Question: If you were looking into an organization that offered leadership training and scholarships to high-achieving high school students, and that organization was named after Alexander Hamilton and purported to take him as a role model, what would that suggest about the underlying beliefs of the staff  and board of directors?

Hamilton was a federalist, but as far as I can see from googling and wiki-ing, the term federalist as it is now applied (small government/states’ rights, a la Reagan) means the opposite of what it meant when Hamilton was one (strong centralized government with life sentences, um, I mean terms, for politicians).  So does the organizational culture embrace new federalism or old federalism? 

Also, I noted that Hamilton was killed in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr, which made me glad that duels are no longer fashionable, since Dick Cheney would surely have dropped a whole bunch of opponents.

On a less historical note, I’m coming to appreciate facebook more, now that it doesn’t make me dizzy to look at it anymore.  Last night I was IM chatting with a pal from elementary school days.  I’m still dodging the doohickeys, though.  Poker, coves, and various other mysterious (to me) applications.  Baby steps, baby steps.



  1. Random useless fact:  That duel between Hamilton and Burr took place at the park across the street from my first apartment after getting married.  Does that help you in anyway???  

  2. I really do need to find a site that is good for brushing up on history.   I have forgotten so much.    I do remember something about that duel though.   It was probably from a movie.   LOLAnd facebook is nice, but I leave all that useless extra stuff to the younger people or at least those with lots of time to waste.   I do play two games but mostly I keep in touch with family and friends.  

  3. You probably have to pay the tuition with $10 bills.Hamilton was portrayed quite negatively in the “John Adams” series.I think that Biden could take Cheney, given that he is now in a wheelchair.

  4. If it’s money for college it doesn’t matter where it comes from.  One of the left-wingiest smart kids from my high school got a $500 scholarship from the Ayn Rand Foundation for heaven’s sakes.  For her excellent essay on “The Fountainhead”.

  5. I am an admirer of Alexander Hamilton.  He fought hard to get the states to ratify the Constitution–he and James Madison wrote most of the Federalist Papers–because he knew that a strong union was the only way we’d survive independence from England.  He became a bit of a megalomaniac in later life, but overall I think he made major contributions to our country and his early death made him helpless to answer his critics.  Did you ever read Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton?  It’s pretty good.  But I like Aaron Burr too.  I think neither one of the two was as bad as they are presented in some histories.

  6. You don’t say “IM-chatting”. You say instant messaging. *sigh* You still have a lot to learn. Get a Gmail account. It helps.

  7. I would think most people who name institutions after historical figures are aware of the Hamilton Quandary, and I would guess that a place that revered Hamilton would be a place that emphasizes a lot about our federal institutions and reveres them, ex., the Constitution, the Supreme Court, etcetera.  I imagine there probably isn’t much focus on state’s rights, either on the side of downplaying or enshrining them, because people focused on Hamilton are focused on how the feds work and issues surrounding the federal government.  As far as Democrat or Republican, I think it’s a closer call, because liberalism and conservatism don’t necessarily divide along lines of federalism.  I mean, in federal crim law, for example, there are plenty of Republicans who believe in a stronger prosecutorial role for the feds, even though that means a diminishing state influence in some areas.  Of course, that’s what made Reagan so interesting, in some ways, because he appealed to people on the right AND left by focusing on the state v. feds issue, coupled with his whole free market thing…in sum, I would guess an emphasis on federal institutions, regardless of position.

  8. I was hoping for some enlightenment on Hamilton and federalism, and you did get some tooward the end. I didn’t pay nearly enough attention to that in school and now it all just seems murky to me. I wonder how people from that era would react to the politcal landscape as we know it today?

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