Before Jeff Bezos, Alexander Hamilton Outsmarted His Blackmailers with the Reynolds PamphletBreaking News
tags: political history, Jeff Bezos, Alexander Hamilton
In an extraordinarily personal blog post published on Medium last night, Jeff Bezos claimed that the National Enquirer blackmailed him in order to block his investigation into how the paper obtained personal texts and photos related to his relationship with Lauren Sanchez.
The content of the post certainly makes for an interesting news cycle, but Bezos is hardly the first to expose his blackmailers. In fact, the American history of "out-extorting your extorter" goes back to the Founding Fathers.
In 1797, Alexander Hamilton published what became known as the Reynolds Pamphlet, a detailed, salacious history of his one-year affair with a married woman named Maria Reynolds, which took place in 1791 when Hamilton was the secretary of the treasury.
When Maria's husband, James Reynolds, discovered her extramarital romance, he blackmailed Hamilton to keep the affair a secret, but allowed it to continue.
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