Jon Meacham duels David Brooks over Jefferson and Hamilton political influences in American history
Pulitzer Prize winning biographer, former editor-in-chief of Newsweek, and executive editor at Random House, the largest book publishing house in the U.S., and a frequent commentator on politics, history, and religious faith in America on MSNBC, Jon Meacham sat down with leading conservative political and cultural New York Times columnist, PBS NewsHour commentator, and Alexander Hamilton champion David Brooks at the 2012 Book Expo America convention to discuss Meacham's #1 New York Times bestselling biography, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (Random House; November, 2012), and, without further ado, began comparing and contrasting two of America's most influential founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Meacham then ventured into Jefferson's love life, his way with the ladies, his marriage to Martha Wayles, who died at the age of 34 a few weeks after bearing her sixth child, and his relationship with his slave Sally Hemings, who happened to be his deceased wife's half-sister. Noting that Jefferson left behind over 22,000 letters, Meacham reviewed Jefferson's concern for his legacy, fame, and fortune. Brooks then led Meacham into a spirited discussion of American politics then and now, comparing the personal and political backgrounds of Jefferson and Hamilton, and the similarities between Jefferson and Barack Obama. Brooks and Meacham wrapped their road show with a discussion of book publishing's digital transition before taking questions on John Adams and the Alien and Sedition Act; political polarization in American history; the Louisiana Purchase and American expansion; and America's 2012 Presidential Election and the role of corporate money and lobbying in american politics.
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