Skip to comments.The Lesson of Alexander Hamilton
Posted on 05/28/2012 3:36:36 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
How many things are in a person's pocket that they don't even know about?
We take money for granted -- most people can't tell us which way George Washington is facing on the quarter. They can tell us that Ben Franklin is on the front of the hundred, but they can't tell us that Independence Hall (where he helped draft the Constitution) is on the back.
One might think that as denominations get smaller and more common, the pictures on them would become more famous and well-known. The ten-dollar bill features Alexander Hamilton on the front. Since he was never a president himself, one wonders how many Americans could explain how he got on the note. A hint is on the back, where there is a picture of the U.S. Treasury. In short, Alexander Hamilton was the first secretary of the Treasury.
But it was how he handled that position that garnered him immortality on our money.
A lot of people living in the United States in 1790 believed (as a lot of people do today) that the debts incurred during the American Revolution should just be ignored. What modern people would think of as the United States didn't begin until 1789. The debts run up before that time were under a different government, so why should the new government be responsible for that debt?
Alexander Hamilton argued against this.
He believed that the new nation needed a good reputation on the international scene. If the United States was known to honor its debts, it would find it easier to get loans. Hamilton pointed out that this would be especially useful in a national emergency. Moreover, Hamilton wanted the federal government to take up all the state debt as well.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
“Actually, I believe this ordinance applied only to the new territories north of the Ohio, and of course the Northwest Ordinance a few years later did abolish slavery in this area. So I fail to see how the failure of this provision made a bit of difference.”
Your point about failure was irrelevant. The point was that the “parasite” Jefferson was attempting to abolish that which you insinuate he was consuming. It was proof of the misdirection (and canard) of your assertion.
“How were the middle and northern state gentlemen you reference parasites?”
If you read back, I did not reference any “middle state” people as parasites. That was your accusation of Jefferson.
“In what way were they living at ease by the forcible exploitation of others?”
Well, let's see. Over 200 distilleries in those states converting molasses to rum. Dozens of shipbuilders, riggers, docks, Captains and sailors....all involved in the triangle trade....you remember that, don't you?
Oh, and don't forget the insurance agents necessary for the business, as well as the bankers, lawyers, and their politicians.
They sailed to Africa to trade their rum and guns for slaves, slaves for molasses in the Caribbean, and back to Rhode Island, Newport, New York, and Philadelphia to drop off the booty from their trade in humans.
“John Adams was an attorney. Benjamin Franklin was a wealthy retired printer and businessman. Livingston and Sherman were lawyers and politicians.”
Yes, and they voted against making the trade in slaves illegal.
Ever wonder why? (Back up 4 paragraphs and see).
Sometimes it is best not to second guess someone.
Sir, you are too kind.
Actually Jefferson's interest was in liberty and freedom to pursue one’s own avenue to life and happiness. Hamilton's was to use the government, central banking, debt, and trade restrictions to aid some at the expense of others.
Who would think this? None other than the most well recognized economist of the time.
In 1776, Adam Smith, writing in his work Wealth of Nations discussed comparative costs of production of various social systems. Smith insisted that,
“The mercantile system's (that system proposed by Hamilton and his party) ultimate object, however, it pretends, is always the same, to enrich the country by an advantageous balance of trade.
“It cannot be very difficult to determine who have been the contrivers of this whole mercantile system; not the consumers, we may believe, whose interest has been entirely neglected; but the producers, whose interest has been so carefully attended to.”
“And among this latter class our merchants and manufacturers have been by far the principal architects.”
“In the mercantile regulations,...the interest of our manufacturers has been most peculiarly attended to; and the interest, not so much of the consumers, as that of some other sets of producers, has been sacrificed to it.”
Northern manufacturing benefited from the system at the expense of the exporting South.
And Hamilton supported the loss of liberty of the producers of raw materials as well as the consumers to the benefit of the manufacturing owners.
thanks for posting this
"Alexander Hamilton knew that the key to a strong nation is the management and handling of debt. His work not only allowed the United States to pay off the Revolutionary War, but it set the nation on the course to prosperity never seen anywhere else on Earth at any point in history."
Pretty impressive, eh?
Nonsense. The relevant section of the DOI had nothing at all to do with outlawing the slave trade. It merely (less than entirely truthfully) attempted to blame the King for the existence of the slave trade, as if it had been forced on Americans.
Here's the text of his rough draft.
he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it's most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemispere, or to incure miserable death in their transportation hither. this piratical warfare, the opprobium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. [determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold,] he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce [determining to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold]: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he had deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.
It is perhaps relevant that VA, even at this time, was a net exporter of slaves to the deeper south, thus had a financial incentive in restricting the competition of the Atlantic trade. The slave states further south had an entirely different perspective on the trade, which is why the Constitution protected it for 20 years.
Hamilton--a man who argued against slavery, while Jefferson paid lip service to abolition, though supported slavery in fact and in deed. Jefferson always impressed me as the first American limousine liberal.
Hamilton was a self-made man, and believed that helping to create a dynamic economy allowed others to move up. I never got the feeling that TJ felt the same...I could be wrong.
Arguing against 'mercantilism' seems to me to be arguing against capitalism. I think that today's analogous remark would be that not taxing the rich more would 'favor' them over the rest. Bah.
My distinct pleasure.
I went back to college in the '90s to finish my business degree, left dormant 40 years. I was stuck in a class of young things for orientation discussing "style" as it referred to papers, footnotes, end notes, etc. I asked a question, using the word "pedantic" and stopped the class cold. None of those sweet young things knew the meaning, or the usage of the word. LOL.
Thanks for that ping Pharmboy!!
Hamilton's primary effort was to establish a bank of the United States. He temporarily succeeded in 1791.
This national bank was a disaster for the general public, which was everyone in all of the United States.
By its end in 1796, excessive printing and therefore money creation by the Hamilton bank caused an inflation rate of 72 percent .
It became so unpopular that its twenty year charter was not renewed by Congress, which puts the lie to the author's assumption.
Hamilton's bank was fought by many in the government who knew that despite prosperity for a few, allowing him to continue would result in limiting public liberty with debt.
Jefferson was a prime opponent. Eventually it was permanently de-funded by President Andrew Jackson,
“Truth is sincerity; and in all we say and do, we must be sincere. We must not make false impressions, directly or indirectly.
“There are many ways by which we may mislead and deceive others by what we say. Some of the ways are:
1. Saying a thing when we know it is not true.
2. Saying a thing when we do not know whether it is true or not.
“All these are different forms of untruth.”
I think most here would appreciate you being more forthright in your postings.
Madison, who like most southerners who opposed the bank, started the Second Bank during his term, a point you omitted. He did it to stabilize the currency. So, even those against the creation of a central bank eventually saw some good in it.
My pleasure! Always nice to hear from you...
A few years ago I read somewhere that teachers of American history were given curricula that focused on the post Civil War era to The Vietnam era and excluded the Rev. War and the founding.
This was because it was deemed more importent to teach "change" rather than foundation.
It scared me then; it angers me now that i see the result.
The problem during the Articles of Confederation period was Continental Army vets and others that supported that effort were being stiffed. The unanimous actions for paying debts was a big problem. Some states gambled and bought up the worthless debt in exchange for state notes and then the states started stalling.
Shay’s rebellion was largely brought about by debt issues most modern analysis has shown. Hamilton was trying to instill national confidence within as well as outside the nation.
His contribution was tremendous, but his personality as he grew older left him without enough defenders when the Jefferson tactics started.
That is right. But let's get some more facts stated, and then more clear conclusions can be drawn.
President Madison did not “start” the second bank. It was primarily six men who were working diligently on establishing the second Bank of the United States.
These six were financiers John Jacob Astor, David Parish, Stephen Girard, and Jacob Barker. Also there was Alexander Dallas, who would become Secretary of the Treasury in 1814, and Representative John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. These men helped author the bill for the bank that was passed by the Congress.
President Madison did not agree with the initiative and vetoed the bill in 1815.
This combination of businessmen and politicians would not take no for an answer. When Congress reconvened in December 1815, they used a Presidential initiative to bring the bank back up for a vote.
In this next term, President Madison urged Congress to address the question of a uniform currency. State banks had ceased redemption of their notes, mostly because of a lack of gold and silver. Madison felt that the time had come for Congress to introduce the country to a more uniform paper currency. The secretary of the Treasury agreed and in his annual report noted that a national bank would be the best and perhaps the only adequate resource to relieve the country and the government from the present embarrassments.
But when a vote on the bank arose at the end of January 1816, Madison vetoed the bank legislation again.
Taking up the question once again in February, the House of Representatives considered still another bill to create a national bank. Finally, after more debate, the measure passed the House and Senate, with Madison signing the bill this time.
By this time, Madison and the government were no longer faced with war financing, but still had to deal with the issue of establishing a stable currency.
Madison was not a proponent of repaying state debt, but was concerned with currency stabilization.
Absolutely. The depths of the ocean are now known, the depths of human ignorance knows no bounds.