Commonplace Book #67

To understand [Alexander] Hamilton’s productivity, it is important to note that virtually all of his important work was journalism, prompted by topical issues and written in the midst of controversy.  He never wrote as a solitary philosopher for the ages.  His friend Nathaniel Pendleton remarked, ‘His eloquence. . . seemed to require opposition to give it its full force.”  But his topical writing has endured because he plumbed the timeless principles behind contemporary events.  Whether in legal briefs or sustained polemics, he wanted to convince people through appeals to their reason.  He had an incomparable capacity for work and a metabolism that thrived on conflict.  His stupendous output came from the interplay of superhuman stamina and intellect and a fair degree of repetition.

Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton, 250.

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