Alexander Hamilton: From Obscurity to Greatness

By Edited by John P. Kaminski

Hardcover: $22.95

ISBN: 978-0-87020-803-4

200 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2


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Born in 1755 on a small Caribbean island to unmarried parents, Alexander Hamilton did not enjoy the privileges of wealth or heredity by which so many of his contemporaries advanced to the highest levels of power. Yet Hamilton's natural ability and ambition earned him prevailing influence in the American Revolution and the government created thereafter, eventually securing his place in the pantheon of America's founders.

Editor John P. Kaminski has gathered a remarkable collection of quotations by and about Alexander Hamilton that paint for us a nuanced portrait of a complex man. Through his own words and the words of his contemporaries -- including the man who killed him in a duel, Aaron Burr -- we can gain a better understanding of this fascinating man who rose from anonymity on a small Caribbean island to the corridors of power.

Read more from and about America's founders in John P. Kaminski's America's Founders Series chapbooks, distributed by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Kaminski is also the director and co-editor of the Society Press's 27-volume series, The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution of the United States.

John P. Kaminski is the founder and director of The Center for the Study of the American Constitution in the History Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is director and co-editor of The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution of which twenty-seven volumes have been published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. A leading scholar on Constitutional history, Kaminski has also published another twenty-six volumes on a variety of topics in the American Founding Era and is the author of the America's Founders Series. "Alexander Hamilton" is the first in a series of Word Portraits of America's Founders that Kaminski is producing for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

"The volumes in the fine Word Portraits of America's Founders series are invaluable for any student of the American founding at any level. Newcomers to the subject will find them illuminating introductions to key American founders, in their own words and set in the context of how their contemporaries saw and thought about them. Experts will welcome these books as engaging, reliable resources that make even familiar subjects fresh. They should have a wide and appreciative audience."

-- R. B. Bernstein, City College of New York