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One can hardly imagine a more lucid description of the basic differences between Hamilton’s Federalist and Jefferson’s anti-Federalist faction than U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge gives in his biography. If you slept through this part of U.S. History in high school and struggle to truly understand the subjects at issue, you would do well to read Lodge’s explanation. No other American has been, historically speaking, so much discussed, so much criticized, and so much written about. All this enhances the difficulty of any fresh study of Hamilton’s life, but at the same time, even the briefest biography would be incomplete without an attempt, at least, to portray him as a man, to analyze the traits of his mind and character, and to define the quality of his greatness. In person Hamilton was well made, of light and active build, but very small, much below the average height. His friends were wont to call him the “little lion,” and it is somewhat remarkable that his stature seems to have interfered so slightly, if at all, with his success as an orator. In a time when American nationality meant nothing, he alone grasped the great conception in all its fullness, and gave all he had of will and intellect to make its realization possible. He alone perceived the destiny which was in store for the republic. To these ends everything he did was directed, and in his task of founding a government he also founded a nation. It was a great work. Others contributed much to it, but Hamilton alone fully understood it.

Little Lion: A biography of Alexander Hamilton

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