Letters & Other Writings
For fans of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit Broadway musical: Alexander Hamilton comes to life in his own words in this authoritative new collection.
A brash immigrant who rises to become George Washington’s right hand man. A fierce partisan whose nationalist vision makes him Thomas Jefferson’s bitter rival. An unfaithful husband whose commitment to principle brings his life to a tragic early end. The amazing success of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical has stoked an extraordinary resurgence in interest in Alexander Hamilton, the brilliant and controversial figure who shaped our system of government more than any other founder. Now, Library of America presents an unrivaled portrait of Hamilton in his own words, charting his meteoric rise, his triumphant tenure as treasury secretary, and his scandalous final years, which culminate in his infamous duel with Aaron Burr. Selected and introduced by award-winning historian Joanne B. Freeman, here is a reader’s edition of Hamilton’s essential public writings and private letters, plus two vivid (and conflicting) eyewitness accounts of the duel with Burr. Arranged chronologically, this volume contains more than 85 letters, speeches, pamphlets, essays, reports, and memoranda written between 1769 and 1804. Included are Hamilton’s most important contributions to The Federalist, as well as subsequent writings calling for a broad construction of federal power, including his famous speech to the Constitutional Convention, which gave rise to accusations that he favored monarchy. Also included is a selection of his major reports as Secretary of the Treasury, presenting a forward-looking vision of a country transformed by the power of financial markets, centralized banking, and industrial development. Hamilton’s sometimes flawed political judgment is revealed in the “Reynolds Pamphlet,” in which he confessed to adultery in order to defend himself against accusations of corrupt conduct, as well as in his self-destructive pamphlet attack on John Adams during the 1800 presidential campaign. An extensive selection of private letters illuminates Hamilton’s complex relationship with George Washington, his deep affection for his wife and children, his mounting fears during the 1790s regarding the Jeffersonian opposition and the French Revolution, and his profound distrust of Burr.