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Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson: The Politics of Enlightenment and the American Founding

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  44 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Alexander Hamilton, the worldly New Yorker; John Adams, the curmudgeonly Yankee; Thomas Jefferson, the visionary Virginia squire—each steered their public lives under the guideposts and constraints of Enlightenment principles, and for each their relationship to the politics of Enlightenment was transformed by the struggle for American independence. Repeated humiliation on ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by Hill and Wang (first published July 4th 2005)
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Clarice
Jun 28, 2015 Clarice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, reviewed
I used this book for research purposes a few months back, but was so intrigued by it that I decided to try and find it again-- this time to read it all the way through. Staloff writes a great introduction to the Enlightenment, explaining its context, its sources, and its character. I think it really improved my overall understanding of the movement, from how individual philosophers fit into larger trends to how the dynamic between "enthusiasm," Rationalism, and Empiricism developed. Although Ham ...more
Robert
Jul 29, 2011 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good review of the political careers and writings of these three major founders with special attention to their status as thinkers of the Enlightenment and subsequent intellectual currents (such as Romanticism). It's a tad repetitive in parts, as the introduction in some cases uses the same sentences that appear later in the text, suggesting that it could have been a bit better edited. Most notable is its canny evaluation of Thomas Jefferson that places his hypocrisy in context as an effect of ...more
Megan
Staloff examines the three men named in the title, assessing their relationship to (his version of) the Enlightenment. As the chapter titles make clear, Hamilton embodies the Enlightenment, Adams transcends it, and Jefferson is a proto-Romantic. Staloff's Enlightenment is primarily centered around political and economic writings, particularly those of the Scottish Enlightenment (especially those which influenced Hamilton).

There is an introduction, but no conclusion. At the end of each chapter th
...more
John
I found this a fascinating read. The author sets out to show three major aspects of the United States and the individuals who greatly impacted them.

I enjoy biographical profiles of individuals where the author is both attempting to flatter the individual but is true to the facts at hand. The author is an admirer of Jefferson (clearly) and his approach borders on apologetic. However, his approach to history betrays the traditional image of Jefferson.

I have two criticisms of the book. The author t
...more
Andrew
May 12, 2008 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history fans, people who are curious about how everyone (for example, jfk) loved jefferson.
Shelves: history
A little long, but not windy. A great book that covers these three ridiculously influential individuals from US history, and interesting at that.
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