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Effect Of The Reynolds Affair On Alexander Hamilton's Political And Personal Life

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Section 1 – Identification and Evaluation of Sources This investigation will explore the question: What was the effect of the Reynolds Affair on Alexander Hamilton’s political and personal life? The Reynolds Affair, which occurred in 1791 between Alexander Hamilton and Maria Reynolds with her husband’s knowledge, was revealed to the public in 1797 by Hamilton himself to clear his name of speculation. One source that this investigation will be using and evaluating is referred to as “The Reynolds Pamphlet,” and has its origins as a defensive document written by Alexander Hamilton in 1797. Its purpose was to refute a charge of speculation that James Callender had levelled at Hamilton and thus its contents include descriptions of the affair, proof that Hamilton was innocent of speculation, and declarations of blackmail. The pamphlet is valuable in that it was written by Hamilton himself less than a decade after the incident, thus showing his views and providing a first-hand account of the affair which can be compared to the reactions it…show more content…
Was Lodge simply practicing selection in his omission of the events of the Reynolds affair, or was he showing bias by refusing to portray Hamilton in a wholly negative light? I was attempting to answer this by analyzing the distinct perspectives on the Reynolds affair when I realized it is impossible to describe historical events in an unbiased way. Although statistical facts can and should be reported without bias, a description is easy to distort. This is because witnesses of an event see and record based on their personal outlooks – for instance, Hamilton’s recollections of the affair are largely self-serving, and accounts made by other Federalists show the inherent bias people held towards men in the 18th century. Therefore, analysis and descriptions made by future historians will hold at least a small piece of this bias in their own
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