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#1
Old 04-22-2013, 07:27 PM
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What if Alexander Hamilton had lived?

Let's say there was no duel with Aaron Burr. Hamilton was only 49 when he died in 1804. He was one of the youngest of the Founding Fathers and could have reasonably been expected to outlast all the others. What would have happened if he had lived a long life? Let's say he lived until he was 80 and died in 1835.

Hamilton was politically isolated by the time he died. Would that have continued or could he have rebuilt his influence? His opponents from earlier would have been dying off and Hamilton might have come to be seen as the last remaining member of the original founders. Could he have become a kingmaker, returned to political office, or even become President himself?

Hamilton was one of the strongest advocates of central government power. How would his presence have changed the way the government developed in the early nineteenth century. He was also a strong advocate for a national bank and might have kept that institution alive.
#2
Old 04-22-2013, 08:22 PM
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Then Burr, almost certainly, never would have become King of Mexico!
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:55 PM
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The Federalists had a bit of a resurgence in the 1808 elections using the Embargo Act in much the same way Republicans used Obamacare in 2010. Like the GOP the Federalists didn't have the leadership or charisma needed to make a full recovery. Perhaps someone like Hamilton could have given the Federalists the gravitas needed to retake power (and possibly avoid the War of 1812).
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#4
Old 04-22-2013, 09:00 PM
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I think Hamilton could well have become President.* He had an established record as George Washington's de facto Prime Minister (an achievement denied to all later Treasury Secretaries, AFAIK), he was (part of) Publius, he was on the scene at every scene as the country was put together.

* And, despite having been born in the West Indies, would have been constitutionally eligible. Article Two, Section 1: "No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States." Nobody would have denied one of the Founding Fathers was a citizen-at-the-time, and he certainly had more than 14 years' residency.

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 04-22-2013 at 09:01 PM.
#5
Old 04-22-2013, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Hamilton was one of the strongest advocates of central government power. How would his presence have changed the way the government developed in the early nineteenth century. He was also a strong advocate for a national bank and might have kept that institution alive.
More importantly, Hamilton was an early advocate for industrialization, even if it should require federal "bounties" (subsidies) to infant industries. See his Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures. Hamiltonian-industrial economic policies (so sharply contrasted with Jeffersonian-agrarian) can be seen as a forerunner of the Whigs' later American System (though the latter scrapped "bounties" in favor of a protective tariff). With Hamilton as POTUS, the American industrial revolution might have gotten started decades sooner. And, with a sound national-banking system, "Not Worth a Continental" might have been a phrase too-soon forgotten to figure in "A Christmas Carol."
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
I think Hamilton could well have become President.* He had an established record as George Washington's de facto Prime Minister (an achievement denied to all later Treasury Secretaries, AFAIK), he was (part of) Publius, he was on the scene at every scene as the country was put together.
I think he would have had a shot in 1816. Historically, the Federalist party had pretty much collapsed at this point and didn't even bother to officially nominate a candidate. Those Federalists who were still around mostly voted for Senator Rufus King because he had been the Vice Presidential nominee in previous election. (This was still better than 1820 when nobody besides Monroe decided to run and he was re-elected without any opposition.)

If Hamilton had been around, he could have been building up the Federalist Party during the Jefferson and Madison administrations rather than letting it slide into decline. He would have run a real campaign against Monroe.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:44 PM
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Although his political star was waning at the time of his death because of a sex scandal and some ill-chosen meddling in New York politics, I think he was smart enough, resourceful enough and rich enough to have staged a comeback. It wouldn't have been easy, but I think the Presidency might actually have been within his grasp.

I encourage anyone interested in the man to read Ron Chernow's bio Alexander Hamilton. It's outstanding.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
I encourage anyone interested in the man to read Ron Chernow's bio Alexander Hamilton. It's outstanding.
See also Hamilton's Republic, by Michael Lind (less about the man than what he stood for).
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:25 PM
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If he had lived nothing important would have changed. Federalist ideas wouldn't have magically had electoral appeal early enough for him to have made a difference. British style mercantilism was a tough sell, apparently. His spirit lived on through Clay and later Lincoln, unfortunately.

His ideas were the old ones at the time when compared to Jefferson. This is what people don't understand. People make Jefferson out to be a backwoods hick, but his economics were far more advanced. People like Hamilton now because his (repackaged) ideas have been repackaged over and over since then. The public and economists alike fall for it every time.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
If he had lived nothing important would have changed. Federalist ideas wouldn't have magically had electoral appeal early enough for him to have made a difference. British style mercantilism was a tough sell, apparently. His spirit lived on through Clay and later Lincoln, unfortunately.

His ideas were the old ones at the time when compared to Jefferson. This is what people don't understand. People make Jefferson out to be a backwoods hick, but his economics were far more advanced. People like Hamilton now because his (repackaged) ideas have been repackaged over and over since then. The public and economists alike fall for it every time.
Jefferson was in debt most of his life and always had to be borrowing from other people to stay afloat. Jefferson had theories about how he thought the economy should work but they kept failing when he tried to apply them to the real world. The reason the country returned to Hamilton's ideas was because they actually worked.
#11
Old 04-22-2013, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Jefferson was in debt most of his life and always had to be borrowing from other people to stay afloat. Jefferson had theories about how he thought the economy should work but they kept failing when he tried to apply them to the real world. The reason the country returned to Hamilton's ideas was because they actually worked.
Is that a smear or just a non sequitur? Jefferson's personal finances have nothing to do with his favored economic theories. Are we to take economic advice from rich people only? In any case, as I said before Hamiltons ideas were old European style mercantilism repackaged. Nothing more. Jefferson was more advanced.
#12
Old 04-22-2013, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
If he had lived nothing important would have changed. Federalist ideas wouldn't have magically had electoral appeal early enough for him to have made a difference. British style mercantilism . . .
. . . depends on colonies, which the U.S. at that time had not, and bears no resemblance to Hamilton's economics nor Clay's.

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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
People make Jefferson out to be a backwoods hick, but his economics were far more advanced. People like Hamilton now because his (repackaged) ideas have been repackaged over and over since then.
And always work better than Jefferson's. If he'd had his way, this would still be an agricultural country with negligible industry.

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 04-22-2013 at 11:16 PM.
#13
Old 04-23-2013, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
. . . depends on colonies, which the U.S. at that time had not, and bears no resemblance to Hamilton's economics nor Clay's..
Central bank, crony capitalism, protective tariffs. From Wikipedia:

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Hamilton's "Report on Manufactures" laid forth economic principles rooted in both the Mercantilist System of Elizabeth I's England and the practices of Jean-Baptiste Colbert of France. The principal ideas of the "Report" would later be incorporated into the "American System" program by Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky and his Whig Party. Abraham Lincoln, who called himself a "Henry Clay tariff Whig" during his early years, would later make the principles outlined in the "Report" and furthered by Clay's "American System" program cornerstones, together with opposition to the institution and expansion of slavery, of the fledgling Republican Party.

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And always work better than Jefferson's. If he'd had his way, this would still be an agricultural country with negligible industry
.

Pure speculation. Sound money worked well with an industrialized economy many times in the 1800s.
#14
Old 04-23-2013, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
Pure speculation.
No, sir, it is not. When I say, "If he'd had his way, this would still be an agricultural country with negligible industry," I mean that was exactly and expressly what Thomas Jefferson wanted the U.S. to be for all time -- and, pace Williams Jennings Bryan, that is never the way. The agrarian way, when opposed to the industrial way, is always wrong.

Spoiler alert:

Thomas Jefferson was wrong.

Alexander Hamilton was right.

Always.

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 04-23-2013 at 12:42 AM.
#15
Old 04-23-2013, 12:43 AM
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How about we don't get sidetracked off topic by yet another discussion of imaginary economic and political theories?
#16
Old 04-23-2013, 12:46 AM
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I lean towards free trade and am skeptical of bounties. That said, I can't think offhand of a single major OECD country that industrialized using Laissez Faire principles. That's always been more of a talking point than an actual policy outcome.

The US industrialized behind large tarriff barriers. The Koreans and Japanese had a high degree of state intervention. And, to be clear, many third world countries did much better when they decided to lower tarriffs, invest in education and intervene in the economy with a weak currency policy.
#17
Old 04-23-2013, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
No, sir, it is not. When I say, "If he'd had his way, this would still be an agricultural country with negligible industry," I mean that was exactly and expressly what Thomas Jefferson wanted the U.S. to be for all time -- and, pace Williams Jennings Bryan, that is never the way. The agrarian way, when opposed to the industrial way, is always wrong.

Spoiler alert:

Thomas Jefferson was wrong.

Alexander Hamilton was right.

Always.
William Jennings Bryan was a soft money guy. Grover Cleveland was the Jeffersonian in that battle. Hamilton was a crony capitalist who sought to enrich the monied elites of New England at the expense of exporters in the South.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:09 AM
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How about we don't get sidetracked off topic by yet another discussion of imaginary economic and political theories?
They are not "imaginary." Hamilton had his, and Jefferson had his, and Hamilton was right and Jefferson was wrong.
#19
Old 04-23-2013, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
William Jennings Bryan was a soft money guy. Grover Cleveland was the Jeffersonian in that battle. Hamilton was a crony capitalist who sought to enrich the monied elites of New England at the expense of exporters in the South.
No, sir. Bryan was the agrarian in that battle, and Cleveland was the industrialist in that battle, and Cleveland was right, Bryan wrong. You won't find any reputable modern economist defending Bryan (or Jefferson) in that battle. As for the money thing . . . that curiously seems to change over time. Nowadays, those in the ideological tradition of Bryan tend not to be soft-money inflationist cranks like Bryan was, but deflationist hard-money goldbugs, i.e., even worse cranks. The common Jeffersonian/Jacksonian/Bryanian error there is the economic fallacy of producerism.

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 04-23-2013 at 01:15 AM.
#20
Old 04-23-2013, 01:22 AM
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The Founders, particularly the Virginians, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, et al., equated property, as a moral force, with land. Their views were articulated by John Taylor (1753-1824), like them a Virginia landowner who served in the Senate and published in 1814 a monumental work of 700 pages, An Inquiry in the Principles and Policy of the United States. Taylor distinguished between 'natural' property. such as land, and 'artificial property' created by legal privilege, of which banking wealth was the outstanding example. He saw the right to issue paper money as indirect taxation on the people: 'Taxation, direct or indirect, produced by a paper system in any form, will rob a nation of property without giving it liberty; and by creating and enriching a separate interest, will rob it of liberty without giving it property.' Paper-money banking benefited an artificially created and parasitical financial aristocracy at the expense of the hard-working farmer, and this 'property-transferring policy invariably impoverishes all laboring and productive classes.' He compared this new financial power with the old feudal and ecclesiastical power, with the bankers using 'force, faith and credit' as the two others did religion and feudality. What particularly infuriated Taylor was the horrible slyness with which financiers had invested 'fictitious' property, such as bank-paper and stock, with all the prestige and virtues of 'honest' property.

Taylor's theory was an early version of what was to become known as the 'physical fallacy,' a belief that only those who worked with their hands and brains to raise food or make goods were creating 'real' wealth and that all other forms of economic activity were essentially parasitical. It was commonly held in the early 19th century, and Marx and all his followers fell victim to it. Indeed plenty of people hold it in one form or another today, and whenever its adherents acquire power, or seize it, and put their beliefs into practice, by oppressing the 'parasitical middleman,' poverty invariably follows. Taylor's formulation of this theory fell on particularly rich soil because American farmers in general, and the Southerners and backwoodsmen in particular, already had a paranoid suspicion of the 'money power' dating from colonial times, as we have seen. So Taylor's arguments, suitably vulgarized, became the common coin of the Jeffersonians, later of the Jacksonians and finally of silver-standard Democrats and populists of the late 19th century, who claimed that the American farmer was being 'crucified on a cross of gold.' The persistence of this fallacy in American politics refutes the common assumption that America is resistant to ideology, for if ever there were an ideology it is this farrago.
-- A History of the American People, by Paul Johnson

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 04-23-2013 at 01:26 AM.
#21
Old 04-23-2013, 01:30 AM
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No, sir. Bryan was the agrarian in that battle, and Cleveland was the industrialist in that battle, and Cleveland was right, Bryan wrong. You won't find any reputable modern economist defending Bryan (or Jefferson) in that battle.
I'm confused because you said "no,sir" yet you didn't refute a single claim I made in the post. I said Cleveland was the Jeffersonian. He was for low tariffs, sound money, and laissez-faire policies in general. Bryan was for inflation, prohibition, and an income tax. Which one was the Jeffersonian again?

You're hung up on an agrarian/industrialist dichotomy. As evidenced by Cleveland and the Bourbon democrats, Jefferson's policies were compatible with industrialization, they just don't favor elite industrialists over everyone else like Hamilton did.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:37 AM
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I'm confused because you said "no,sir" yet you didn't refute a single claim I made in the post. I said Cleveland was the Jeffersonian. He was for low tariffs, sound money, and laissez-faire policies in general. Bryan was for inflation, prohibition, and an income tax. Which one was the Jeffersonian again?
Bryan, because he supported policies that were (in his time) good for agriculture, as opposed to those policies that were (in his time) good for industry. And Jefferson was always about agriculture, not so much about laissez-faire as such.

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 04-23-2013 at 01:39 AM.
#23
Old 04-23-2013, 01:40 AM
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You're hung up on an agrarian/industrialist dichotomy.
Because Jefferson was, and so was Hamilton, and how did they glare at each other! That, sir, industry vs. agriculture, and not statism vs. libertarianism, nor elitism vs. democracy, is the Jeffersonian-Hamiltonian dichotomy.

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 04-23-2013 at 01:45 AM.
#24
Old 04-23-2013, 01:50 AM
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The Smithsonian sugested 20 years ago that Hamilton was cheating at duels: that his dualing pistols were cheats, that using them he fired early, and that the secret hair-trigger probably caused him to misfire in his final dual, leading to his death.

Has this entered the American consciousness? Do people consider it significant? Has it been refuted?

I learned about the Hamilton/Burr dual in 4th grade, but that was long ago.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:52 AM
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Has this entered the American consciousness?
Definitely not.
#26
Old 04-23-2013, 01:59 AM
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
-- A History of the American People, by Paul Johnson
... Who had too much time on his hands. This strawman he foists onto Jefferson is silly. Of course he quotes from neither Jefferson, nor Jackson to support his claim.

Jefferson was influenced by classical economists in general but in particular the French "ideologues" such as Jean-Baptiste Say and Deshutt De Tracy (whose work he translated into English) who held a subjective theory of value. This Taylor you quote seems to hold a labor theory of value.
#27
Old 04-23-2013, 02:07 AM
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Bryan, because he supported policies that were (in his time) good for agriculture, as opposed to those policies that were (in his time) good for industry. And Jefferson was always about agriculture, not so much about laissez-faire as such.
Yes, in his personal life he was "about" agriculture. Owning a plantation will do that to a man. As for his economic views, as I mentioned, he was influenced by the classical economists. Are you suggesting that the classical school in more favorable to agriculture than industry?

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Because Jefferson was, and so was Hamilton, and how did they glare at each other! That, sir, industry vs. agriculture, and not statism vs. libertarianism, nor elitism vs. democracy, is the Jeffersonian-Hamiltonian dichotomy.
I disagree.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:47 AM
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Because Jefferson was, and so was Hamilton, and how did they glare at each other! That, sir, industry vs. agriculture, and not statism vs. libertarianism, nor elitism vs. democracy, is the Jeffersonian-Hamiltonian dichotomy.
Cite? That's a number of awfully complex and significant distinctions summarily dismissed, and dismissed solely because you have a political axe to grind. There was a world of difference between Jefferson and Hamilton; neither man was perfect*. Both had good point, and both were men of and ahead of their time.

Jefferson had the greater vision to see that America would be a diverse and expanding nation, one that should eagerly absorb the best of old-world learning as well as developing new insights. He was suspicious and loyal, vain and un-self-conscious, expansively perceptive and narrow-minded all at once. He was THE Man of Contradiction, and his virtues and faults shaped much of the good and bad of the Republic in the years to come. His class of men would provide some of the greatest leaders of the Republic; a class of men imitating their greateness would help start the Civil War. He was largely correct in noting that industrialization was not exactly a great investment in his time; small markets and weak transportation limited it. Only the Transportation Revolution which was only just beginning when he died could change that, and it was only then that industrialization took off. Up until that point, Jefferson was flat correct in believing that the future of the Republic lay in its agrarian base (for three generations past the Revolutionry War).

And we must give Hamilton his due as well. Jefferson was the anti-elitist among the elite. Hamilton was the elitist among the anti-elite, a man whose birth had in n way prepared him for greatness. He rose through society by raw intellect, hard work, and his capability for forming social networks. He was a proponent of proper fiscal body for the nascent United States; he was also a capable politician and able to build significant support for his programs. Hamilton was courageous and often generous as well as a bastard in every sense. He saw that industrial technology would grow and form the basis for vast economic growth, and that America would become the great leader in industry. He was also ahead of his time in most respects and too tied to a narrow section of society, one which wouldn't bear fruit for the rest of us until many decades had passed. He made real mistakes because he wasn't using hindsight, but trying to see what *might* be.



There is no question that these men disagreed and even disliked one another; but there is also no question that America owes both a massive debt. As men, they couldn't magically divine the future and had to use their best judgement. But there is no question that a decent American can be glad we had both, because both had one critical aspect in common: they wanted to strengthen the greatness of America. That should be enough for any critic.



The question of tariffs versus free markets isn't one we're going to resolve now; suffice it to say most economists think that tariffs which form substantial barriers to trade are inefficient in the long run. America may be the exception which proves the rule (in every sense) as the vast internal free market grew to become a larger body than any other nation, all of which had many more internal barriers. Suffice it to say that economics was then in its infancy; it was only really studied as a separate field during the century of the Revolutionary War, and Adam Smith was still new in the day. Those lessons were not absorbed quickly, and even to this day are debated and argued over.

*Because John Adams already took the perfect option.
#29
Old 04-23-2013, 11:00 AM
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I'm a Hamilton man myself, but as it happens, both he and Jefferson are honored by statues in front of the old Cuyahoga County Courthouse in Cleveland, Ohio. It's a nice acknowledgement of their important but very different roles in the early history of the republic:

http://theahi.us/storage/cuy-crthse.jpg
http://davidrehunt.com/Alexander...eland_ohio.jpg
http://0.tqn.com/d/cleveland/1/0/1/D...-jefferson.jpg
#30
Old 04-23-2013, 01:02 PM
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Pure speculation. Sound money worked well with an industrialized economy many times in the 1800s.
It was Hamilton, not Jefferson, who was for sound money. National bank, remember?
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:13 PM
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Can I just point out how quaint it is that Democratic-Republicans and Federalists are still battling it out on the SDMB? I anxiously await contributions from the Whigs and No Nothings.
#32
Old 04-23-2013, 06:52 PM
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Hamilton was politically isolated by the time he died. Would that have continued or could he have rebuilt his influence? His opponents from earlier would have been dying off and Hamilton might have come to be seen as the last remaining member of the original founders. Could he have become a kingmaker, returned to political office, or even become President himself?
I'm not great with historical analysis, but it's worth remembering that Hamilton's main influence was through Washington.

During the war, he was Washington's aide-de-camp where he could demonstrate his intelligence and competence in a strictly non-ideological position. He showed Washington he had what it takes, apparently just doing his job and not making a fuss about his other non-military skills. One of the stories from Washington's grandson is that the General had no idea during the war how capable Hamilton was with finance. He first went to Robert Morris, financier of the Revolution, as his first pick for Treasury. From Chernow's biography of Hamilton:
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“The treasury, Morris, will of course be your berth,” Washington confided. “After your invaluable services as financier of the Revolution, no one can pretend to contest the office of the secretary of the treasury with you.” Citing private reasons—Morris was already lurching down a long, slippery path that led to bankruptcy and debtors’ prison—Morris politely declined the offer.

“But, my dear general,” he reassured Washington, “you will be no loser by my declining the secretaryship of the treasury, for I can recommend to you a far cleverer fellow than I am for your minister of finance in the person of your former aide-decamp, Colonel Hamilton.”

Taken aback, Washington replied, “I always knew Colonel Hamilton to be a man of superior talents, but never supposed that he had any knowledge of finance.”

“He knows everything, sir,” Morris replied. “To a mind like his nothing comes amiss.”
There's another version of the story, very similar, where Washington goes to Morris for advice on the debt, and Morris just plain tells him that Hamilton is the best guy to sort it out. Washington's previous experience with Hamilton sealed the deal. Their long fruitful relationship is how Hamilton had so much influence in the first administration.

But after that, he'd be in power so long that he wasn't truly well-liked by any other large group. Even if he'd lived, I don't think I see him returning to a major office. I think his main strength would have been his personal commentary on the country, not any more public service. He was a great prolific writer, and his perspective could have been compelling and incisive for many years to come, if Burr hadn't shot him.

Last edited by Hellestal; 04-23-2013 at 06:53 PM.
#33
Old 04-24-2013, 12:48 AM
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...I anxiously await contributions from the Whigs and No Nothings.
What, those nihilists? Nah. It's the Know Nothings you've gotta watch out for.
#34
Old 04-24-2013, 01:49 AM
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I'm not great with historical analysis, but it's worth remembering that Hamilton's main influence was through Washington.
A lot of truth to this and the rest of what you said. Hamilton had a big ego that annoyed a lot of people who otherwise might have agreed with his views. A big part of Hamilton's success was due to Washington's willingness to overlook the egotism and let Hamilton get to work. And Hamilton's normal egotism was tempered by his genuine respect for Washington.

This crashed to a halt when Washington retired. Adams and Hamilton were both Federalists but they couldn't work together. Adams had ego issues of his own and wasn't willing to tolerate Hamilton's claims to superiority. Hamilton, for his part, wasn't willing to show President Adams the deference he had shown President Washington. The fight between these two Federalist leaders created an opening for Jefferson and the Democrats to take over.

Potentially, with Washington dead and Adams retired, Hamilton could have become the undisputed leaders of the Federalists if he had lived. Not having to work with a President over his head might have reduced Hamilton's need to argue. With Jefferson, Madison, and the Democrats in power, a living Hamilton could have served as a focal point for opposition to gather around. And his worst enemies would have conceded Hamilton was a smart man; he might have learned his lesson about the problems of internal divisiveness and worked on his people skills.
#35
Old 04-24-2013, 09:27 AM
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A lot of truth to this and the rest of what you said.

[snip]

Adams and Hamilton were both Federalists but they couldn't work together. Adams had ego issues of his own and wasn't willing to tolerate Hamilton's claims to superiority.
Adams could be abrasive himself, but he's almost the dead opposite of an egotist; the problem was that Adams had wide-ranging respect - probably second in national affection after Washington, but unlike Jefferson and Hamilton felt no particular urge to build it into a political movement. Nor did he apparently feel he had any talent for it. Many of the common dirty elements to politics were simply inconceivable to Adams. He was rather unpleasantly shocked as he came to realize the skewed perspectives in newspaper editorials were coming from people he greatly respected; Adams didn't have such minions and never really had that much interest in either popularity or politics.

Hence a lot of the post-Washington quarrel came down to the fact that three men couldn't work together. Adams wanted to stay above it all, even to the point of emulating Washington. He was a Federalist but only marginally. This meant he ended being the giant neon-lit target of both Hamilton and Jefferson, who were aleady constructing nascent political machines, but he had no way to counter their arguments in public. He could make speeches, but they could editorialize.

I think the Adams-Hamilton feud goes much deeper than simple ego on either side. Hamilton was the energetic man of action, always racing ahead; Adams was the relatively sedate man of letters. Hamilton got ahead by constant excitement, raw intellect, and unshakeable will to get anything he needed (money, power, women) for his advancement. Adams got where he did by committed morality, hard work, and carefuly applicaiton of political theory. I don't think it's a stretch to say that Adams and Hamilton were complete and utter opposites.

Quote:
Potentially, with Washington dead and Adams retired, Hamilton could have become the undisputed leaders of the Federalists if he had lived.
Most likely. It wouldn't have been per se a bad thing, and likely would have meant that instead of the Federalists dying out and the Democrats exploding into the Whig/Democrat parties later on (with the Whigs taking up the banner of the Federalists with only a thin coat of paint), you'd have the same people under the Federalist label indefinitely. Perhaps even today.
#36
Old 04-24-2013, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
It was Hamilton, not Jefferson, who was for sound money. National bank, remember?
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
It was Hamilton, not Jefferson, who was for sound money. National bank, remember?
Quote:
The Bank of the United States promptly fulfilled its infla- tionary potential by issuing millions of dollars in paper money and demand deposits, pyramiding on top of $2 million in specie. The Bank of the United States invested heavily in loans to the United States government. In addition to $2 million invested in the assumption of pre-existing long-term debt assumed by the new federal government, the Bank of the United States engaged in massive temporary lending to the government, which reached $6.2 million by 1796.33 The result of the outpouring of credit and paper money by the new Bank of the United States was an inflationary rise in prices. Thus, wholesale prices rose from an index of 85 in 1791 to a peak of 146 in 1796, an increase of 72 percent.34
Sound money isn't usually associated with wildly inflationary central banks.
#37
Old 04-24-2013, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
Adams could be abrasive himself, but he's almost the dead opposite of an egotist; the problem was that Adams had wide-ranging respect - probably second in national affection after Washington, but unlike Jefferson and Hamilton felt no particular urge to build it into a political movement. Nor did he apparently feel he had any talent for it. Many of the common dirty elements to politics were simply inconceivable to Adams. He was rather unpleasantly shocked as he came to realize the skewed perspectives in newspaper editorials were coming from people he greatly respected; Adams didn't have such minions and never really had that much interest in either popularity or politics.

Hence a lot of the post-Washington quarrel came down to the fact that three men couldn't work together. Adams wanted to stay above it all, even to the point of emulating Washington. He was a Federalist but only marginally. This meant he ended being the giant neon-lit target of both Hamilton and Jefferson, who were aleady constructing nascent political machines, but he had no way to counter their arguments in public. He could make speeches, but they could editorialize.

I think the Adams-Hamilton feud goes much deeper than simple ego on either side. Hamilton was the energetic man of action, always racing ahead; Adams was the relatively sedate man of letters. Hamilton got ahead by constant excitement, raw intellect, and unshakeable will to get anything he needed (money, power, women) for his advancement. Adams got where he did by committed morality, hard work, and carefuly applicaiton of political theory. I don't think it's a stretch to say that Adams and Hamilton were complete and utter opposites.
Adams was a very principled man and he often suffered for it. Jefferson and Hamilton often expressed some principle but, as a practical matter, would violate their espoused principle if they felt the situation justified it. Adams, on the other hand, stuck to his principles even when it made his life difficult.

As you not, Adams was a hard working man and he didn't call for public acclaim. But his private papers show that he was bitter over the fact that the public hadn't recognized all his hard work and were giving their acclaim to people that Adams felt had done less than he had.
Quote:
Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
Most likely. It wouldn't have been per se a bad thing, and likely would have meant that instead of the Federalists dying out and the Democrats exploding into the Whig/Democrat parties later on (with the Whigs taking up the banner of the Federalists with only a thin coat of paint), you'd have the same people under the Federalist label indefinitely. Perhaps even today.
A point I've seen made is that the United States didn't really evolve a two-party system until the Jackson era. In the early years, there were political movements but a faction that fell out of power (like the Federalists) would essentially fade away. So you had a political system that effectively functioned as a one-party system.

It wasn't until the Whigs rose up as a party to challenge Jackson's Democrats that an out-of-power party would maintain its existence in opposition to the party in power and an ongoing two-party system emerged.
#38
Old 04-24-2013, 04:35 PM
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Here's one way to think about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Party_System
#39
Old 04-24-2013, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Here's one way to think about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Party_System
Interesting:

Quote:
In an analysis of the contemporary party system, Jefferson wrote on February 12, 1798:

Quote:
Two political Sects have arisen within the U. S. the one believing that the executive is the branch of our government which the most needs support; the other that like the analogous branch in the English Government, it is already too strong for the republican parts of the Constitution; and therefore in equivocal cases they incline to the legislative powers: the former of these are called federalists, sometimes aristocrats or monocrats, and sometimes tories, after the corresponding sect in the English Government of exactly the same definition: the latter are stiled republicans, whigs, jacobins, anarchists, disorganizers, etc. these terms are in familiar use with most persons."[2]
Jefferson characterizes the conflict, not as between the elites and the masses, nor as between centralization and decentralization/states'-rights, nor as between state/community power and individual liberty -- but as between the executive and legislative branches of the federal governement and their respective supporters; and he ascribes an ideological character to that conflict. Even if that was true at the time, nowadays executive-legislative tension has no ideological character, and has not had for well more than a century -- that is, neither party has even in theory any principled commitment to a strong executive or a strong legislature, but simply and always demands more power for whichever branch it happens to control at the moment.
#40
Old 04-24-2013, 06:41 PM
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Keep in mind Jefferson wrote that when Adams was President.

A few years later when Jefferson was President, he sent the navy to the Barbary Coast without Congressional authorization, bought the Louisiana territory despite admitting he had no Constitutional authority to do so, and citing executive privilege in saying that no authority, including Congress or the Supreme Court, could order the President to surrender state papers he felt were confidential.

In other words, Jefferson became a convert to executive power once his party had it.
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