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Hamilton Opening Reception and “Fake News” Lecture

Monday, December 10 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm |

In the last few years, the cry of “fake news” has pervaded America’s public sphere. But it’s important to remember that we are not the first generation of Americans to grapple with this problem – far from it!

To help us open our new exhibit, “Hamilton: His World, His Words, His Hair”, CHS has invited Dr. Robert W.T. Martin of Hamilton College to talk about how the founding generation grappled with the free press.

Please join us from 5:30 – 6:00 pm for the opening reception.  At this time guests can also browse the exhibit, which features artifacts from the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, including a pair of dueling pistols, letters written by Hamilton, and even a lock of Hamilton’s hair.

Dr. Martin’s lecture will begin at 6:00 pm.

Famous founder Alexander Hamilton had his own experiences with “fake news.” On one well-known occasion, he disproved a false report accusing him of insider trading as the first Treasury Secretary by publicly admitting to an extramarital affair. In a lesser-known episode, Hamilton pushed for a legal case — going so far as to appear as a witness – against a printer for republishing a false story claiming Hamilton tried to buy out and thereby silence an opposition newspaper. To make sense of these events, and to help us think through our own responses to fake news, Dr. Martin will explore Hamilton’s — as well as Jefferson’s and Madison’s — evolving theories of freedom of the press.

This program is free and open to the public. To help us serve you better, please RSVP at [email protected] or by calling 860-236-5621 ext. 238.

About our Partners

This program is part of CT Humanities’ year-long exploration, “Fake News: is it Real? Journalism in the Age of Social Media,” and the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The initiative seeks to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry. We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.

Connecticut Humanities, a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, provides opportunities to explore the history, literature and the vibrant culture that make our state, cities and towns attractive places to live and work. Learn more by visiting cthumanities.org.

About the Speaker

Robert W. T. Martin (Ph.D., Minnesota) is Sidney Wertimer Professor of Government at Hamilton College. Professor Martin has published Government by Dissent: Protest and Radical Democratic Thought in the Early American Republic (New York University Press, 2013), The Free and Open Press: The Founding of American Democratic Press Liberty, 1640-1800 (New York University Press, 2001) and (with Douglas Ambrose) The Many Faces of Alexander Hamilton: The Life and Legacy of America’s Most Elusive Founding Father (New York University Press, 2006).  His  work has also appeared in Polity, The Journal of the Early Republic, History of Political Thought and Political Research Quarterly.

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