5 to 7pm
“I Expect From What Mr. Hamilton Says”: Intellectual Property in the Federalist Era
Nora Slonimsky, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
While Alexander Hamilton is often associated with regulatory support of manufacturing and commerce, his role as the first known copyright lawyer in the United States remains far more obscure. Looking at Hamilton’s role in Morse v. Reid, I argue that his views on copyright were an element of a broader national debate on the role of intellectual labor and the regulation of the press. In the intersection of cartography, piracy, and political economy, Hamilton and his client, Jedidiah Morse, drew on the historical and legal legacies surrounding intellectual work and the partisan realities of the 1790s to push a very particular vision of how art and technology should function in the new nation.
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