limit him to a menial position for the rest of his life:
“my Ambition is prevalent that I contemn the grov’ling and condition of a Clerk or the like, to which my Fortune &c. condemns me and would willingly risk my life tho’ not my Character to exalt my Station. Im confident, Ned that my Youth excludes me from any hopes of immediate Preferment nor do I desire it, but I mean to prepare the way for futurity. Im no Philosopher you see and may be jusly said to Build Castles in the Air. My Folly makes me ashamd and beg youll Conceal it, yet Neddy we have seen such Schemes successfull when the Projector is Constant I shall Conclude saying I wish there was a War.”
In describing Hamilton’s ambition to John Adams in September of 1798, George Washington stated:
“By some he is considered as an ambitious man, and therefore a dangerous one.—That he is ambitious I shall readily grant, but it is of that laudable kind which prompts a man to excel in whatever he takes in hand.—He is enterprising,—quick in his perceptions,—and his judgment intuitively great:—qualities essential to a great military character, and therefore I repeat, that his loss will be irreparable.”
The AHA Society is putting on a series of events this weekend to commemorate Alexander Hamilton’s birthday on January 11. If you’re in the New York City area this weekend, check out the event description here.
I’ll be giving a talk on the Manhattan Well Murder trial Saturday, January 9 at 12 pm at Hamilton Grange, which has an interesting connection to the case itself. Hope to see some of you there!
Other great events include:
Dr. Tom Oller’s talk on Monday, January 11th at Federal Hall at 11 am entitled “From Colleagues to Rivals: Hamilton and Jefferson in Washington’s Cabinet and Beyond”
Dr. Stephen Knott’s keynote speech at Trinity Church at 1:15 pm on “Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance That Forged America.”
My January 9, 2015 talk on Rutgers v. Waddington at the Museum of American Finance is available on Youtube now, via the AHA Society’s Youtube channel.
In the case, newly minted 27-year old lawyer Alexander Hamilton controversially defended Loyalist merchant Joshua Waddington in a case brought by widow Elizabeth Rutgers under the Trespass Act. The Trespass Act was the most aggressive in a series of anti-Loyalist legislation passed by the New York State Legislature at the close of the Revolution. Hamilton argued that the Trespass Act was inconsistent with the Treaty of Paris and with the law of nations, as articulated by Hugo Grotius and Emer de Vattel. Hamilton also believed that specifically targeting the Loyalists for their participation in the war would be detrimental to the economic rebuilding of post-war New York. In all, Hamilton argued approximately 47 Trespass Act cases on behalf of Loyalists before the law was partially repealed in 1787.
Thanks to the AHA Society for again putting on a fabulous program of events and to the Museum of American Finance for hosting my talk! Special thanks to Sergio Villavicencio for recording and editing the video.