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Winner of 2018 History Prize Announced

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  • The Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey has named John Sedgwick the recipient of its 2018 New Jersey History Prize for his book, War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel that Stunned the Nation.

    “I’m grateful and flattered to receive such a grand award from the Society of the Cincinnati,” says Sedgwick. “But of course the true recipient is Alexander Hamilton, the proud president of the Society at the time he died, who fully deserves to be honored at this moment in our nation’s history for his fatal struggle with the protean demagogue of his day, the sly and ever-dangerous Aaron Burr.”

    The Society of the Cincinnati, the oldest hereditary organization in the United States, is comprised of descendants of the officers of the Continental Army, and is organized into thirteen constituent societies representing the original colonies, as well as a French society.

    Since 1980, the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey has made an annual award to a person chosen for “distinguished achievement in advancing the knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of American History.” Preference is given to work on the history of the United States in its Colonial, Revolutionary and Federal periods; and to work done by persons associated with New Jersey institutions or agencies.

    In explaining the selection of War of Two as this year’s winner, Ross W. Maghan, Jr., chairman of the Society’s History Prize Committee, points to Sedgwick’s “extensive knowledge, fine scholarship and great readability,” and describes the author as “an outstanding historian of the early American republic.”

    “We are pleased that John Sedgwick joins a long list of distinguished winners of our History Prize,” says Maghan.

    A Personal Connection

    “Alexander Hamilton’s last letter, the night before he was shot, was sent to Theodore Sedgwick, Speaker of the House,” points out Benjamin C. Frick, President of the New Jersey Society. “John Sedgwick is the great-great-great grandson of Theodore Sedgwick and has written a wonderful description of the ‘battles’ between Hamilton and Burr: ‘Each leveled his pistol at the other, and two blasts sounded, with puffs of smoke, in close succession,’ with Hamilton dying the following day. We are very pleased to award the History Prize to Mr. Sedgwick for his excellent history of the personal conflicts leading up to the final duel.”

    Mr. Sedgwick will be presented with the award at the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey’s annual fall meeting and banquet at the Society of the Cincinnati Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 6th.