Affairs of Honor by Professor Joanne B. Freeman
National Politics in the New Republic

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews



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 honour. In the absence of a party system and with few examples to guide America's experiment in republican governance, the rituals and rhetoric of honour provided ground rules for political combat. Gossip, print warfare, and duelling 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 honour, 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.

About Professor Joanne B. Freeman

See more books from this Author
Joanne B. Freeman is assistant 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.
Published August 11, 2001 by Yale University Press. 400 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Crafts, Hobbies & Home. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Affairs of Honor

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

“There was an emotional logic to [early politicians’] actions and reactions that is apparent only in the context of their time,” Freeman notes, adding, “Of course, logical decisions can be bad decisions.” Among the many she chronicles are the vicious wars Thomas Jefferson waged in print on his ma...

| Read Full Review of Affairs of Honor: National Po...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

This study illuminates the founders, but it also promises to reshape the way historians think about politics, which in their time, contends Freeman (an assistant professor of history at Yale), was girded by the notion of honor—"reputation with a moral dimension and an elite cast."

| Read Full Review of Affairs of Honor: National Po...


If you are looking for a book that dives into early American political history from a different viewpoint than you get with most books, then you might be interested in Joanne B.

| Read Full Review of Affairs of Honor: National Po...

Project MUSE

The first chapter establishes the centrality of personal reputation in the conduct of politics, arguing that instead of taking place in a "bubble of ideology," "the national political game" focused on "[o]btaining, maintaining, and attacking reputations" (59).

| Read Full Review of Affairs of Honor: National Po...

Reader Rating for Affairs of Honor

An aggregated and normalized score based on 27 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review