After the success of 2008's In the Heights, a Broadway rap musical about Washington Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda went to work on his sophomore project: a rap concept album on the life of Alexander Hamilton. [more inside]
"Kicking Away the Ladder: How the Economic and Intellectual Histories of Capitalism Have Been Re-Written to Justify Neo-Liberal Capitalism"
"Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the historical fact is that the rich countries did not develop on the basis of the policies and the institutions that they now recommend ..." [more inside]
Valentines from E.B. White, Mark Twain, Katharine Hepburn, E. E. Cummings, Alexander Hamilton, and Zero Mostel. From libraries and archives around NYC, via the NYT (more info here).
Who was Alexander Hamilton? Bastard, immigrant, Federalist, Secretary of the Treasury, speechwriter, philanderer, industrialist, duelist.
You can have my bottle when you pry it from my flaccid, passed-out fingers. Happy Liquor Tax Day! On this day in 1791, the 1st Congress passed "An act making farther provision for the collection of the duties by law imposed on teas, and to prolong the term for the payment of the duties on wines." The brain child of founding Federalist and that guy on the ten-dollar bill, Alexander Hamilton, it led to the second of many (mostly forgotten) popular uprisings in U.S. history. Special thanks for inspiration to dios and Rough_Ashlar.
"He could separate personal honor from political convictions. A recurring theme of his career? The superiority of forgiveness over revenge". Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton puts "the father of American government" -- the illegitimate orphan from the West Indies who rose to become George Washington's most trusted adviser only to be snared in a sex scandal and killed in a duel by Vice President Aaron Burr -- under a new light. Thomas Jefferson after all, his great adversary, foresaw a nation of independent yeomen farmers. It was Hamilton who foresaw a powerful nation of cities, banks, stock, exchanges. When Jeffersonians favored congressional power, Hamilton argued vigorously that the executive branch was the chief engine of the government. When the Constitution was ratified over the objections of anti-Federalists, Gore Vidal relates, “a parade featuring a ship called The Hamilton, on a float, sailed triumphantly along Wall Street as its ghost still does today.” Anecdote: during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Franklin suggested that there be a pause for prayer. Many delegates supported the move, except for Hamilton. "He did not see the necessity of calling in foreign aid." (.pdf file)
Sneering at President John Adams as "querulous, Bald, blind, crippled, Toothless Adams" got Ben Franklin's grandson arrested under the Sedition Act of 1798. Federalists like Adams and Alexander Hamilton used the Sedition Act to muzzle highly aggressive elements of the press. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison fought back -- and won. Understanding this early power grab by the U.S. executive branch helps put recent events into historical context. The struggle itself has been part of the United States of America since the beginning, and anyone working to fight Cheney and Ashcroft's unconstitutional assault happens to be in pretty good company. Happy Fourth of July.