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					    Today’s Lecture:

The Hamilton-Jefferson Dispute


            According to your professor’s
            lecture, what was the “First
            Modern Country?”

             1.   England after the Glorious Revolution and
                  the construction of finance capitalism      0
Only get     2.   The Romans at 117 A.D.
credit if    3.   America in 1787, when it authored the       0
correct!          Constitution
             4.   Spain in the 1500s, which began taking      0
                  over the new world
             5.   France in the 1900s, with its emphasis on   0
                  culture and pizazz
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3/12/2007                  (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.                       10
Hamilton and Jefferson –
      the Persons

          How many of you know
             something about
           Alexander Hamilton?

1.   Very Strong                     23
2.   Pretty Good
3.   Average
4.   Not that Good
5.   Don’t know him at all

                             1   1

                             1   2   3     4    5
1.   Alexander Hamilton    4
2.   Thomas Jefferson     66
1.   Alexander Hamilton   32
2.   Thomas Jefferson     40
Alexander Hamilton
              Who is Alexander Hamilton?

-- on the $10 bill
-- born in West Indies (not from
-- Father is absent
-- Mother makes ends meet by
operating a local store (mother and son
live upstairs
              Who is Alexander Hamilton?

-- Mother dies around 12 or 13 (both are
-- adopted by a cousin
-- cousin later committed suicide.
Hamilton found the body when he came
home one day
-- Gets an internship with a trading
company (Beekman & Cruger)
-- learns finance quickly
             Who is Alexander Hamilton?

-- comes to America right before the
-- enters college around 1774 (King’s
College, now Columbia)
-- completed college quickly (as he did
legal training)
-- Joseph Ellis: smartest of the framers
(mention comment re: SAT scores)
              Who is Alexander Hamilton?

-- joins the revolutionary war.
-- quickly rises in rank (mention
Washington’s & the positioning of
canons during the New York retreat)
-- made an aide-de-camp
-- becomes Washington’s closest
political confidant
                                             -- believed the
-- Is the major intellectual source in the   greatest man in
Washington white house (both                 history was
substance and strategy)                      Julius Cesar
Thomas Jefferson
              Who is Thomas Jefferson?

“Two Jeffersons”

  Mythical Jefferson:

   • loves liberty
   • the great drafter of the
   declaration of independence
   • is personally against and
   troubled by slavery
   • is against big power government
               Who is Thomas Jefferson?

“Two Jeffersons”

   Historical Jefferson:

• against finance capitalism
• doesn’t actually write the most
famous passage of the Declaration of
• never supports an emancipation program or frees a slave
• seems terribly racist compared to his elite peers
• as president, makes use of awesome use of federal power
               Who is Thomas Jefferson?


   “pampered” existence

• original colonial family was very high
in English aristocracy
• his father was lower in rank (English
• never joins the military (always a diplomat or something)
• palatial home (Monticello) that overlooks his plantation sort of
like the Feudal Lords did their servants
• doesn’t work the land himself because he is a “gentlemen,”
part of the Virginia Aristocracy
              Who is Thomas Jefferson?



• Red hair that later turns Sandy.
Bunch of freckles. Very Thin, 6, 2. He
is largely effeminate.
                 Who is Thomas Jefferson?


  public speaking

  -- terrible.
  -- reputation as a lawyer: better at
  getting the case prepared rather
  than presenting it
              Who is Thomas Jefferson?



  -- Classical education
  • Montesquieu, Locke, Francis
  Bacon, Newton
  • enlightenment philosophy and
  treatises on government
              Who is Thomas Jefferson?



    “pack rat”

  -- “pack rat” for information – (e.g.,
  loves to read newspapers).

  -- at least one scholar has described him as having a
  meticulous, detailed mind
      [I have some doubts; his mind seems more conceptual
      and “dreamy”]
              Who is Thomas Jefferson?



    non-systemic thinker

  • “dreamer” or artist
  • he can’t “systematicize” ideas.
 -- He is a “materialist” (doesn’t believe in souls or dualism)
 -- But then he believes in the in the “natural law” of inalienable
 rights (something beyond the 5 senses?)
    [metaphysics in law but not spirituality]
              Who is Thomas Jefferson?



    non-systemic thinker

  • has contradictions running
  around his head because what is
  true is only the moment’s eruption
  of intellectualism
  “amateur collector of ideas?”
               Jefferson’s Peculiar Views


  Jefferson has these viewpoints
  running through his head that
  need to be understood

  -- Jefferson’s views are “fixatious”
        • selectively over-passionate?
        • idiosyncratically constructed??
  -- One cannot understand Jefferson unless one
  understands his psychology
                  Jefferson’s Peculiar Views

religious views

     -- like Crosby, Stills and Nash
Religion –

He regarded religion very skeptically, especially if it was in organized
format. He regarded evangelical Protestantism as fanaticism. Although he
embraces the ethical teachings of Jesus, he rejects his divinity. Jefferson
thought that Jesus was just an ordinary man, who was extraordinarily
insightful. He sees Jesus as the Hebrew Socrates, and he thinks that the
way to strip the dogma out of the church is to take all the church writings
and all of their contributions to the Bible out and have only the teachings of
Jesus left (the synoptic gospels). And in fact, Jefferson did this: he kept a
scrap book, where he cut out pieces of various bibles that were only of
Jesus’ teachings and sayings. He was also the most strident advocate for
separation of church and state. Jefferson didn’t like priests or the catholic
church. He also didn’t like the idea of a trinity. He thought that people
should let their conscience and reasoned enlightenment be their moral
guide. Favors rationalism, order and nature.

(source: xx)
 3/12/2007                   (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.             33
                 Jefferson’s Peculiar Views

crime and punishment

Jefferson thought that the punishment for
dueling should be death by hanging. If
you were the challenger and you won,
the penalty should be death with the
body conspicuously displayed in public. J
thought the penalty for sex crimes such
as rape, polygamy, sodomy, should be:
for the man, castration; for the woman,
boiling through the cartilage of her nose
a hole of 1/2 inch in diameter at the least.
If you maimed or disfigured someone, J
wanted an eye for an eye or a tooth for
tooth. You had to be maimed or
disfigured too. “
                 Jefferson’s Peculiar Views


 J’s view of attorneys: he grew to
 view attorneys as ‘lazy parasites
 who subsisted on the malice and
 avarice of others.’ He also found it to
 be intellectually unfulfilling and too
 repetitive. J left the practice of law
 after 5 years.
                Jefferson’s Peculiar Views


-- has some serious issues with women
-- resented being raised by his mother
after his father died. (She didn’t have
the right to govern him)
-- tell the story of the crush. (Scared to
speak to her; watches for a year)
               Jefferson’s Peculiar Views


-- role of women must be limited

The Role of Women –

Jefferson believed that the central
province of women was the home, and
that they had to be dependent and
subservient to men. "The role of women
is to soothe and calm the minds of their
husbands      returning ruffled    from
political debate."
1.   Press 1 if you are here   0
               Jefferson’s Peculiar Views


-- Warning! – They are disgusting at
-- racial intermingling would pollute the
white race
-- free African Americans could not
commingle with whites
(cf. native Americans versus African
                 Jefferson’s Peculiar Views


He notes that people like the Indians do
not suffer from this [inferiority] problem;
Indians simply need to be acculturated. If
native Americans received the benefit of
European culture, they would be ok. But
African Americans can’t improve. One of
the reasons why he talked about
emancipation was so he could rid VA of
the scourge of Africans who lived there
(that was his real motivation).
               Jefferson’s Peculiar Views


-- in the next passage, note two things
about him
(a) the lyrical way he writes
(b) his intelligence
(c) his terrible, terrible racism

    Jefferson: Slavery is a Learned Evil –

    Alone at his desk where more than 100 slaves labored in the fields
    beyond his window, Jefferson writes, “the whole commerce between
    master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous
    passion, the most unremitting despotism on the one part and
    degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this and learn
    to imitate it. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the
    lineaments of wrath, puts on the same heirs in the circle of smaller
    slaves, gives a loose to his worst passions, and thus nursed,
    educated and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it
    with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain
    his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances.”

    source: David McCullough

                      lyrical prose & depth of the reflection
3/12/2007                      (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.      42
   Jefferson: Racism and Inferiority –

   “Their inferiority is not the effect merely of their condition of life. It is
   not their condition but nature which has produced the distinction.”
   Besides the differences in color and hair, he noted, “black people …
   were more tolerant of heat and less so of cold than whites, more
   ardent after their female, but love seemed with them to be more of an
   eager desire than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and
   sensation. Their grief’s are transient, their existence appears to
   participate more of sensation than reflection.”

            racism as a psychological disease                    compare:
                                                                 Nazis attitudes
               bashing perceived or imagined                     toward
               traits; using those to form a                     perceived
               framework to dehumanize                           Jewish features
3/12/2007                     (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.                 43
                  Jefferson’s Peculiar Views



     -- never frees one slave
     -- won’t get involved in
     emancipation movements

Emancipation –

When someone wrote him in 1826 to try to get an emancipation
movement going, he basically wrote back, saying that it was not the
right time. The thing that J appears to favor at least in theory is
emancipation with forced deportation to Haiti. He thinks the islands in
the Dominican are made for ‘these people.’
                 Jefferson’s Peculiar Views



 -- He is against the Missouri
 -- strange concept of diffusion
 -- translation: there is too many of
 “these people”
                             Adam’s Reply –
 -- John Adams’ reply
                              “my god, when have you ever seen a
                             cancer that expanded and then
               Jefferson’s Peculiar Views


  Sally Hemings

 -- Jefferson has relations with one of
 his slaves
 -- She was of mixed-race ancestry
                Jefferson’s Peculiar Views

What to Make of all of this?

It’s never good to judge someone
outside of the world in which they were
But we don’t have to do this to criticize   examples:
him on several grounds
                                            John Adams
compared to his elite peers,
Jefferson’s views on race and other
                                            George Washington
matters are quite problematic               Alexander Hamilton
                                            Ben Franklin
                Jefferson’s Peculiar Views

What to Make of all of this?

    “rock-star defense”
Jefferson has the mind and
mannerisms of a troubled artist
Hit thinks in fits and spurts.
His numerous contradictions and faults
are part of his complicated psychology

 You must understand his boisterous passions and troubled
 intellect to make sense of his behaviors

       (I am not of this view; I’m just presenting it)
                      Jefferson’s Gift

Poetic Exaggeration

If there is one industry that Jefferson
truly has as his own, it is this

   • lyrical way of expressing
   • he’s the equivalent of great
   songwriters today for his own
   generation (e.g. Dylan)
                        Jefferson’s Gift

Declaration of Independence

-- lyrical, flowery expression of liberty
with exaggerated prose

Inalienable liberty –

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
                      Jefferson’s Gift

Declaration of Independence
-- Not original!
-- The philosophic ideas come from
John Locke
-- And the key phrase, “pursuit of
happiness” comes from George Mason!
Inalienable liberty –the Virginia Constitution –
  George Mason in
“We… the these truths to be self-evident, that all menof acquiring
  “ hold enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means are created
  and that they are endowed by pursuing and obtaining unalienable
equal; possessing property, and their Creator with certain happiness
Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
  and safety.”
                       Jefferson’s Gift

Declaration of Independence
-- Other (similar) declarations made
-- Jefferson’s is the most popular
-- Gather in public to read it
    (entertainment genre)
    (compare: The Beatles)
                     Jefferson’s Failures

governor of Virginia

-- Benedict Arnold and other British
-- doesn’t even call out the militia
-- the only thing he is good for is hiding
government valuables and running
away (they almost caught him)
-- inquest is made by Virginia          good 1st term President
legislature, but he is cleared
                                       failure in the 2nd –
(doesn’t seem to be an especially good
                                       readiness for War of
commander in chief)
                     Jefferson’s Failures

-- makes a mess of it
   • crop speculation is poor
   • doesn’t diversify his crops
   • spends lavishly
   • dies terribly in debt
   -- Virginia holds a lottery to retire
   his debts; only pays for a portion of    compare his
   it.                                      library to
   -- His library of books is sold to the
            what is coming next

9/15/2012        Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.   55
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