Saturday, April 15, 2006

Putting Alexander Hamilton to Rest

Wow! I am so glad the past week is over. The Lost Blogs Campaign was great, but a little stressful. For the first time since starting this blog, I felt performance anxiety. I did not want to disappoint or be boring. But the writing process was actually a lot of fun.

First, let me address what will forever be known as "the mistake." The first day, I was "the other guy" in the interview at Weehawken. A few weeks ago, when I started thinking about this process, I wanted to pick someone from the time of the American founding. It is a period of time that I know a lot about and I read some of the letters of the participants while in grad school.

I looked through Joseph J. Ellis's book Founding Brothers for a little inspiration. "The Duel" is discussed in chapter 2. I liked the idea of a duel. Also, the Hamiltonian version of the duel is the most accepted version (i.e. "the other guy" was the bad guy and Hamilton never meant to shoot) because most of "the other guy's" private papers were lost at sea. So, as you can see, he would have been perfect. LOL! Which is why Paul wants him! That Paul is very clever.

There I was, very discouraged after day 1. Kevin suggested that I be "the other guy" in the duel. At first I was hesitant. I thought it may be too difficult. Then I realized . . . Alexander Hamilton would so totally ridicule "the other guy" for being forced to take down his website!! So, as Chumbawamba sing, "I get knocked down, but I get up again."

Mr. Hamilton I was. A few clues in the posts:

Day 1:
Hamilton is writing about the Compromise of 1790.
Ridiculing "the other guy": You would only have gotten this is you had seen my first post
Big-Man: (aka George Washington) was a big influence in Hamilton's life
Self-promoter: Hamilton was very self-conscious about his humble origins (he was illegitimate) and many people from his time called him a social climber
Tom (aka Thomas Jefferson) invited Jim (aka James Madison) and Alex over to dinner in 1790, in an event sometimes called the compromise of 1790. Madison agreed not to stand in the way of Alex's budget reforms if Alex would agree to move the capital to what is now Washington, DC.

Day 2:
Hamilton is writing about his resignation from his post as treasury secretary after admitting to an affair with Maria Reynolds.
Betsy: his wife Elizabeth
Balancing the public debt (refers back to the previous post): Hamilton would have been the first to emphasize fiscal responsibility
Founding a party: Hamilton was the founder of the Federalist Party, the first in the U.S.
John: Adams, 2nd president
Subversive Jokes / Links: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George Bush

Day 3:
Hamilton is writing about the Election of 1800.
He abandoned John Adams and supported Charles Pickney.
Catiline: was the name that Hamilton used when he talked about "the other guy"
Subversive Jokes / Links: Anne Coulter and Bill O'Reily (the two evils), Silvio Berlusconi (laughing in the face of election results), Election of 2000 (losing popular vote, but winning election)

Day 4:
"I supported our new constitution:" Co-authored the Federalist Papers
"I established the national bank:" He did
"For a "bastard," I have done well:" Was born illegitimately
"Put me on currency:" He is on the $10 bill

I participated in this campaign because I liked the idea. I am intrigued by Paul's book and cannot wait to read it. Also, I wanted the writing challenge. Silly me.

I think my regular readers (even my parents) got a bit more insight into me:
1. I am my own worst critic.
2. I consider myself very ethical.
3. I really am a polisci geek. (LOL!)
4. I do not like to quit.
5. I can over react sometimes.

I never considered myself a "writer." I do however have A LOT of opinions and talk WAY TOO MUCH. That is why I started this blog. Perhaps there is a little writer in all of us, who is just waiting to get out. Hmm, I wonder where my "inner writer" will take me next.

Thanks to everyone for reading and for all the supportive comments. As Groove Bunny would say, "You all are pretty groovy!"

Tomorrow I promise more reporting on general German wackiness, house hunting, Maggie Mix, and other random things from the front lines of an international marriage.

Bis dann!


Lisa said...

Happy Easter Claire-dude! :)

JB said...

Hi Claire! Hamilton, the other guy, Washington, Jefferson, Maria Reynolds ... Blimey! The last days, I haven't understood at all what you were talking about. But I got the message that some Americans do have an interest in history. Nevertherless, as a regular German reader of your blog, I look forward to reading more about the announced "general German wackiness" :o) Frohe Ostern wuenscht JB

Karl said...

Claire, it has been a pleasure meeting you and reading your entries this week. You certainly had me stumped all the way along, but that's not saying much. The instructions on shampoo bottles tend to stump me. :)

Happy Easter.

Mike B said...

I truly enjoyed yours. After the first installment (ok, the second one) I was thinking Huck Finn, what with Tom and Jim and the Big Man. But the affair gave it away, and I was certain (along with Expat) that it was indeed Hamilton.

Yours was well written, and a pleasure to read. And again, thanks for bringing this to my attention, as I also am a bit of a politico-geek and love to participate in this thing (only I choose dead Romans so that people can't tell if my stilted writing style is theirs or mine ... again, your was a pleasure to read!)

groovebunny said...

Claire I really enjoyed reading all your entries! :) Hamilton is such a fascinating figure and you certainly did him justice!

And thanks for the bit of linky love there. But it's true! I haven't met such a groovy bunch of folks in a long time! :)

Just another American Expat said...

First of all, A belated Easter Greeting.

Like Mike, I am mortified to admit that it was a seedy affair that turned on the light bulb.

There was a certain dinner party that played a principle roll in the Compromise of 1790. Moving the Nation’s capital South to the Potomac River in exchange for Southern votes on Hamilton’s Whiskey tax. Anyone with a good knowledge on the development of our constitutional democracy should have picked that one up quickly enough. I plead ignorance.

Did you know that there was a big push to choose Trenton N.J. as the nation’s capital? Washington himself lobbied heavily for the Potomac area…like gee, I wonder way?

Again…you did a great job!