Alexander Hamilton

November 11, 1998
One of the positive aspects of the president's scandal, is that it has forced political commentators and historians to go back and look at the record of past presidents. We are finding that "not all presidents did it" and we are also finding that when they did, they were honest and forthright. Consider the case of Alexander Hamilton.

Alexander Hamilton's affair with Mrs. Reynolds was fully explained at the time by Hamilton himself and wouldn't have even have been a big issue if it weren't for the fact that her husband James Reynolds tried to blackmail the first Secretary of the Treasury.

Apparently Colonel Reynolds and his wife worked to trap Hamilton in an affair and then extort money from him. When the plot was uncovered and Hamilton was confronted by a group of congressmen lead by James Monroe, he truthfully told them of the Reynold's attempt to blackmail him. Once they were told the truth, and realized that no public funds were ever in jeopardy, they dropped the investigation.

Nothing further was said about the incident until an unscrupulous editor publicized the event for partisan purposes. Hamilton responded by publishing a forthright account of what took place. One historian later said, "It was an amazing performance. Never in American history, has a public man showed greater candor."

And that's really the point. Hamilton did not lie. He did not try to cover up. He did not ask cabinet members to lie for him. When confronted, he admitted the affair and offered a complete and public account of his actions.

For months we have heard what I call the "they all do it" defense. What we have found is that most did not do it, and those that did we usually honest and forthright. My, how times have changed.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International