In this episode of Constitutionally Speaking, Jay and Luke discuss the views of Alexander Hamilton. Like James Madison, Hamilton was deeply concerned about the problem of factionalism, but his solutions were radically different. Reflecting his longstanding familiarity with world trade, Hamilton was extremely interested in the role public finance might play in unifying and strengthening the nation. From a constitutional perspective, Hamilton thought that the best way to harmonize the various forces in society was to imbue government with a “high tone,” elevating the best characters to public office, and then liberating them to do what the public interest required. In particular, he thought an energetic executive branch was essential to good government, and was eager to empower the president to distribute patronage. Madison, on the other hand, believed that such executive interference in legislative affairs was a corruption of republican government, a disagreement that contributed to the nasty political battles of the 1790s.
- Alexander Hamilton, “The Farmer Refuted” (February 23, 1774)
- Alexander Hamilton, “Publius #1” (October 16, 1778)
- Alexander Hamilton, “The Continentalist, No. 1” (July 12, 1781)
- Alexander Hamilton, Plan of Government (June 18, 1787)
- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 11 and 12 (November 1787)