Hamilton’s Legacy Must Not Die

Come to the AHA Lectures in New York City, July 16

By Nancy Spannaus

July 11, 2023—On this 219th anniversary of the assassination of Alexander Hamilton, it is clearer than ever that his legacy must not die. The United States, even the world, needs to understand and revive the principles of the American System of Economics which he pioneered, and were key in the most prosperous periods of United States history.

Hamilton's Legacy Must Not Die!
A Hamilton tribute at his graveside ceremony in 2018.

There is a long, honorable history of individuals who kept Hamilton’s ideas alive in the wake of his death. They run from Mathew Carey, to John Quincy Adams, Henry Carey, Abraham Lincoln, and even Franklin D. Roosevelt. I mention only some of the most prominent names; there were many others who also fought to create real economic progress for all Americans, to ensure true economic independence, and to rid this country of imperial evils such as chattel slavery.

On July 16, this Sunday, at 10 AM in Hamilton’s historic home in New York City, renowned Hamilton scholar Richard Sylla and I will address the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society’s annual celebration of Hamilton and his legacy. We will be focusing on his signature document, the Report on Manufactures, which was a key element of his lasting impact.  The events are open to the public; details can be found in the following post.

CelebrateHamilton to Feature Spannaus and Sylla

June 27, 2023—Alexander Hamilton’s economic vision will take center stage at this year’s CelebrateHamilton festivities, sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society. The keynote speakers will be Nancy Spannaus, author of Hamilton Versus Wall Street, and Richard Sylla, a renowned Hamilton scholar and author of Hamilton, An Illustrated Biography.

The lectures will be given on Sunday, July 16, starting at 10 A.M. The venue is Hamilton’s final home, The Grange, in New York City, a national park site in which the AHA Society is an official partner. Other features of the weekend’s activities include a walking tour of Hamilton’s New York (Lower Manhattan) led by AHA Vice-President Sergio Villavicencio; a commemoration at Weehawken (the site of Hamilton’s fatal duel with Aaron Burr); and the traditional remembrance ceremony at Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan, where Hamilton is buried. (For a full schedule on these free events which begin July 15, click here.)

Spannaus has entitled her talk “Alexander Hamilton Versus Slavery.” Drawing from her research on her upcoming book Why American Slavery Persisted, she will argue:

From his first political acts in the American Revolution, to his death, Alexander Hamilton consistently attacked the practice of slavery, both morally and economically. Implementation of his economic principles, as set out in the Report on Manufactures, was essential to ending the evil of slavery peaceably. When we abandoned Hamilton’s American System principles, we virtually doomed ourselves to a Civil War.

Hamilton's Legacy Must Not Die!
Hamilton’s grand industrial project at Passaic Falls, New Jersey was part of his broad economic vision. (Leonard A. Zax)

Sylla plans to focus on Hamilton’s magnum opus, the Report on the Subject of Manufactures. He described his approach as follows:

Both proponents and critics of modern industrial policies–government interventions to correct purported flaws of free markets–sometimes trace the origins of industrial policy in America to Hamilton’s 1791 Report on Manufactures. I draw a distinction between industrial policies and industrialization policies, and I argue that Hamilton’s Report was more about the latter than the former.

The AHA Society was founded in 2011 by the late Rand Scholet and is the nation’s only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about Alexander Hamilton’s life and legacy. The AHA Society has provided extensive online resources, led programs at historic locations and museums, dispelled myths, facilitated scholarship, and served as official nonprofit partners to important Hamilton sites.

Whether you are an American history buff, a Hamilton fan, or just deeply concerned about the state of our economy and ship of state, you are cordially invited to attend.

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