tv Alexander Hamiltons Legacy CSPAN August 14, 2016 2:27pm-3:16pm EDT
history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. csp us on facebook at anhistory. announcer: next, author richard brookhiser discusses alexander hamilton. he argues that the economic achievements, including his support for building domestic factories and debt reconciliation, were key components making the fledgling american democracy self-sufficient and prosperous. the alexander hamilton awareness society hosted this event. this is about 45 minutes. mr. scholet: welcome, everybody, to the celebrate hamilton 2016 events. 12th anniversary of alexander hamilton's passing that happened in 1804, at the young age of 47. i am rand scholet, president of
the alexander hamilton awareness society. but for short, the a-ha society. we have had many discoveries, and we just revealed three new ones this past thursday at liberty hall. so, check online for that. the a-ha society needs to give a special thanks to a number of organizations that made this program possible today. especially trinity church who hosted us with great support. alexander hamilton was a congregant. the u.s. coast guard and auxiliary, as you heard mentioned, alexander hamilton was the founder of the u.s. coast guard. and the members of the a-ha society and the board of directors all worked hard to bring this together. we had 32 events in 20 locations over 10 days. and it took everyone's support and encouragement. society joins with you
to honor alexander hamilton's life and his legacy. in that light, the alexander hamilton awareness society will be presenting the first hamilton legacy award to richard brookhiser, for educating the public about alexander hamilton. the of interest in -- revival of interest in alexander hamilton in the 21st century can be traced to mr. brookhiser's work. i will give you four examples. number one, after reading about and studying about in writing a book on george washington, mr. brookhiser saw that there was someone, a right-hand aid and man in his life, alexander hamilton, he became intrigued and wrote a tremendous book in 1999. the book is only 220 pages long. that deserves an award. if you can tell alexander hamilton's life in all of the dimensions of it in 220 pages,
it is magnificent. and the other thing that we really appreciate about mr. brookhiser, it really gets the true hamilton. and going to the primary sources. it has been really helpful to the cause of looking for people to learn about the accurate characterization of alexander hamilton, where many of us did not hear about him a couple of years ago because of the mischaracterizations. so, we thank them for the book. him for that book. really quite a compliment. number two, mr. brookhiser is a historian curator for alexander hamilton, the man who made modern america, which was displayed at the new york historical society of 2004. how many were able to see that? good. keywords -- he worked with the institute. then there were these alexander hamilton exhibit panels that were produced.
it was so exciting. we went to the caribbean, there were those panels. we were just at the paterson museum yesterday, no, i'm sorry, sunday. there were the panels, just so articulately telling the stories of all the dimensions of alexander hamilton's life. number three, mr. brookhiser worked with pbs to write and host an innovative documentary, called "rediscovery," in 2011. all of these resources created a foundation some years ago that resulted in great scholarship and content of much renown. they have become the core resource material this year. you may have heard the support of the institute, along with the rockefeller foundation, and the hamilton musical all came together to serve 20,000 students to see that over 18 months in matinees. and that rich content was because of the work of mr.
brookhiser, over many years. it is quite a hamilton legacy, mr. brookhiser. because of his efforts to continue to show his story, richard is very deserving of the first recipient of the hamilton legacy award, which reads, " richard brookhiser is hereby presented with the hamilton legacy award, for four decades of outstanding service and dedication to educating the public about the contributions of alexander hamilton to the united states of america the alexander hamilton awareness society, 2016." let us thank richard brookhiser. [applause]
mr. brookhiser: thank you, so much. the founding fathers were a very practical generation. and hamilton being among the most practical. and they knew that true ideals were vital. you had to have them. but they are not enough. they have to be made real in the world, you have to work for them. and the same is true of memory. you know, we have to remember what we have done right. we have to remember what we have done wrong. but memory is not automatic. it has to be informed, and it has to be cherished and encouraged. and the alexander hamilton awareness society does splendid work in that regard. and it is a great honor to be recognized by it. thank you. [applause]
mr. scholet: in the hamilton musical ends with a profound perspective, and a set of questions. who lives, who dies, who tells your story? i would like to answer those in three parts. who lives? we all live in hamilton's america. as it was alexander hamilton who created a vision, and changed the foundations of how the united states of america achieved greatness. who dies? on this day, july 12, 212 years ago, alexander hamilton died, defending his honor. such that as he would say, "to be in the future useful." in 18 minutes, it will be the 2:00 passing of alexander hamilton, after 30 years from his injury from the duel.
he often chose the nation's well-being over his physical, financial, and family's well-being. who tells the story? we are most privileged to have richard brookhiser tell the story, alexander hamilton, the man who made america prosperous. ladies and gentlemen, richard brookhiser. [applause] mr. brookhiser: so, how did hamilton make america prosperous? i think we have to look at three things. we have to look at the arc of his life, where he came from, and where he went. and then, we have to review what he did at the height of his life. and then, we have to consider what inspired him, utmost moved -- what most moved him.
hamilton, as you know, was an immigrant. and there will several other immigrants among the founding fathers, horatio gates, robert morris, james wilson. but these other men all came from the british isles. hamilton was the unique immigrant from the west indies, born on the island of nevis, raised on the island of st. croix, which is on the virgin islands. and the west indies in hamilton's lifetime, mid to late 18th-century, was like the middle east today. was the place with the thing that everyone wanted came from. today, that is oil. in the 18th century, that was sugar. the wealth that was generated by west indian sugar was fantastic. when hamilton was six years old, 1763, the french and indian war ended, also called the seven years war.
and at the end of this world war between britain and france, britain had conquered so many of france's colonies, that they had to get some back. they could not possibly hold all that they had won. so, there was a serious debate in the british government. should we keep canada or the island of guadalupe? half of north america? or one sugar-producing island? they decided to give back guadalupe. and they were fiercely criticized by the british business community. how could they have done this? canada is only snow. guadalupe is a sugar island, where the money is made. that was a sign of how valuable the islands were. hamilton saw the commerce that was generated from the ground up. his first job in st. croix was for a merchant house,
headquartered in new york city, with branches in the west indies, and another branch in bristol, england. the person who ran the branch in bristol became a member of parliament, and he represented britain along with edmund burke, another sign of the importance of the sugar trade wealth that was generated. hamilton was not bound for parliament. he was a clerk in a store. but he saw from the bottom, from the ground up, how trading was done, how money circulated, how deals were made. he also saw the enormous disparities in the holding of this wealth. most of this money went to planters. many did not even live on the island were there plantations were. in jane mansfield's novel, a plantation owner in antigua, he appears in the novel halfway
fromgh, he comes back england. but many of the planters never left england, france, their home country. the islands were run by overseers. beneath there was a small service class, agents, merchants, a few professionals. this is the class which hamilton's parents belong, james and rachel. he was a merchant. -- merchants agent. she owned a small store. but the vast bulk of the population was slaves. the population of nevis when he lived there was 10,000 slaves, 500 white people. the population of st. croix was 22,000 slaves, 2000 white people. the average life span of a field hand, brought to the west indies from west africa, was seven years, before he was work to death, or before he died from
disease. the planters were not concerned because there was always another slave ship coming in. beekman and kruger dealt in slaves. when hamilton lived in nevis, he lived just down the street from a large pen, where the slaves of -- fresh from africa were held before they were sorted out and put on smaller ships, sent to the rest of the british west indies. so, this was the social system hamilton grew up in, heavily skewed, no opportunity to rise. he managed to get out because of his own brilliance and because of his luck. he was a very smart boy, and a smart young man. his employers recognized that. so did the local minister, a man who had connections in the north american mainland. so, when hamilton was a teenager, he was sent to north american to be educated.
the plan was to get him trained as a doctor, and he would come back to the islands and practice. and the first plan was to send him to the college of new jersey, now princeton. that did not work. so, he went to king's college, which is now columbia, then just up broadway from this building. this is the second important location in hamilton's life. the fact that he came here to new york, rather than to philadelphia or to boston, which were the other significant cities in british north america. philadelphia was the largest. new york had passed boston to become second, gaining on philadelphia. and they were all commercial cities. but boston and philadelphia had been founded as holy cities. they were religious experiments. boston was the city on the hill. philadelphia was the city of brotherly love. and some of that atmosphere
still clung to them. but new york was always and only about getting and spending. the dutch had founded it as new amsterdam, as the trading post to take furs from the iroquois indians, ship them back to holland. as the fur traffic died and withered, they traded others. the english acquired the city, but it kept its character. i am sure you all know the founding myth of new york. that it was bought from the indians for $24 in beads, and tools by peter minuit in 1624. and the way the myth is usually told is that the indians were
cheated, because for $24 they gave up manhattan island, worth billions and billions now. but i have heard some tellings of the myth, and that the indians who sold manhattan did not live here, they were just passing through. there may have been doubledealing on both sides. but myths always tell the truth. and the truth of that myth is that the soul of new york is commerce. that is why people live here, to make it, to get ahead. so, hamilton was coming for one -- from one commercial place, to another very commercial, innately commercial, place. it was also a more equal place. it was by no means a paradigm. -- paradise. new york was a slave city and a slave colony. when hamilton came here, the population of the city was about 1/6 slave. and they worked as house servants, also working on the small farms in what is now brooklyn and queens. the city was doubly bound to slavery, because what was grown and produced on those farms, the food, timber, fabric was shipped down to the west indies.
to be used by the slaves and the owners of the slaves there. so, there was still slavery here in new york. but there were other things going on. there was a lot of commerce. there was also some manufacturing. it was not supposed to happen under the british mercantile system. according to that, all manufacturing was to be done in the home country, shipped out to the colonies. but the people got around the rules and laws, as i hear they still do in new york, and so, there was manufacturing ehre in -- here in new york. hamilton came from a place that marked him, and he moved to a place that continued to mark him. he never graduated from columbia. because the revolution had happened, and he left his college to fight. he started in a student militia company, and he became a captain of an artillery company.
he was noticed by george washington, and put on his staff -- colonel, where he served for four years. and finally, at the end of the fighting, given a deal to manage the battle of yorktown. after the war, he came back to new york. made his money as a lawyer, but he also briefly served in the new york assembly, and in the continental congress. he was sent as a delegate to the constitutional convention in philadelphia in 1787. he was not very regular in his attendance. but after the constitution was written, he took up the job of campaigning for it in the newspapers. his performance was stellar. he organized a series of essays, we would now call them op-ed in the new york newspapers. because it was crucial, a central location.
of therth state out country, new england split off. so, new york was a must win state. hamilton found two collaborators, james madison, a colleague from the continental congress, and john jay, a former diplomat and spymaster. and the three of them wrote 85 essays for new york newspapers. jay got sick early on, so he only wrote five. madison wrote 29. 51.lton wrote these essays came out at a rate of six a week, reaching 2000 words long. some weeks, there were five. one week, there was six. columnists from the "new york times" today, they write 750 words, twice a week. so, this with greater frequency, greater length, also immortal. after the constitution was ratified, george washington had to pick a first treasury secretary.
he first asked robert morris, who had run the finances of the country during the second half of the revolution. morris was the richest man in america, but he did not want to do public service again. he wanted to make money. so, he recommended alexander hamilton, saying he was damn sharp. washington knew that already as he was on his staff. so he becomes the first treasury secretary of the united states in december of 1789, when he is 32 years old. and now, we come to what he did at the climax of his life. and the problem that he faced was debt. wars cost money. and the united states had no money. 5e are gone for the war, 8. year war, the longest war we
fought until vietnam. longer than the civil war, our portion of world war ii, put together. but we could not pay for it. the government under the continental congress and the articles of confederation could not tax the state. they could ask the state for money. and if the states would not or could not pay, they did not have to pay. robert morris said at one point that asking the states for money was like preaching to the dead. so, they did other things. they printed paper money. and as unbacked paper money always does, it inflated away until it was almost worthless. then, they called in all of the old dollars. they said $40 worth the new one, issuing new money, but that began to inflate in turn. their bills. they did funny stuff with creditors. they took out loans. they took out loans from the rich people who existed in america, they also got loans
from dutch bankers, who were willing to run a risk. they got loans from france. and they scraped through at the very end of the war, the soldiers marching to yorktown would not have got there, because they had not been paid. but a french ship filled with silver was part of the armada that came to participate in the yorktown campaign. and so, that campaign was funded. and america won the final victory. but after the war, 1783, the larder was truly bare. we were trading in europe, amsterdam, antwerp, essentially a third of its value -- a quarter of its value, essentially junk. what did hamilton do? he had going for him that the
new constitution did allow the federal government to raise taxes, so that is a plus. but how should the money be spent? he made two early decisions of great consequence. one was called assumption. the other was called nondiscrimination. assumption had to do with the fact that there was not one american debt, but 14. there were the debts owed by the united states, and the debts owed by each of the 13 states. the 13 states had raised their own troops. they had made their own expenses for the war. and some of them were badly in arrears. massachusetts, in particular. and also, south carolina. but there was ill feeling among the states because some of the states and paid off debt, -- had paid off debt, why should we take on obligations by the deadbeat states? now, not all of the states who paid the debt did honestly. north carolina simply announced
off 20%ld not -- knock dependent arrest. -- of their debt. rhode island paid itself by printing paper money. there was a lot of suffering and a sharp dealing, on all sides. hamilton's argument was that the war had been a common struggle. all of the states were fighting together for the liberty of all, the whole country. so, he assumed the debt of the 13 states, along with the federal debt. it would all be treated as one debt. they would be paid off at the same time. this was the decision for assumption. nondiscrimination had to do with the creditors, the holders of the debt. most of them were soldiers, who have not been paid during the war. this was simply chronic. soldiers were not paid. they were given ious. and of the end of the war, they were sent home with the ious, promises of future payment.
but over the years, some of these ious have been sold, as a soldier needed money immediately, he might sell them at a discount to a merchant. or, may be he would sell to a speculator, to someone with resources who thought, well, one day the things they be paid off, -- may be a off. let me buy them from soldiers. the iou had been traded. everyone agreed that soldiers should be paid off at the full value. these men had suffered for the country. they had fought, they had bled. but many americans thought why should we pay off speculators? they have not fought they have , not bled. they were silly looking for a -- simply looking for a profit. hamilton knew the way the world of money works. he knew that if debtors pick and choose among their creditors, they can do it once.
they will not be able to get a loan again. or if they can, it will be at a punishing rate of interest. so, he said there should be nondiscrimination, that all the creditors would be paid off at a common rate. and he was able to get congress to agree to this, too. now, he had to do some bargaining to make this happen. the most consequential deal was to move the capital of the united states to new york, first new york, it had been first in philadelphia for 10 years, then to a place and the potomac, then undeveloped, now washington, d.c. so, we incurred a future of murderous washington summers, but we got america's debts paid off in a timely fashion. and that was due to hamilton's foresight and his clever dealmaking. he also had an insight about how to handle the debt.
his intention was not to pay it off and make it go away. he wanted to manage the debt. he wanted the debt where regular payments would be made on the interest. and his insight was that if you did that with debt, the terms of -- it turns from being a liability into a resource. people see you are not struggling under the burden, you are maintaining it, so they are maintaining it. that becomes credit. debt can become money. if you have a credit card, you know how this works. if you have 20 credit cards, you know how this does not work. [laughter] get -- debt has to be managed carefully, and that was hamilton's intention. his way of managing the debt was
a new thing in world finance. only two countries had gone his direction, holland and england . and then france tried to join the new financial world, but the man in charge of their debt was not cautious. brilliance, -- brilliant, but a gambler. he certainly gambled with france's money. and the smashup in france was so terrible, that the french were suspicious of banks, to this day. they are not called banks. and that is how deep the suspicion in france of how banking goes. alexander hamilton was able to take this small country on the edge of nowhere and make it the third country in the world in the new world of modern finance. there are going to be many bumps on the road after his death.
people did not maintain his policies. we would have panic, depression, but he got us off to a solid start. when he came in as treasury secretary, as i said, our debt was trading to a quarter or a third of his value. -- its value. when he left, he was trading at -- it was trading at 10%. he made it worth as good as gold. the money men in europe were willing to pay a small premium to hold in europe. the phrase we use for poor, troubled new nations is banana republic, because they are in countries where bananas grow. but america was on its way to being that country. if hamilton had not lived and served, the phrase for a troubled new nation would be maple republic, or pine republic, because we would have been the first. he helped us avoid that fate. but he was not doing it only to
balance the books. he wasn't even doing it to expand the economy. he had a further vision in mind. and that is what i want to end with. we can see it in his report on manufacturing. the alexander hamilton awareness society had an event in the passaic, where the passaic river drops 50 feet on its way to the atlantic. and hamilton saw that during the war, he had eight picnic there there with george washington and lafayette, this can be a source of power, used for factories. and there were some problems with hamilton's plan. the first director was a crook, embezzling funds. but factories did come to patterson, and they did come to america. and the report that hamilton issued to congress, he talked about the benefits of a diverse economy to the united states.
he said we have agriculture. we have commerce and trade, but we also need manufacturing. we need all we can get. and he went into great detail about the kinds of things that could be made in america. one of the people that he found was samuel colt, who built a factory in patterson, then moved it to hartford. and the colt pistol and weapons were produced by colt and his descendents, and he was one of hamilton's picks for the patterson great falls project. but in his report on manufacturing, hamilton talks about what manufacturing and economic diversity can do for people. and he wrote what i consider to be the most eloquent, most moving words he ever wrote. he said that "minds of the
strongest and most active nature can fall below mediocrity, and labor without the fact, if confined to uncongenial -- without effect if confined to uncongenial pursuits." all of the different kinds of industry, obtained in a community, each individual can find his proper elements and call into activity the full vigor of his nature. each individual can find his proper element and call into activity the whole vigor of his nature. hamilton is going beyond dollars and cents, he is even going beyond diversity. he is looking at an economy's effect on people. i find this moving because he is writing about himself. he could so easily have fallen below mediocrity, and labored without effect.
if he had stayed the rest of his life in the islands, that would've been his life story. but through brilliance and luck, he got out and had a career. but unlike some people who rise from nowhere and make it, he thought of other alexander hamiltons. he wanted to make the world where it would be easier and better for that. that is what he wanted the american economy to be, what he was trying to create. we are here to celebrate his life, but we are also commemorating -- we have been calling it his passing -- but let us be honest, his death, in the duel, which i believe was needless and tragic. makes me angry with him, whenever i consider it. i remember the first time i went to weehauken. the dueling sight is long gone, up on the hudson, dynamited for railroad.
at the top of the cliff, they have a tiny little park, not much bigger than this lectern. they have a rack which hamilton is said to have leaned on after he was shot. and there is a bench. there is really not much to see there. the weather is to see is across the water, right on the hudson. and you look to the east, you see all of manhattan. from the battery, all the way up through midtown, all the way up through riverside church. the manhattan mountain range of skyscrapers and apartments. and i know if hamilton could see that now, he would say this is why i came here. this is what i worked to build. thanks very much. [applause]
mr. brookhiser: this is not the constitutional convention. hamilton gave one speech that was six hours. we will not emulate. >> did hamilton have any economic interest built at great falls? mr. brookhiser: well, you know, i cannot say he did not have a dime in it, but he was probably the poorest treasury secretary we have ever had. his money came from being a lawyer. a lawyer. and he was a very good one, very well paid one. and after he retired from the treasury and was back in legal practice, his finances had taken a hit, but he hoped to recoup. and he expected to be a believe his wife and children a nice estate. but his death cut that short. and his widow and his family was
in very dire circumstances afterwards. >> the reason why i asked is that there is an attack on hamilton currently, that really is an act go of attacks on hamilton that went on in his life and after his life, as i understand his wife spent 50 years defending him after his death. mr. brookhiser: they have been attacking him for a long time. >> i hear from my people, who maybe once were jeffersonians, i don't know what the hell they are today, but they're saying that hamilton was a capitalistic exporter of everybody. only built the great falls dam because he owned the land, or had a financial interest. i do not believe it. so, i'm glad to hear that you agree it is a lie. mr. brookhiser: right, you can always ask them if they want to live in a poor country?
would that be better? any other questions? yes, sir. here's one. >> you mentioned something i think is very sophisticated, talking about every person as a specialist. maybe even talk about specialization of labor, which is a big part of capitalism. each individual is his own personal talent and profession, being specialized. i had not heard that. mr. brookhiser: well, the report on manufacturers is very long. there is a lot, and it is easy to miss this paragraph. you know, a leaked out at me as a biographer. that i did have this sense that hamilton was writing about himself, which he rarely does. he is not a self analytical person. he is not very self reflective. he never kept a diary.
some of his letters talk about himself, and this is true of most of the founding fathers. they were not generally an inward looking lot. john adams was. he had some of that puritan self-examination, and he keeps a very detailed diary. but, no, i thought here, a surprising moment, seeing something about -- perhaps not even aware of it, perhaps not even aware that this is his own life, how it could've gone, his alternate life. he is describing, but it could have so easily have happened. ok, he worked for a merchant firm headquartered here. he had a minister antiquated at princeton -- when he was a teenager, he wrote a letter about a hurricane in st. croix, it was published in the local newspaper, the royal danish american gazette.
you know, some people read this thing. this is a bright kid. let us give him a boost. but you could so easily see none of those things happening, just short-circuiting somehow. and i just see him wanting to change the deck for future players. very inspiring. any other questions? >> i know you have seen the play "hamilton," but the source material, is there anything you would have changed, add, or is a perfect the way it is? mr. brookhiser: i love the play. i saw it at the public theater. i reviewed it. they made me pay for the reviewer's to get.
that is how hot the show was, before it went to broadway. lin-manuel miranda read chernoff's book. everybody agrees, except the year hamilton was born. there is controversy. michael newton has finally put that to rest. he agrees with me. [laughter] no, i agree with "hamilton." was he born in 1755 or 1757? anyway, so no, the one thing the play does, and i see why they did it, they make aaron burr basically a nice guy. a good sort. and this is done for dramatic reasons. you want an antagonist not just a villain, not parody between him and hamilton, but nothing lopsided.
certainly, burr has many admirable qualities. he was a brave and intelligent man, well-read man. but i simply see something cold and empty at the heart of him, which is not the way manuel goes. not the way the chernoff goes, his book is very upbeat. any other questions? yes? i can hear. why don't you do it so everybody else can hear? they also were able to speak to like huge rooms in the 18th century. you know, they did it differently. must've been like singing.
>> i like to ask you a question that i asked an alexander hamilton at the grange. i asked the question in front of professor dylan freeman, and the actor did not give me an answer, but the portrayer was offended by my question. i would like to ask you, was alexander hamilton romantically in love with his wife's sister? thank you. mr. brookhiser: you know, yes, but did they have an affair? you know, we never know. certainly, his wife's sister, angelica, betsy skyler was one of a number of daughters. the sister married a man name john church. and it was actually john church's dueling pistols that were used in the fatal duel with aaron burr.
i have seen that. they're really good-looking. and that makes that terrible. these are fetishized objects of gentlemanly death. it is chilling to see these things. incidentally, dueling was illegal in new jersey. it was considered murder. but they were never prosecuted. during the nullification, no jury would have convicted. that is what gentlemen did. it was a parallel system. it was a wicked system, but we lived with it. ok, so these church sisters, clearly angelica is also smitten with hamilton. she writes these letters to him and about him, and he reminds me of a character in a jane austen novel, amusing by how annoying they are. there always kind of in your face, putting emotions before you.
and i think hamilton was very flattered by this attention. he had an eye for the ladies. he is not the only person you can think of who falls in love with a whole group of sisters simultaneously. mozart, charles dickens did that. kind of a common pattern for someone often maybe from the margins, and they need rich, glamorous, or attractive sisters. you know, they pick out one to marry. but they are all in love with the whole crop of them. that is my best answer. there is no solid proof of anything more than that. but yes, i think there was a kind of eroticized quality to the whole relationship with the schuyler girls. ok, well, thank you so much for your attention. [applause] mr. scholet: to can tell by mr. brookhiser's knowledge and the
depth that he has, there are many historians, many biographies, many authors, many journalists, very few have the scholarly depth that mr. brookhiser has. i want to share this with you all today because we announced at last week, but richard has also been designated as a national hamilton squalor, which reads "for exemplary scholarship to provide accurate and objective information to the public about the remarkable founding father, alexander hamilton. the alexander hamilton awareness society, 2016.
thank you for your service to alexander hamilton." [applause] and to conclude, we just want to let you know that if you have not gotten one of these, you can ask for it afterwards. but we have a number of more hamilton events. upcoming, hamilton on the hudson commit hudson valley region. and that is july 15-17. and the trinity church archives are going to have original documents, i believe all five of hamilton's children. i encourage you to see that. thank you so much for coming. and keep following and cheering on alexander hamilton and his contributions. [applause]
announcer: you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend, on c-span 3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. 19-year-old switzerland are native albert gallatin came to the united states in 1780. he served as treasury secretary and later was ambassador to france and england. next, on american history tv, interpreter ron duquette discusses the founding father and the immigration laws in the early american republic. the lecture is part of a two-day symposium hosted by the capital society, titled "congress and the nation of immigrants."