Alexander Hamilton: America's Forgotten Founder
Alexander Hamilton: AmericaOCOs Forgotten Founder describes the character and achievements of a man who was instrumental in casting the form of our government and especially its strong financial structure. His financial innovations renewed the public credit when war debts threatened to swamp the fledgling economy, provided a stable currency system and established a federal revenue system. Hamilton s involvement in the foreign affairs of the new republic assured its unity, sovereignty and rapid economic growth. Born in the West Indies, Alexander Hamilton migrated to America when he was fifteen years old, at a time when Colonial America was torn by political unrest with Great Britain. He served in the Revolution as General Washington s chief aide-de-camp and as an officer in combat units. He was a persuasive presence in the Constitutional Convention and helped to lead the subsequent ratification process. Hamilton was a proponent for a strong central government, believing that its direct influence over the people would strengthen the unity of the country. As Secretary of the Treasury, he understood that a strong financial system was essential to provide credibility and economic growth to the new republic. He based his financial plan on the consolidation of the national debt and the adoption of a taxation system to service and retire that debt. He promoted the chartering of the Bank of the United States as the keystone to his financial plan. Arguably the Father of Federalism, Hamilton gave more to the structure and process of the United States government then any other single individual. His opponents, principally the Jeffersonian Republicans, argued for greater sovereignty for state governments and sought to diminish the role of wealth in structuring and operating the financial systems of the country. When it came, the Civil War vindicated Hamilton s politics over Jefferson s view of a more tenuous and tentative union. He authored the lion s share of The Federalist Papers, writings which remain an important guide to the meaning and the intended function of the Constitution today. Regrettably, the hostility of his political opponents has transcended the country s recognition of the debt owed to this man. This work introduces the general reader to some of the challenges and controversies of the early days of the Republic and highlights Hamilton s brilliant contributions to US policy and structure. Hamilton promoted a vigorous national government to create a strong and unified country out of a mixed bag of 13 sovereign states. This book was written for the broad cross-section of American readers, particularly those who, while not having an abiding interest in history, would welcome an interestingly written, brief history of Hamilton s life and the great events surrounding the founding of the nation. The book is also suited for high school and college-level students of US history. Most Americans today have little understanding of the character, the life and accomplishments of Alexander Hamilton, an extraordinary man by any account and an extraordinary American. The current work intends to make his life and accomplishments accessible to a broader public."
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THE FINAL YEARS
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Page 104 - I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.
Page 96 - In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights, to illuminate our understandings...
Page 97 - I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel ; we shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a by-word down to future ages.
Page 99 - Resolved, that each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts; that the national legislature ought to be empowered to enjoy the legislative rights vested in Congress by the Confederation, and moreover to legislate in all cases to which the separate states are incompetent or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation...
Page 97 - I live, the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth, That God governs in the Affairs of Men, — And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid? — We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that except the Lord build the House, they labour in vain that build it.
Page 97 - Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who are engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity.
Page 33 - For the principal aim of society is to protect individuals in the enjoyment of those absolute rights, which were vested in them by the immutable laws of nature...
Page 230 - The liberty of the press consists, in my idea, in publishing the truth, from good motives and for justifiable ends, though it reflect on government, on magistrates, or individuals.
Page 147 - That every power vested in a gov-. eminent is in its nature sovereign, and includes, by force of the term, a right to employ all the means requisite and fairly applicable to the attainment of the ends of such power, and which are not precluded by restrictions and exceptions specified in the Constitution...