On this episode of the AEI Events Podcast, AEI’s Jay Cost discusses his new book “The Price of Greatness: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the Creation of American Oligarchy” (Basic Books, 2018) with Stephen Knott of the United States Naval War College and Luke Thompson of Applecart.

Cost argues that Madison’s and Hamilton’s rivaling republicanism and nationalism can inform our understanding of today’s politics. Madison was for too long written off as Jefferson’s lieutenant. He and Hamilton have only recently come into public focus, and, for Dr. Cost, their unique relationship — first allies, then political enemies — warranted investigation into their rivaling ideologies in the US liberal constitutional regime.

Knott discusses early nationalism’s continental education of parochial early Americans. Thompson furthered Knott’s points by relating Hamilton’s theories to Madison’s extended republic solution to the problem of faction. Cost critiques Hamilton’s thought, noting that his strong economics were politically limited by his patrician focus on and faith in the wealthy. He reviews Madison’s valuable critiques of Hamilton’s prescient vision, arguing for shared legitimacy rather than a right-or-wrong approach.

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