Thursday, February 18, 2016

Alexander Hamilton: Chapters 32-38

So. This is the second to last time that we will rehash the joys and trials of one Alexander Hamilton, as recounted by Mr. Ron Chernow. That makes me feel a little bit of this:

But it also makes me feel a lot like this:

 Last time we saw our friend AHam, the government was a giant mess. The Federalists were fighting the Republicans and the Republicans were fighting back in an equally nasty manner. This seems like ancient history, right? Sigh....Anyway, the two sides continued to battle over federal vs. state control and The Sedition Act, which punished those who spoke up against the government. 

In these chapters, we also see Alexander and Eliza begin some of the charity work they would be remembered for. Alexander resumed his work with the Manumission Society. Although most Northern states had abolished slavery or were in the process of doing so, the society ran a school and worked to prevent New York slaveholders from selling their slaves down South. Eliza began working with the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children, which may have been the first organization of women helping women in NYC. 

But while we see Alexander and Eliza helping others out, we simultaneously see Aaron Burr helping himself. He proposed a plan for a water company, which would help stem the frequent outbreaks of yellow fever that broke out in New York City. But Burr had no intention of actually starting a water company. Instead, he used the company as a shell for creating a bank that would be controlled by the Republicans. And because nothing can happen to Hamilton and co. without a duel, Burr and Alexander's brother-in-law John Church had a duel because Church said that Burr had taken a bribe. The two men each shot the first time without injuring the other, and Church apologized. 

Hamilton and Washington were working to build an army in case of French invasion, but President Adams made it a moot point by choosing diplomacy and sending an ambassador to France. This ends in truly explosive fashion, as Hamilton and Adams display that neither of them can keep their temper. The confrontation that the two men had destroyed any chance of peace between the two of them. Congress soon gave Adams the power to disband the army and Alexander went back to practicing law.

Now it's election time. It's long and drawn out, but it's basically between Jefferson and Burr. Aaron gets points for basically being awesome at campaigning, but alas, it's not enough. As we all know, Jefferson wins the presidency in 1800.

Adams doesn't really end his presidency on a high note. He cleans out his cabinet of everyone who supported Hamilton. They responded by sending Hamilton all of the inside information about Adams being crazy and mean to his cabinet members. AHam knew that Adams frequently said that he was working for the British. Hamilton wrote a scathing account of Adams, but he never expected it to go public. When it did, it ruined the Federalist party and all of Hamilton's political ambitions. 

The last chapter is the saddest so far, because we say goodbye to the handsome if impetuous Philip Hamilton. He continues the proud and stupid family tradition of dueling. The loss had long-lasting repercussions for the family. Eliza and Hamilton both fell into deep depression and Philip's sister Angelica suffered a nervous breakdown that she never recovered from. This is a sad place to leave Alexander and Eliza, because we know things are only going to get worse from here...

As always, please visit Reading Rambo to see what other readers thought. Until next week, intrepid Hamilton fans!

1 comment:

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with both of those first gifs. That very much encapsulates my feelings on being just about done with this.

    I don't feel too bad for A.Ham's pamphlet about Adams going public cos while that may not have been the original intention, he sure didn't seem to sad about it and tried to make updated versions with even MORE Adams' gossip. Cos politics is made up of middle schoolers.