Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic

Front Cover
Yale University Press, Jan 1, 2002 - History - 376 pages
4 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
In this extraordinary book, Joanne Freeman offers a major reassessment of political culture in the early years of the American republic. By exploring both the public actions and private papers of key figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton, Freeman reveals an alien and profoundly unstable political world grounded on the code of honor. In the absence of a party system and with few examples to guide America's experiment in republican governance, the rituals and rhetoric of honor provided ground rules for political combat. Gossip, print warfare, and dueling were tools used to jostle for status and form alliances in an otherwise unstructured political realm. These political weapons were all deployed in the tumultuous presidential election of 1800--an event that nearly toppled the new republic.

By illuminating this culture of honor, Freeman offers new understandings of some of the most perplexing events of early American history, including the notorious duel between Burr and Hamilton. A major reconsideration of early American politics, Affairs of Honor offers a profoundly human look at the anxieties and political realities of leaders struggling to define themselves and their role in the new nation.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

A rich and engaging book. Freeman argues that early American politics can only be understood by taking into account cultures of honor and the emotional experiences of the men in charge, or who wanted ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DarthDeverell - LibraryThing

Joanne B. Freeman’s Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic uses the framework of honor culture to explore the underlying motives that drove the founding generation’s decisions during ... Read full review


Walking on Untrodden Ground The Challenges of National Politics
The Theater of National Politics
Slander Poison Whispers and Fame The Art of Political Gossip
The Art of Paper War
Dueling as Politics
An Honor Dispute of Grand Proportions The Presidential Election of 1800
Constructing American History
A Note on Method

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 350 - President of the United States | and | A Development | of the | Characters and views | of his | Political Opponents...

About the author (2002)

Joanne B. Freeman is Professor of History at Yale University. She recently appeared in the PBS American Experience documentary The Duel, exploring the fatal 1804 clash between Burr and Hamilton. She is also the editor of Alexander Hamilton: Writings, published by the Library of America.

Bibliographic information