Remember that before him, all the examples to work with were mercantilism. There was no Austrian school of economics. If one really looks at it in comparison to what went before, it was a step in a reasonable direction. As much as I love to hate Hamilton(mainly for his later military ambitions), I am not sure there would have been modern Austrian economics if he had followed the likes of the mercantilists before him; they would not have had the American example to use.
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