A New Video on Alexander Hamilton

By Nancy Spannaus

Dec. 29, 2021—Researcher Marianne Als has done it again.  She has just released a new video production which devastates the all-too-common characterization of Alexander Hamilton as a man of arrogance and disdain for the common man. I am pleased to announce that her hour-long production is now available on the You Tube channel of American System Now. You can access it at
https://youtu.be/kaGB7jJuDA8.

Als’ video is entitled “The Kindness and Humanity of Alexander Hamilton,” and, as in her other productions, it proceeds through presenting visual images, including primary source documents, accompanied by appropriate classical music selections. The viewer is literally moved along by the shifts in musical mood, along with the contents on the screen.

Hamilton researcher Marianne Als at Hamilton’s home, The Grange, on Jan. 11, 2020.

This video is comprised of numerous sections, including Hamilton’s experience in the military, his law practice, actions on behalf of blacks and indigenous Americans, and family relations. One of my favorite “shockers” involves his promotion of an enlisted man to the position of lieutenant in his artillery unit during the early days of the Revolutionary War in New York. Officer positions were typically reserved for people with social stature, and Hamilton’s proposal was so unusual that it led to an official investigation.  Ultimately, Hamilton succeeded in his effort to reward merit in the ranks, despite the individual being of the “wrong” social class. His action also led to the adoption of a formal resolution encouraging the promotion of “such privates and non-commissioned officers” who had distinguished themselves in service.

Hamilton’s advocacy against slavery should be well-known to readers of this blog, and it garners substantial coverage in Als’ video production. Less well-known perhaps will be his taking a friend’s orphaned child into his large family, as well as the young George Washington Lafayette, who had been forced into exile by the Jacobins of the French Revolution.

There are additional surprises in the sections on his law practice and financial arrangements.

My only regret is that Als could not have extended her treatment of Hamilton’s concern for the general welfare of the ordinary citizen to his economic policy. His fierce opposition to speculation and advocacy of creating opportunities for personal as well as national advancement through the promotion of a manufacturing society, was not only coherent with his personal character, but also adds the essential moral element to his system of political economy.

I encourage you to view “The Kindness and Humanity of Alexander Hamilton,” as an enjoyable adjunct to Hamilton Versus Wall Street: The Core Principles of the American System of Economics.

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