Mentor for a Hegemon

Hamilton's legacy is all around us. So why has his wisdom--particularly as concerns foreign affairs--been discounted?

Issue: Fall 2000

THE twentieth century belonged to Thomas Jefferson. No historically conscious person can fail to note that, while one of Washington's most prominent memorials is dedicated to the Sage of Monticello, there is nothing similar--only a run-of-the-mill statue on the south side of the Treasury Department--dedicated to his great adversary, Alexander Hamilton. If the point were to commemorate their respective contributions to the building of this country, Hamilton, surely, would have the memorial and Jefferson would have to content himself with a mere statue. Despite the suggestion on his tombstone, Jefferson was not the sole author of the Declaration of Independence. He contributed little or nothing to the Revolutionary War effort or to the writing of the Constitution. He resigned in frustration and near nervous exhaustion as secretary of state. True, he was in the right place at the right time when French Louisiana landed on his lap.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!