Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America

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For Immediate Release Contact: (LIBRARY CONTACT)


(NAME OF LIBRARY) to host "Alexander Hamilton" traveling exhibition

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(CITY) -- His face is on the ten-dollar bill, but most Americans know more about his death in a duel than his remarkable life as one of the most brilliant and influential figures in U.S. history. Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury at age 32, is the focus of a groundbreaking new traveling exhibition opening at the (NAME OF LIBRARY) on (DATE).

"Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America" tells the story of Hamilton's astonishing rise in five short years from an orphaned, 15-year-old West Indies immigrant to George Washington's war time aide, and later, at age 32, Washington's Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton was a complex and controversial figure -- a Revolutionary War patriot and soldier, financial and legal genius, and an ardent opponent of slavery. He was the chief architect of many of the financial, political and legal institutions so familiar to Americans today.

Hamilton's journalistic campaign, through the Federalist Papers, to convince the American people to ratify the Constitution equals in importance his creation of the Bank of the United States and the New York Stock Exchange and his pioneering efforts in the area of constitutional law. The young Treasury Secretary's economic strategies saved the country from staggering Revolutionary war debts. By the time Hamilton retired in 1795, the United States was fiscally sound and poised to become a major world economic and political leader. In the opinion of many historians, Hamilton made the early republic work and set the agenda for its future.

"Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America" was organized by the New-York Historical Society, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the American Library Association, and has been made possible in part through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is based on the New-York Historical Society's exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of Hamilton's death as well as the 200 th anniversary of the founding of the Society in 1804.

"More than any of his peers, Hamilton shaped and prefigured the America we now live in," says Richard Brookhiser, historian and Hamilton biographer. "When you cash a paycheck or vote for President, follow the war against terrorism or criticize the government, read a newspaper or sit next to someone of a different race on the subway, you are doing something that he foresaw and helped to make happen."

The exhibition looks at Hamilton's life and death through the relationships he forged with important people in politics and government, and through his ideas -- ideas that often clashed with those of other prominent national figures. Hamilton and George Washington agreed on many issues, but Hamilton argued with Thomas Jefferson about the character of the young republic. Jefferson favored an agrarian society of small towns, prosperous farms, and state self-government, while Hamilton argued that manufacturing and commerce, a strong central government, and cities populated by people of diverse talents and backgrounds were the future.

"We are delighted to have been selected as a site for this exhibition," said (LIBRARIAN COORDINATOR OR DIRECTOR). "Alexander Hamilton was a fascinating figure in the early history of the United States, but we know too little about his contributions.

Looking again at the debate that took place when this country was founded should help 21st century Americans better understand why the government, the courts, our banking system and our economy are organized the way they are. Hamilton's pivotal role in providing a foundation for the complex society we live in today will be a revelation for many who view this exhibit."

The (NAME) library is sponsoring free programs and other events for the public in connection with the exhibition. Contact (TELEPHONE NUMBER, E-MAIL) for more information, or visit the library's web site at (WEB SITE ADDRESS).