Alexander Hamilton is very much the man of the moment in 2016, but he was equally a man of his times. This course puts Hamilton in the context of the colonial and Revolutionary eras to help us fully understand both where he came from and the impact he had on American government and politics.
Led by renowned historian Carol Berkin, students in this course will come to appreciate the many ways in which Hamilton’s story opens up multiple perspectives on US history. From the close economic connections between the Caribbean and mainland colonies of the British empire, to the importance of cities in the developing nation, to the workings of gossip and innuendo in society, to the context for the writing of the constitution and the challenges the republic faced in the first decade of the federal government, Hamilton’s life has much to teach us. Building on the rich resources of the Gilder Lehrman Collection and introducing students to scholars who can deepen our understanding of this transformative character, the course gives us a Hamilton for the ages.
Carol Berkin is Professor Emerita at Baruch College and the City University of New York and an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. She is editor of History Now, the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s online journal of American history, and author of many ground-breaking books in the history of the Revolutionary era, including First Generations: Women and Revolution in America; A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution; and The Bill of Rights: the Fight to Secure America’s Liberties.