by REXFORD G. TUGWELL AND JOSEPH DORFMAN
[From Columbia University Quarterly, XXIX ( December 1937), 209-226. Reprinted by permission.]
That there are fewer books about Alexander Hamiltonthan Thomas Jeffersoncan be accounted for in part by the predominantly Jefferson-Jackson-FDR orientation of American historical writing in the past half-century. Jefferson, too, is undoubtedly a more attractive personality, which helps explain his appeal--as does the fact that Jeffersonis our democratic philosopher par excellence. Yet, as Dorfmanand Tugwellindicate, "It is only fair to remember, however much we may deprecate Hamilton's distrust of the people, that Jeffersonhad an equal distrust of the majority rule which has become the instrument above all others on which modern democracy relies. It is also fair to remember that Jeffersonmaneuvered to become President and so was often less than single-minded in his devotion to this country's good. . . . Jefferson's weakness for political preferment was certainly matched by Hamilton's ambition for place and money, and by his degeneration into reaction after retirement from office."1
In recent years historians, in writing about Hamilton, have presented him less in the pattern of defender of the rich and well-born --which is the way theJeffersonian historian Claude Bowerssaw him--than in the role of state maker.2Like most so-called new viewpoints in American historical writing, this is not entirely orig
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Publication information: Book title: Understanding the American Past:American History and Its Interpretation. Edition: 2nd. Contributors: Edward N. Saveth - Editor. Publisher: Little Brown. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 1965. Page number: 151.