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ASU Gammage to host panel: 'Burr, Hamilton and the Drama of America’s Founding'

Join us for a special night to explore the explosive relationship between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr and the wider drama of America’s founding.

October 05, 2017

Join ASU Gammage for a night that will explore the explosive relationship between Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and the wider drama of America’s founding. 

This discussion, which takes place at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at ASU Gammage on the Tempe campus, will feature acclaimed historian Nancy Isenberg, author of "Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr," and Hamilton scholar Peter McNamara of Arizona State University's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. 

Visit to register for the free event.

Burr and Hamilton lived in the same city, worked in the same profession (occasionally together), fought in the Revolutionary War and had seemingly cordial personal relations. It was politics that put them on a collision course. 

“We often have almost cartoonish impressions of the various players (in history),” McNamara said. “It’s always useful to just sit down and talk about what the major figures were really like, what they thought.”  

As the author of "Political Economy and Statesmanship: Smith, Hamilton and the Foundation of the Commercial Republic," McNamara is no stranger to the Founding Fathers’ stories. 

In addition to his role as a professor of practice for the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, he is the editor of "The Noblest Minds: Fame, Honor and the American Founding" and "Liberalism, Conservatism and Hayek’s Idea of Spontaneous Order." 

McNamara’s research and teaching focus is on American political thought, early modern political thought and political economy. 

His fellow speaker, Isenberg, is the T. Harry Williams Professor in American History at Louisiana State University. Her book was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize in Biography and won the Oklahoma Book Award for best book in nonfiction. 

She is the co-author of "Madison and Jefferson." She won the 2016 Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and was No. 4 on the Politico 50 list that year. 

The discussion will help attendees gain a clearer understanding and appreciation of the American founding period and key figures during that time, and examine if and why this period matters. 

“It matters to Americans much more so than it does in other countries what the founders said, what they meant and who they were,” McNamara said. “This is borne out by the success of Hamilton’s biography by Ron Chernov, the musical and generally that people keep buying books about the American founding. Just hearing about it is exciting and entertaining.”

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