Category Archives: Books

Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years is now available for sale.

The wait is over. After four years of hard work, Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years is now available for sale.

The print edition of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years can be purchased at:
Buy AHTFY print book from Amazon

The ebook of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years can be purchased and downloaded from:
Buy ebooks from Nook

Enter to win a free autographed copy of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years on Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Alexander Hamilton by Michael E. Newton

Alexander Hamilton

by Michael E. Newton

Giveaway ends June 14, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Alexander Hamilton succeeds on Kickstarter

Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years’ raises over $9,000 on Kickstarter

May 11, 2015 – PHOENIX — Historian and independent author Michael E. Newton successfully raised over $9,000 on Kickstarter to fund the publication of ‘Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years,’ which promises to be “a more comprehensive and accurate account of Alexander Hamilton’s formative years.” The book has received rave reviews from Hamilton authors and scholars, helping the Kickstarter campaign reach its goal.

When asked about the success of the Kickstarter campaign, Mr. Newton offered, “Alexander Hamilton is extremely popular right now. He even has a hip-hop musical that was all the rage off Broadway that it is going to Broadway this summer. Americans are curious to learn more about this most remarkable Founding Father and ‘Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years’ offers readers the most accurate and comprehensive account of Alexander Hamilton’s formative years. The great reviews this book has received and the revealing of many new discoveries that will be found in the book during the Kickstarter campaign attracted much attention and drew in prospective readers.” Mr. Newton added, “I would like to thank the many people who pre-ordered copies of ‘Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years,’ thereby supporting the publication of this important work. I would especially like to thank the twelve backers who generously contributed $500 each.” As part of their reward, each of these contributors will have their name included in the acknowledgments. Mr. Newton continued, “These individuals see how important Hamilton is to American society and it is they who made this campaign possible. I am deeply indebted to each of them.”

Two days remain in the campaign, giving interested readers time to support Mr. Newton’s work and to pre-order copies of the book. A signed copy of the book is being given to each backer who pledges forty dollars, the book’s cover price. An unsigned copy can be had with a thirty dollar pledge. The campaign ends at 10 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.

Professor Richard Salsman calls Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years a “superb performance.”

The reviews of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years continue to roll in. The latest one comes from Richard Salsman, visiting assistant professor of political science at Duke University:

“In Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years, Michael E. Newton provides a careful, meticulous, and definitive account of the first half of the brief but robust life of Hamilton, arguably the greatest of America’s great founding fathers. Hamilton, we learn, formed himself every bit as much (and more) than his experiences formed him. Newton provides new evidence, objective analysis, and a fresh perspective. Scholarship on Hamilton will only be elevated by this superb performance.”

~Dr. Salsman received his B.A. in Government and Economics from Bowdon College (1981), his M.B.A. from NYU’s Stern School of Business (1988) and his Ph.D. in political economy from Duke University (2012). In the 1980s he was a banker, including at the Bank of New York and Citibank. He is founder and president of InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., an investment consulting firm. Salsman has published two books and dozens of articles on money/banking, forecasting, and political economy. His forthcoming book is The Political Economic of Public Credit.

Just three days remain (until May 13, 2015) to support the publication of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years by pre-ordering your copy today. The Kickstarter campaign has raised over $7,000 so far, but we need your help to reach our $9,000 goal.

Just five days left to support the publication of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years and get a signed copy of the book

I wanted to remind you, those who have been reading this blog for so many years and also the more recent readers, that you only have five days left to support the publication of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years and to pre-order your copy of the book. Pledge $40 (the book’s cover price) and you’ll receive a signed and personally dedicated copy. Where else would you be able to get a signed copy? Yes, you could come hear me talk about Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years at the Museum of American Finance on July  10 but if you can’t, ordering your copy on Kickstarter is your best opportunity. Once this Kickstarter campaign is over, I have no plans to sell signed copies online. So unless you plan to hear me speak in New York City, this might be your best or only chance to get a signed and personally dedicated copy of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years. Unsigned copies are also available for pre-order on Kickstarter for just $30, a 25% discount. There are also volume discounts available if you order through Kickstarter, which won’t be available if you wait until the book is published and buy it through Amazon. Oh yes, and all of these options include FREE SHIPPING.

I would also like to note that the Kickstarter campaign is current $2,400 short of its goal. Kickstarter requires a project to raise its entire amount or the project received no funds and the pledgers do not receive their rewards. As the success of this campaign will go a long way to make Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years successful, I strongly urge you to show your support by pre-ordering your copy and by sharing this Kickstarter project with friends and on your social media. You can point your friends to the many great reviews this book has already received. You can also direct them to the many new discoveries I have posted online, which are only a small portion of what will be found in the book itself. Heck, you can even show them what I believe to be the best cover design for any Alexander Hamilton book. And remember to tell them that they are not just contributing to this important project, but that they will also receive a copy of the book at 25% off the cover price or a signed copy at the cover price, with free shipping as well. With your help, we can propel this campaign to its $9,000 goal and give Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years the boost it needs to gain mainstream attention and receive the recognition it deserves as a work that “surpass[es] every book that has preceded it” (Rand Scholet’s review).

Douglas Hamilton (Alexander Hamilton’s fifth great grandson) reviews Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years

“In 1800, the topic of Alexander Hamilton’s birth was the subject of criticism to which Hamilton remarked ‘there is much mistake.’ He implored his friends to help set the record straight. Most biographers in the succeeding 215 years did little to correct this mistake or the many others regarding Hamilton’s life. Michael E. Newton’s quest to separate fact from fiction fulfills Hamilton’s plea and provides to those who defend his legacy a comprehensive and thoroughly researched tool to promote the true early life of Alexander Hamilton. These corrections to the record combined with new discoveries make this work a most exciting historiography of Alexander Hamilton.”

~ Douglas Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton’s fifth great grandson.

Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years is scheduled for publication in June 2015. Please support the publication of this important work by pre-ordering your copy today.

Debunking History: Alexander Hamilton and the June 1776 raid on the Sandy Hook lighthouse

In addition to discovering many interesting facts pertaining to Alexander Hamilton, which I’ve been sharing with you over the past few weeks, another major goal in writing Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years was to check on stories told about Hamilton, either to verify their accuracy or to debunk them. One such story involving Hamilton was introduced by Ron Chernow in his Alexander Hamilton (page 75). The following extract from Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years analyzes this story:

On June 21, 1776, an American force with some light artillery attacked the Sandy Hook lighthouse in New Jersey, seventeen miles south of New York City. According to biographer Ron Chernow, “Hamilton gallantly led a nighttime attack of one hundred men against the Sandy Hook lighthouse outside New York harbor” and then reported the news to The Royal Danish American Gazette, which printed the account in its issue of August 14, 1776. However, the same report had already appeared in The New-York Gazette; and the Weekly Mercury on June 24, 1776. As The Royal Danish American Gazette printed this account alongside a number of extracts and reports from around the world, it is clear that the St. Croix newspaper simply copied this out of the New York paper. Furthermore, it is known with certainty that Hamilton did not lead the attack. According to contemporary sources, the mission was led by Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Tupper* with Major John Brooks assisting and Captain Jotham Drury in command of the two pieces of artillery. None of these sources mention anything that would suggest Hamilton’s involvement. No one prior to Chernow—not Mulligan, Troup, Fish, John C. Hamilton, no one—ever mentioned Hamilton’s participation. The evidence is clear that Hamilton neither participated in the strike on the lighthouse nor wrote about it afterwards, and he most certainly did not lead the attack.

* A year earlier, Benjamin Tupper led a similar raid against a Boston lighthouse.

Supporting evidence and citations will be found in the endnotes of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years. Please support the publication of this “must have” work by pre-ordering your copy today.

Michael E. Newton on “Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years” and book signing: July 10 at the Museum of American Finance in New York City

I am proud to announce that the Museum of American Finance and The Alexander Hamilton Awareness (AHA) Society have invited me to speak about my new book, Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years, on July 10 in the heart of New York City, mere steps from where Hamilton lived and from where he is buried. The talk will be followed by Q&A, book signing, and viewing of the “Alexander Hamilton: Indispensable Founder and Visionary” exhibit. The Museum of American Finance is located at 48 Wall Street. For more information and to register, visit here.

Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years is scheduled for publication in June 2015. Please support the publication of this important work by pre-ordering your copy today.

Stephen Knott’s review of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years

I am honored to share with you a review of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years written by Stephen F. Knott.

“Michael E. Newton’s Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years offers the most detailed examination of Hamilton’s early life that I have ever read. Every question and controversy related to this remarkable founding father is presented in a painstakingly thorough and evenhanded manner. I’m somewhat in awe of the task Michael E. Newton has undertaken—he has certainly done his due diligence regarding Alexander Hamilton. This is an invaluable resource, a must have, for serious scholars and students who are interested in the life of Alexander Hamilton.”

~ Stephen F. Knott is a Professor of National Security Affairs at the United States Naval War College. He is the author of Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth, a book I highly recommend, and a number of other works. He is also the co-author of Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance That Forged America, which will be published in September 2015.

Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years is scheduled for publication in June 2015. Please support the publication of this important work by pre-ordering your copy today.

Did Alexander Hamilton stay behind at Robinson’s house, receive the packet taken off John André (which revealed Benedict Arnold’s treason), and give it to Washington?

An extract from Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years (a continuation from the previous post):

According to nearly all historians, Alexander Hamilton remained at the Robinson house while Washington went over to West Point and it was Hamilton who received the important packet of papers during the commander-in-chief’s absence.* Indeed, a number of contemporary reports and subsequent eyewitness accounts state explicitly that Hamilton stayed behind at Arnold’s headquarters and received the packet. However, these reports disagree on many details and have numerous other problems that call their accuracy into question.

After one-and-a-half pages of analyzing the various reports that had Hamilton receiving the packet and showing how and why they are not reliable, Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years continues:

Most contemporary reports regarding the events of September 25 make no mention of Hamilton staying at the Robinson house and receiving the packet. The anonymous letter written by James McHenry dated September 26 and published in The Pennsylvania Packet a week later says nothing about Hamilton staying behind and receiving the packet, even though it mentions Hamilton’s later pursuit of Arnold. Another account dated September 28 and printed in the same issue of The Pennsylvania Packet also makes no mention of Hamilton staying behind and receiving the packet, even though it too mentions Hamilton chasing after Arnold. Washington did not mention Hamilton in his report to Congress, nor in any of his other letters about the events of this day. Hamilton did not mention staying behind or receiving the packet in his letter to his fiancée, even though he mentioned his pursuit of Arnold. Lafayette also failed to mention Hamilton staying behind and receiving the packet in his letter written at the time, even though he also mentioned Hamilton’s pursuit of Arnold. Furthermore, no known published account or history prior to 1828 claimed that Hamilton stayed behind at the Robinson house and received the packet. Lack of evidence is not evidence, but it is telling that the story of Hamilton receiving the packet in Washington’s absence was not mentioned in any published work for nearly fifty years after the event.

There is, however, one first-hand account indicating that Hamilton travelled with Washington to West Point instead of staying behind at the Robinson house. In a letter to his fiancée, Alexander Hamilton wrote, “I went in pursuit of [Arnold] but was much too late, and I could hardly regret the disappointment when, on my return, I saw an amiable woman frantic with distress for the loss of a husband she tenderly loved.” Thus, Hamilton clearly stated that it was only after he returned from his pursuit of Arnold that he witnessed Peggy Arnold’s “distress.”

According to all accounts, Peggy Arnold started swooning and acting frantic just after Washington left Robinson’s house for West Point and long before he returned from there. David S. Franks added that “Mrs. Arnold’s unhappy situation called us all to her assistance.” Thus, if Hamilton had stayed at Robinson’s house, he not only would have heard Peggy’s distress, but he also would have been among those who assisted her. In fact, a number of historians have said that this is exactly what happened. Since Hamilton wrote that he did not witness Peggy’s distress until after he returned from chasing Benedict Arnold, he could not have been at the Robinson house during Washington’s visit to West Point and could not have received the packet of documents taken from John André. Instead, Hamilton must have gone over to West Point with George Washington, Henry Knox, Lafayette, and the rest of the party.

* James Fenimore Cooper, Notions of the Americans 1:285; John C. Hamilton, The Life of Alexander Hamilton 1:262; Sparks, The Life and Treason of Benedict Arnold 243 and 246; Leake, Memoir of the Life and Times of General John Lamb 261; Lossing, The Pictorial Field-book of the Revolution 2:159; Washington Irving, Life of George Washington 4:132–133; John C. Hamilton, History of the Republic 2:54–55; George Canning Hill, Benedict Arnold: A Biography 252; Sargent, The Life and Career of Major John André 332–333; Riethmüller, Alexander Hamilton and his Contemporaries 83; Morse, The Life of Alexander Hamilton 1:45; Isaac Newton Arnold, The Life of Benedict Arnold 298–299; Fiske, The American Revolution 2:227; Atherton, The Conqueror 205; Fiske, Essays: Historical and Literary 1:112; Frank Landon Humphreys, Life and Times of David Humphreys 1:180; Hufeland, Westchester County during the American Revolution 358; Loth, Alexander Hamilton: Portrait of a Prodigy 96; Schachner, Alexander Hamilton 117; Freeman, George Washington: A Biography 5:199; Mitchell, Alexander Hamilton: Youth to Maturity 211–212; Mitchell, Alexander Hamilton: The Revolutionary Years 201; Hendrickson, Hamilton 1:274–275; Mitchell, Alexander Hamilton: A Concise Biography 82–83; Chernow, Alexander Hamilton 141; Alexander Rose, Washington’s Spies 209.
In stating that “nearly all historians” place Hamilton at Robinson’s house, this is not meant to imply that some historians have argued against the mainstream account. Rather, some historians simply report that the packet arrived for Washington without stating who received it.

Supporting evidence and citations will be found in the endnotes of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years. Please support the publication of this important work by pre-ordering your copy today.