Introduction to Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens by Jonathan Ned Katz

Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens

Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens

The erotics of same-sex intimacy are certainly at issue in these letters, as Hamilton bemoans the lack of "intercourse" with John Laurens, and tells his friend, jokingly, to remind Hamilton's female marriage prospects about the size of his nose (Hamilton's penis). This joke was actually cut out of Hamilton's letters by an early Hamilton family member who was editing them for publication.

In trying to understand and interpret this intimacy and these letters it is well to recall that Hamilton and Laurens inhabited a world not divided between “heterosexual” and “homosexual,” a world in which same-sex love, intimacy, and a touch of the erotic did not make one a "pervert" or "deviant."

Note
Katz's presentation of Hamilton's intimacy with Laurens first appeared in a section on "Love" in Gay American History (1976), a section that claimed the subject of intimacy, as well as sexuality and sex, as central to LGBTQ+ history.