Catalogue


American Machiavelli : Alexander Hamilton and the origins of U.S. foreign policy /
John Lamberton Harper.
imprint
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2004.
description
xii, 347 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0521834856 (hardback)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2004.
isbn
0521834856 (hardback)
catalogue key
5152371
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 329-336) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
John Lamberton Harper is Professor of American Foreign Policy and European Studies at the Bologna Center of The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-01-01:
These volumes reaffirm Alexander Hamilton's standing as one of the greatest of the American Founding Fathers. Harper (Johns Hopkins Univ.) does so somewhat selectively in American Machiavelli, focusing on Hamilton's influence on carving out early US foreign policy. Hamilton, for his part, personified a kind of "new prince," desirous of wielding great influence over the newly formed US. Adopting the role of gentleman, the poorly born Hamilton proved to be an Anglophile who insisted on the need to shape a strong central government spearheaded by a powerful chief executive capable of unilaterally making foreign policy decisions. Helping to draft George Washington's Farewell Address, Hamilton emphasized the tenuousness of alliances with other nation-states. Hamilton, who sought to be named commander of an invigorated US army, favored "a policy of strength through peace." Award-winning biographer Chernow's encyclopedic Alexander Hamilton offers a full biographical treatment of its subject, containing revelatory information about Hamilton's ancestral background, driven nature, and relationship with figures such as Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Aaron Burr. Rising from lowly origins, Hamilton moved seamlessly into New York's aristocratic circles before becoming Washington's right-hand man. Brilliant, passionate, and tempestuous, Hamilton suffered from his own excesses (including those of a sexual cast) regarding his designs for the new American nation; this engendered antipathies and eventually led to his ill-fated duel with Burr. Chernow credits Hamilton, whom he terms "the father of the American government," with setting the stage "for both liberal democracy and capitalism," and ensuring that the presidency wielded considerable powers and that the US possessed the potential to become a dominant world player. Chernow also underscores the frailties that resulted in Hamilton's supporting the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts, as well as his quasi-militaristic bent. ^BSumming Up: Recommended, both books. General and academic libraries. R. C. Cottrell California State University, Chico
Reviews
Review Quotes
'... a decent history about the role Alexander Hamilton plated in the shaping of foreign policy of the Early American Republic ... the book does help further the scholarship of the history of American foreign policy ...' Political Studies Review
"...a judicious interpretation of the key events in the history of Hamilton's foreign policy and an intriguing interpretation of how Hamilton's approach corresponded to Machiavelli's analysis of events in his own time." The Journal of Southern History, Jerald A. Combs, San Francisco State University
"American Machiavelli is a very effective and interesting account of the foreign policy of the Federalist era and of Hamilton's significant contribution to it. It is made all the more effective by Harper's heavy reliance on primary sources. It may not be accessible to all readers, but I highly recommend it for those especially interested in the subject." Gregg L. Frazer
"...American Machiavelli [is] remarkably well-written, given Harper's background as an academic. Whereas Chernow delved up Hamilton's personality, Harper chooses instead to focus on Hamilton's propinquity to the great Florentine diplomat and philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli." The Plain Dealer
"Amid the current revival of interest in Alexander Hamilton, American Machiavelli offers at once the freshest and cleverest contribution to the reappraisal of America's first realist statesman and state-builder. John Lamberton Harper's Hamilton is no amoral cynic in the crude sense with which we disparage men and measures as Machiavellian. Rather, Hamilton appears here as a shrewd and subtle judge of the national interests of a fledgling Republic, seeking to navigate the tumultuous currents of the 1790s much as Machiavelli sought to chart the course that his beloved Florence should follow amid the turmoil of the early sixteenth century. By juxtaposing Hamilton's concerns with Machiavelli's, Harper provides a new and provocative context within which to consider recurring dilemmas in the conduct of American foreign policy." Jack Rakove, Coe Professor of History and American Studies, Professor of Political Science, Stanford University
'A penetrating, provocative study of the brilliantly controversial founder. Hamilton might not have embraced the comparison with Machiavelli, but he certainly endorsed - and in fact embodied--many of the Renaissance realist's views on the nature of individuals and states. Harper's account is especially welcome in the increasingly Hamiltonian - dare one say Machiavellian? - current phase of American foreign policy.' H. W. Brands, author of The First American and What America Owes the World
"A penetrating, provocative study of the brilliantly controversial founder. Hamilton might not have embraced the comparison with Machiavelli, but he certainly endorsed--and in fact embodied--many of the Renaissance realist's views on the nature of individuals and states. Harper's account is especially welcome in the increasingly Hamiltonian--dare one say Machiavellian?--current phase of American foreign policy." H.W. Brands, author of The First American and What America Owes the World
"....Harper concentrates on Hamilton's role in foreign policy. He also wants to set straight all those Jefferson lovers and the school of historians - John Ferling, David McCullough, et al. - who never gave Hamilton his due or, worse, gave him a place in history as the 'manipulator and cad.' The twentieth century was surely Jefferson's century. But that's because of what Jefferson stood for - liberty and equality - not for what he actually accomplished, argues Harper....[I]n the end, though, Harper links Machiavelli and Hamilton neatly with his own worldview. Hamilton is the inspiration for those who want a US foreign policy today 'less grandiose and ideological.' Neocons beware." Weekly Standard
"Harper's contention that Hamilton governed as a Machiavellian is not an original point. But what is original here is Harper's illumination of the nature of that connection and the larger similarities in the shared understanding of realpolitik that characterized both men. By seeing Hamilton as a state-builder and by connecting his thoughts on state building back to Machiavelli's very similar teachings, Harper has provided a fresh way of understanding the complex Hamilton. Additionally, by focusing on Hamilton the statebuilder, Harper has emphasized a sometimes overlooked aspect of his career, but one which is consonant with other studies emphasizing his quest for fame and glory as a driving passion." New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century Todd Estes, Oakland University
"Harper's premise--that we can better understand Alexander Hamilton's character, vision, and career, in all their rich complexity, in the light of the Florentine diplomatist and thinker Machiavelli--offers a fascinating point of departure for this revisionist study. By exploring the convergence of biography, intellectual history, and the larger geopolitical context in each man's life, Harper offers a fresh look at both Hamilton and the American Revolutionary project of the late eighteenth century. The result is, at one and the same time, a compelling (and largely flattering) partial biography of America's often forgotten Founding Father and a detailed reassessment of American politics and diplomacy during the turbulent decade of the 1790s." Drew R. McCoy, Jacob and Frances Hiatt Professor of History, Clark University
"Reaffirm(s) Alexander Hamilton's standing as one of the greatest of the American Founding Fathers. Recommended." R.C. Cottrell, California State University, Chico, CHOICE
"The book repays a reading...its nuance is enlightening."Kevin R.C. Gutzman, Western Connecticut State University, H-Net
"The book repays a reading...its nuance is enlightening." Kevin R.C. Gutzman, Western Connecticut State University, H-Net
"This is the best book on the origins of American Foreign Policy since Felix Gilbert's classic To the Farewell Address. Harper has incisively delved into the mind of Hamilton and the circumstances that shaped his political thinking in general as well as in foreign policy. He has illuminated strains of thought that still shape this nation's course in the world." John Milton Cooper, Jr., E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions, University of Wisconsin, Madison
"...truly original is in its explicit paralleling of Hamilton and the sixteenth century Florentine politico Niccolo Machiavelli." -Kevin M. Gannon, JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 2005
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Summaries
Description for Bookstore
A narrative study of the career of Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804), the illegitimate West Indian emigrant who became the first US Secretary of the Treasury and President George Washington's closest collaborator. It focuses on Hamilton's controversial activities as a foreign policy adviser and aspiring military leader during the 1790s.
Description for Bookstore
A narrative study of the career of Alexander Hamilton (17571804), the illegitimate West Indian emigrant who became the first US Secretary of the Treasury and President George Washington's closest collaborator. It focuses on Hamilton's controversial activities as a foreign policy adviser and aspiring military leader during the 1790s.
Description for Bookstore
This book is a narrative study of the career of Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), the illegitimate West Indian emigrant who became the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and President George Washington's closest collaborator. It focuses on Hamilton's controversial activities as a foreign policy adviser and aspiring military leader during the 1790s, a decade of bitter division over the role of the Federal government in the economy. Drawing parallels between Hamilton and the sixteenth century Italian writer and political adviser, Niccolo Machiavelli, prize-winning historian John Lamberton Harper provides and original and highly readable account of Hamilton's famous clashes with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and his key role in defining the national security strategy of the United States.
Main Description
Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) was an illegitimate West Indian emigrant who became the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. American Machiavelli focuses on Hamilton's controversial activities as foreign policy adviser and aspiring military leader. In the first major study of his foreign policy role in 30 years, John Lamberton Harper describes a decade of bitter division over the role of the Federal government in the economy during the 1790s and draws parallels between Hamilton and the sixteenth century Italian political adviser, Niccolo Machiavelli. Harper provides an original and highly readable account of Hamiltonas famous clashes with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and his key role in defining the U.S. national security strategy. John Lamberton Harper is Professor of Foreign Policy and European Studies at the Johns Hopkins University Bologna Center. He is the author of America and the Reconstruction of Italy, 1945-1948 (Cambridge 1986), winner of the 1987 Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies, and American Visions of Europe: Franklin D. Roosevelt, George F. Kennan, and Dean G. Asheson (Cambridge 1994), winner of the 1995 Robert Ferrell Prize from the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations. His articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including The American Historical Review, The Journal of American History, The Times Literary Supplement and Foreign Affairs.
Main Description
Alexander Hamilton rose from his humble beginnings as an illegitimate West Indian orphan and emigrant to become the premier statebuilder and strategic thinker of the American Founding generation. This is the first detailed narrative study of his foreign policy role and ideas to appear in more than thirty years. It focuses on Hamilton's controversial activities as a key member of President George Washington's cabinet and as an aspiring military leader in the 1790s, a decade of profound division over the shape and powers of the Federal government, and US policy toward the warring powers of Europe. Drawing parallels between Hamilton and the Florentine diplomatist and thinker, Niccolò Machiavelli, prize-winning historian John Lamberton Harper offers an insightful and accessible account of the origins of Hamilton's outlook, his bitterly personal rivalries with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and his indispensable part in designing and implementing US foreign policy.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
The Coming of Necessity
From Providence into Fortune, 1757 (?)-1781p. 11
Prepared To Be Not Good, 1781-1788p. 26
Battle Lines Are Drawn
At Washington's Side Again, 1789p. 43
Hamilton versus the Virginians, 1789-1791p. 55
The Nootka Sound Crisis, Part One: The Morris Missionp. 65
Nootka Sound, Part Two: The View from New Yorkp. 74
Liaisons Dangereuses, 1791-1792p. 88
Seizing the Helm
The Birth of American Neutrality, February-May 1793p. 103
"A Most Distressing Dilemma," May-December 1793p. 115
Hamilton and the Crisis of 1794p. 127
The Jay Treatyp. 140
Informal Adviser to the Prince
Return to Not-So-Private Life, 1794-1795p. 153
"Camillus" into the Breachp. 163
A High-Stakes Game: Washington's Farewell Address, 1796p. 171
Transition to the New Regime, 1796-1797p. 180
A Prince in His Own Right?
Hamilton and Adams: The Backgroundp. 191
Hamilton's "Grand Plan"p. 205
Hamilton and His Army, Part One, 1797-1798p. 213
Hamilton and His Army, Part Two, 1798-1799p. 224
Killing Two Birds with One Stone, 1799p. 237
The Lesser of Evils
1800 and Afterp. 251
From Fortune into Providencep. 265
Conclusion: Hamilton Then and Nowp. 271
Notesp. 277
Bibliographyp. 329
Indexp. 337
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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