A book you MUST read!

Yesterday, I finished reading "Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry That Forged a Nation" by John Ferling.

If nothing else, the book demonstrates how the intense partisan battles we see today can be traced all the way back to the late 1700s, when the first political parties were formed.

The Federalist Party, which pushed for a strong central government, assumption of war debts, and a national bank, was headed by the first secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Thomas Jefferson, who served as George Washington's first secretary of state (and went on to become the third U.S. president), started the Democratic-Republican Party, which favored states' rights and limited government.

Jefferson and Hamilton clashed inexorably, from the moment they joined Washington's cabinet through the Elections of 1796 and 1800, the latter of which Jefferson won by a whisker.

Most historians agree that Jefferson and Hamilton, for all their differences, remain two of the smartest and shrewdest political powerhouses ever to hold public office.

While Jefferson is best known for writing the Declaration of Independence, Hamilton is associated with the $10 bill and the hit Broadway play. But you'll know a whole lot more about these titans after reading the book, which runs a little over 300 pages.

While Hamilton was shot in an untimely duel with Aaron Burr and died the next day at the age of 49, Jefferson died on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Coincidentally, Jefferson, then 83, died on the same day as fellow founding father John Adams.

But don't take my word for it -- check it out for yourself! Even if you're not a big U.S. history buff, you'll learn how the political bickering we've grown so weary of in the 21st century has been a fixture in politics since a little after the country's founding.

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