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Washington & Hamilton – The Alliance That Formed America (Author Interview: Stephen F. Knott & Tony Williams)

by Christopher N. Malagisi

George Washington Alexander Hamilton

In a gripping new look at the important relationship between American founders George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, Stephen F. Knott and Tony Williams – authors of the new book Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance That Formed America, tell the story below of the American founding, which would not have been possible without this grand alliance.  While many historians focus on the friendship and alliance of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Washington and Hamilton reminds us why America would truly not be the prosperous country it is today without this special alliance.

Congratulations Stephen & Tony on the paperback release of your new book: Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance That Forged America!  Can you give us an overview of the book?

Washington and Hamilton recounts the dramatic story of the most important and fruitful partnership of the American founding. It explores this indispensable relationship in terms of winning the Revolutionary War, creating and ratifying the Constitution, breathing life into the new government, and establishing “a new order of the ages.”

We argue throughout our book that without Washington and Hamilton, the “American experiment” would have failed.

 

What was your inspiration in writing it?

Washington & Hamilton

We were working on the topic independently and decided to combine forces and co-author the book. We were both struck by how central Washington and Hamilton were to the creation of the United States and yet no one had ever written a book about this critical collaboration.  It was a glaring omission in the study of the American founding.

 

What three takeaways would you like readers to leave with after reading your book?

  1. That the unlikely partnership between Washington and Hamilton, not Jefferson and Madison, or Jefferson and John Adams, was the indispensable relationship of the American founding.
  1. That these two men, more than any other, taught their fellow citizens to think of themselves as Americans.
  1. That these two men built the foundation that launched the United States on the path to becoming a military and economic superpower, while at the same time serving as a bastion of liberty.

 

You discuss in your book the rival nature between Washington/Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson/James Madison.  Why did this fissure form between them?

The consensus among the leaders of the American Revolution about the principles of liberty and self-government broke down during the political debates of the 1790s.

Jefferson and eventually Madison believed that Hamilton was a monarchist and Washington was his dupe. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Washington and Hamilton wanted to breathe life into the Constitution by governing according to its dictates and the rule of law.  They established precedents for a presidency with necessary energy and vigor, and created a strong economy that allowed the nation to defend itself in a world dominated by European imperial powers.

 

Alexander Hamilton has a very unique story that was popularized recently with the Broadway musical, Hamilton.  How did he rise from his humbling beginnings to the Hamilton Musicalinfluential figure he became?

Hamilton is one of the greatest immigrant success stories in American history. He rose from extremely humble origins through disciplined hard work, native genius, and a great ambition to serve the republic.

Born a poor orphan in the Caribbean, he went on to serve at the highest levels of Washington’s staff, was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, became the driving force behind The Federalist Papers, and served as the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury. He was at Washington’s side for over two decades of public service, acting as his most trusted advisor.

 

What is George Washington and Alexander Hamilton’s great legacy?

The unparalleled achievements of this fruitful relationship included winning the Revolutionary War against the greatest military power in the world, creating and ratifying a Constitution that has served as a model for the world, and designing institutions that allowed Americans to thrive and pursue their own happiness in a free society.

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