Alexander Hamilton, Monarchist?

In the December 2007 issue, Edward J. Larson’s article “The Revolution of 1800” contains biased information. For example, he said on page 32 that Alexander Hamilton wanted to create an American monarchy. How can you allow that statement to go unchallenged? It’s an extremely partisan viewpoint. Is your magazine partisan?

David Freedman

Highland Park, Ill.

The editors reply: Hamilton’s notes from the Constitutional Convention in 1787 contain several references to establishing a monarchy, even a hereditary monarchy, in America. He stopped short of calling for this in a speech to the delegates that June, although he did advocate a Senate and a chief executive that would be elected to life terms. Anti-Federalists seeking to limit the power of the central government claimed this as proof that Hamilton was a monarchist. Historians have since debated the accuracy of the claim, but there is little doubt that Hamilton envisioned a hierarchical society similar to that of Great Britain.

The Boy in the Shroud

The article “D.C. Mystery Solved” (Headlines, February 2008) says that the skeleton of a boy in an iron coffin was wearing a “white burial suit.” It is more likely a burial shroud. Burial shrouds are also known as “winding sheets.”

R.H. Chamberlain

Flournoy, Calif.

More African-American History

I am a history and social science instructor at an inner-city high school in Chicago and have a grave concern about your magazine: I have never seen an African American on the cover. Is this to imply that Africans in America have made no historical contributions? If Stonewall Jackson merits “pen time,” surely the requirements are not too difficult! American History should promote exactly that: American history, not just European-American history.

David C. Penn

Country Club Hills, Ill.

The editors reply: American History strives to reflect the diversity of our national experience. In the past year, the magazine has done stories on Martin Luther King, the integration of Central High School, musician DeFord Bailey and a landmark court case involving escaped slaves in Michigan Territory. We have reported on racial issues and the current presidential campaign, new developments in civil rights–era cold cases and preservation issues in historically black communities.


Originally published in the April 2008 issue of American History. To subscribe, click here