Richard Brookhiser, senior editor at National Review, discusses his book, Alexander Hamilton, American. Brookhiser recounts Alexander Hamilton's great successes and tragic failures as Revolutionary, bovernment-shaper, financial genius, and American visionary. He explores Hamilton's impoverished upringing in the Caribbean and describes how Hamilton went on to give birth to American capitalism by developing the country's financial system.
An independent scholar, Ron Chernow won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for Washington: A Life and the National Book Award in 1990 for his first book, The House of Morgan. In Alexander Hamilton, which won the George Washington Book Prize in 2005, he presents the full sweep of the founder's dramatic life and achievements. In this lecture, Chernow addresses the question, "Why did Alexander Hamilton never become President?" and makes the case that Alexander Hamilton was the most influential American who never attained the presidency. Detailing Hamilton's early life and meteoric career, Chernow then offers his educated guesses as to why Hamilton never achieved the ultimate American office.
Josiah Bunting III is president of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the author of Ulysses S. Grant (2004). In a series of three lectures, Josiah Bunting III examines the lives of George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and George C. Marshall and the ambivalent relationship between America’s citizens and its military establishment. In addition to their leadership qualities, all three men were students of military history and wrote prolifically on the topic. In the first lecture, he considers George Washington’s character as revealed in his generalship of the Continental Army and military strategy against the British.
Most Americans know George Washington's December 1776 crossing of the Delaware from the famous painting by Emmanuel Gottlieb Leutze. David Hackett Fischer, Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University and author of Washington's Crossing (2004), looks beyond the famous painting to the events of that tumultuous month. He follows the retreating American army from the Battle of Long Island down through New Jersey, as an American victory seemed more and more unlikely. Fischer emphasizes how Washington's great strengths allowed him to take advantage of conditions in December to win the Battle of Trenton and turn the tide of the war, rekindling the ailing Revolutionary cause.