Alexander Hamilton just might be my favorite character in colonial/American history. I know that sounds like sacrilege, and i don't pretend that he is not the most influential mercantilist in the last 230 years. I often see however, especially in libertarian circles, Hamilton getting the short end of the stick.
Hamilton was as Rothbard puts it "Morris' Disciple", but really more of a stern Ideologue than anything else. He really believed what he preached, looking at the British empire as a huge success and something to model the new government after. He may have been a staunch statist, but was no crony. At the end of the day, I do not blame him for his short-comings. Remember, it is only with the hindsight of American history, that we are able to see, so clearly, the abject failure of his vision.
Hamilton did however have alternate contributions that are overlooked, and took stands on positions his anti-federalist counterparts. Don't forget, Jefferson envisioned a land holding aristocracy, advocated freehold suffrage and compulsory public education, was pro-slavery and was a tax and spend liberal while in office. A statist through and through.
It wasn't until Rothbard that I discover a political and economic theorist that I thought came even close to perfect. Even Rothbard's positions do not come without inconsistency. This really further illustrates the point. We should not characterize a man based on a few of his positions. The positions is what is to be judged, the man should not be.
Back to Hamilton. He has a life story that is extremely fascinating. From his childhood in the Caribbean, his time in the military as a colonel, and personal aide to Washington. He was uncompromising, passionate, and an astute intellectual. He believed in meritocracy, and was a fierce opponent of slavery. He believed in industry. His protectionist nature was rooted in strengthening the economic structure of the "Nation" rather than protecting a few industries for personal gain.
Sorry for the rant. I don't believe that Hamilton was good for the country, but it does help put some history in perspective. I wish that the man had the work of the Austrians to go on. If he had been on the side of liberty, I firmly believe that we would have gotten the freedom mankind deserves. If anything can be said about Hamilton, He earned what he got, and got whatever he wanted.
Maybe I am wrong about him. Maybe he was just a crony. I haven't found it in the research but it may well be there.
I recommend Chernow's Biography. It is a biased apology for certain, but extremely well researched and written. It pears into his nature and development. If you can forgive him his legacy, you will thoroughly enjoy it. At worst you will have more ammunition to attack people like me with. Either way, recommending it is the least I can do for your kindness. One good turn deserves another.
I sent you my contact information. I am grateful. By your recommendation, I will probably have my kids read it after I am done. And by the way, it doesn't bother me in the least. It would if I felt like I had somehow deceitfully manipulated you into doing it. I didn't. Your actions are yours, completely voluntary.
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