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Virtual Book Talk: The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton with Author Andrew Porwancher

Date(s) - Wednesday, January 19th
7:00 pm CST - 8:00 pm CST


dsc0801-version-2The untold story of the founding father’s likely Jewish birth and upbringing―and its revolutionary consequences for understanding him and the nation he fought to create.

In The Jewish World of Alexander HamiltonAndrew Porwancher debunks a string of myths about the origins of this founding father to arrive at a startling conclusion: Hamilton, in all likelihood, was born and raised Jewish. For more than two centuries, his youth in the Caribbean has remained shrouded in mystery. Hamilton himself wanted it that way, and most biographers have simply assumed he had a Christian boyhood. With a detective’s persistence and a historian’s rigor, Porwancher upends that assumption and revolutionizes our understanding of an American icon. Join author Andrew Porwancher for an exploration of how this fascinating book challenges us to rethink the life and legend of America’s most enigmatic founder.

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More About The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton
This radical reassessment of Hamilton’s religious upbringing gives us a fresh perspective on both his adult years and the country he helped forge. Although he didn’t identify as a Jew in America, Hamilton cultivated a relationship with the Jewish community that made him unique among the founders. As a lawyer, he advocated for Jewish citizens in court. As a financial visionary, he invigorated sectors of the economy that gave Jews their greatest opportunities. As an alumnus of Columbia, he made his alma mater more welcoming to Jewish people. And his efforts are all the more striking given the pernicious antisemitism of the era. In a new nation torn between democratic promises and discriminatory practices, Hamilton fought for a republic in which Jew and Gentile would stand as equals.

About Andrew Porwancher
A native of Princeton, New Jersey, Andrew Porwancher earned degrees from Brown and Northwestern before completing his PhD in history at Cambridge. Currently, he serves as the Wick Cary Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma and the Ernest May Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. He is the author of The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton (Princeton, 2021). 

Porwancher previously served as the Horne Fellow at Oxford and the Garwood Fellow at Princeton. He also held senior research fellowships at the Straus Center and Clements Center. In 2017, Porwancher won the Longmire Prize for innovative teaching. He is now at work on his fourth book, Theodore Roosevelt and the Jews (Princeton). His other books include The Devil Himself (Oxford, 2016), which was adapted by a theater company in Dublin.

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