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The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton

Tuesday, October 26, 2021
In The Jewish World of Alexander HamiltonAndrew Porwancher debunks a string of myths about the origins of this founding father to arrive at a startling conclusion: Hamilton, in all likelihood, was born and raised Jewish. For more than two centuries, his youth in the Caribbean has remained shrouded in mystery. Hamilton himself wanted it that way, and most biographers have simply assumed he had a Christian boyhood. With a detective’s persistence and a historian’s rigor, Porwancher upends that assumption and explores the revolutionary implications of his findings for making sense of the American founding.

Andrew Porwancher serves as the Wick Cary Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies at the University of Oklahoma and an Ernest May Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. His most recent book is The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton. His prior books include The Devil HimselfA Tale of Honor, Insanity, and the Birth of Modern America, which was adapted for the stage in Dublin.  He previously served as the Horne Fellow at Oxford and the Garwood Fellow at Princeton.

This talk is part of the History Working Group Seminar Series. A central piece of the History Working Group is the seminar series, which is hosted in partnership with the Hoover Library & Archives. The seminar series was launched in the fall of 2019, and thus far has included six talks from Hoover research fellows, visiting scholars, and Stanford faculty. The seminars provide outside experts with an opportunity to present their research and receive feedback on their work. While the lunch seminars have grown in reputation, they have been purposefully kept small in order to ensure that the discussion retains a good seminar atmosphere.