By Professor Joanne B. Freeman, Visit Amazon's Joanne B. Freeman Page, search results, Learn about Author Central, Joanne B. Freeman,
During this striking publication, Joanne Freeman deals a tremendous reassessment of political tradition within the early years of the yankee republic. by means of exploring either the general public activities and personal papers of key figures akin to Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton, Freeman unearths an alien and profoundly volatile political global grounded at the code of honour. within the absence of a celebration process and with few examples to steer America's scan in republican governance, the rituals and rhetoric of honour supplied flooring principles for political wrestle. Gossip, print conflict, and duelling have been instruments used to jostle for prestige and shape alliances in an another way unstructured political realm. those political guns have been all deployed within the tumultuous presidential election of 1800 - an occasion that almost toppled the recent republic. via illuminating this tradition of honour, Freeman deals new understandings of a few of the main complicated occasions of early American background, together with the infamous duel among Burr and Hamilton. an immense reconsideration of early American politics, Affairs of Honor deals a profoundly human examine the anxieties and political realities of leaders suffering to outline themselves and their position within the new country.
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Extra resources for Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic
32 Given the importance of reputation, an attack on a man’s honor was the ultimate trump card. The power of such an attack is evident throughout Maclay’s diary. When honor was at stake, all else fell by the wayside, for a man’s sense of self and possibly his life were at risk. For example, Hamilton used his personal honor to withhold Treasury documents from Maclay. Confronted with Maclay’s request for some papers concerning congressional business, Hamilton ﬁrst tried a bureaucratic escape, barraging the Pennsylvanian with a smokescreen of evasive measures: he refused to deliver the papers, then agreed to surrender them if a committee voted for it, then promised Maclay a note on the subject (which never came), and ﬁnally declared that the papers were locked in the desk of treasurer Michael Hillegas—who was in the theater of national politics 29 Philadelphia with the key.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress) 18 the theater of national politics Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton. But scholars have used the diary only as a sourcebook of anecdotes, never looking beneath the surface for Maclay’s deeper message. ” 11 His diary in its entirety receives no attention at all. Yet only when viewed in its entirety is the diary’s message clear. Maclay was alarmed by an evolving process, not distinct episodes. It was the larger pattern of events that he considered most important, and he self-consciously structured his diary to expose their terrifying implications.
He himself was a frequent subject of observation, his colleagues unsure where his sympathies lay. ” The permanent location of the national capital was the other major controversy of that congressional session. 21 Every word, every movement was grasped at for political meaning; he was constantly being questioned, prodded, pushed, and attacked, and his responses could affect his reputation and the republic, for better or worse. He could only marvel at the enormity of it. Maclay’s anxiety is a reminder of the underlying importance of such mutual observation.