Hamilton exhibit offers glimpse into first Treasury Secretary’s life

Ingram Library revealed the national traveling exhibition on the United State’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton on Sept. 16. Featured in the exhibit are actual items pertaining to Hamilton from the collection of Dallas-native attorney and judge, Brian D. Hardison. Some of these items include letters, documents, and even a duplicate set of pistols from the epic duel between Hamilton, and former Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr.

Produced by the American Library Association, the New York Historical Society, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the exhibit examines the life of Hamilton, and specifically casts light on his contributions in shaping modern America through his written works, as well as institutions he helped create.

Hamilton is attributed with being one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, having served in the Revolutionary War in 1775. By 1777, Hamilton became General George Washington‘s assistant and adviser. Hamilton left his adviser post in 1782, convinced that establishing a strong central government was key in achieving America’s independence, and in 1788, he convinced the state of New York to agree to ratify the U.S. Constitution. He then served as the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, from 1789 to 1795. As such, Hamilton acted as the primary author of economic policies under the George Washington administration. Hamilton also aided in the establishment of the first national bank, as well as creating a system of tariffs and friendly trade relations.

UWG Professor Emeritus of History, Dr. John Ferling, will be hosting a dialogue on Hamilton at on Sept. 24, entitled “Alexander Hamilton: Vision, Leadership, Ruin”. Ferling plans to discuss the major turning points in Hamilton’s life, and how each point shaped his character, thought, and led him into the actions he would take.

Born of an adulterous affair, Hamilton struggled in his early life to prove himself and change his circumstance. Ferling describes Hamilton as “a person driven in the hopes of gaining glory; he wanted to be renowned, particularly in war.” Ferling plans to discuss and expound upon “the major turning points in Hamilton’s life, and how each shaped his character, thought, and led him into the actions he would take.”

On Sept. 30, Ingram Library will welcome Dr. Joanne Freeman, Professor of history and American studies at Yale University, to host another dialogue, entitled “Dueling As Politics: The Burr-Hamilton Duel”.

“At a period when the United States essentially was being invented, Hamilton was one of the most important figures involved in creating and strengthening the national government,” said Freeman. “But perhaps the most famous things he ever did – unfortunately – was die: he fought a duel in 1804 with the Vice President, Aaron Burr, and was killed.”

Freeman intends to discuss and explain the significance of that particular duel, as well as how dueling, “in general, made sense to people at the time; and what this shows us about the period’s often dirty, rotten and nasty politics.”

Ingram Library will play host to the Hamilton exhibit until Oct. 14,  drop by and indulge in learning about some of the earliest contributions to American history.



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