Thursday, August 21, 2014
A review of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (2004)
This book is the most comprehensive biography of Alexander Hamilton released in modern times. It tells the story well and is written in florid detail supported by a fount of scholarly research and previously undisclosed material from Hamilton's voluminous writings. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) was born in the West Indies (Nevis), descended from the laird of Grange in Scotland on his father's side of the family and from French Huguenots on his mother's side. Brought up in relative poverty, Hamilton was soon recognized as a child prodigy by Hugh Knox, a Presbyterian minister in the islands. As an extremely proficient clerk at a Counting House in St. Croix, young Alexander Hamilton's employers also appreciated his precocity and intelligence. Knox arranged for Hamilton, now age 17, to receive financial assistant from the admiring islanders, who backed Hamilton to travel to America and study on scholarship. America was then a land in revolutionary turmoil, rebelling against British rule. As a student, Hamilton soon became embroiled in the heat of politics and revolution. Hamilton studied at Kings College (later Columbia...
Monday, September 22, 2014
After a highly charged two-year campaign, the Scottish people have spoken, and the final vote and tally completed. On September 18, 2014, Scotland voted in a massive referendum on the issue of Scottish independence. The result being that Scotland would stay within the United Kingdom after all — rejecting, by a decisive vote, the call for independence: 2,001,926 citizens cast a No vote; 1,617,989, a Yes vote. In political concessions, Britain will be devolving more powers to Scotland and the Scottish Parliament, particularly in taxes, spending, and welfare.
British Prime Minister David Cameron says now it is "time to move on" and breathed a sigh of relief at the electoral victory! It had been a rough ride for the Prime Minister as well as for British Labor Leader Gordon Brown, who had campaigned extensively for a No vote. Scottish National Party (SNP) leader and Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, who had been a lightning rod inciting for Scottish independence and who headed the movement, announced that he would step down as First Minister, nevertheless vowing that, "For Scotland, the campaign continues and the dream shall never die."(1)