Tag: Alexander Hamilton

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I’ve become a huge fan of podcasts, or as they say in the craft, “on-demand media.” I subscribe to several, from radio talker Hugh Hewitt’s “The Hughniverse” (his radio show without the commercials) to “What the Hell is Going On” by American Enterprise Institute senior fellows Marc Thiessen and Danielle Pletka. There are others. But […]

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Quote of the Day: Preferring Disgrace to Danger


“The nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master and deserves one.” – Alexander Hamilton

A recent poll revealed if the United States were invaded, 55% of those polled stated they would flee the United States rather than fight to defend it. Naturally, the percentage of those who would flee was greatest among Democrats and lowest among Republicans. (That three-quarters of the Democrats would flee is unsurprising as that party is split 3:1 between grifters and dupes, and grifters always run when their grift ends.) Some people found that discouraging. I did not; rather the opposite. While only 55% staying and fighting might be lower than it was 70 to 50 years ago, it is certainly consistent with historical percentages – and maybe a little higher.

Quote of the Day: On Safetyism


“The nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master and deserves one.” – Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton wrote this in the context of the Quasi-War with France and the Barbary Wars against North African states. A nation unwilling to defend its rights and borders soon gets conquered by foreign states and ends up ruled from afar. Or, having paid the Dane-Geld, discovers they never get rid of the Dane.

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Not nearly as nice as Christmas in July, but here we are. July 15 became Tax Day this year as part of the national panic theater. After all, if the IRS employees were all essential and tax returns absolutely positively had to get through on time, the great shutdown would have been an even more […]

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Framers’ Impeachment Fears Fulfilled, with a Twist


The current attempted coup by the unelected Deep State, now proudly proclaimed by the New York Times and leftist media people, was not anticipated by the framers of the Constitution of the United States.

The behavior now on display in Congress, on the other hand was anticipated and ultimately written off as a necessary risk that could be corrected in short order by the voters either affirming or punishing the legislators. We have this, rather than a parliamentary no-confidence vote because of the eventual balance struck, dividing power across three branches of government and within the legislature between two chambers.

We were on our way to something like a prime minister or very weak executive in the Constitutional Conventionn. Then one man, Gouverneur Morris, came to the floor of the convention and made the case for a truly independent executive.  We know his remarks from Madison’s notes:

ACF Founders Series #3: John Marshall


Historian Richard Brookhiser returns to the podcast for our third conversation on a Founder–in this case, the man most responsible for the Supreme Court–John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice, a log cabin Federalist, a patriotic soldier in the Revolution and a very successful lawyer, who then served in all three branches of government. (You read that right: The first three CJs thought the job wasn’t worth it…) Mr. Brookhiser is just publishing his biography of Marshall, the last of the great Federalists, out the week after the election, so go order it, buy it, read it, and let everyone know! We’ve already covered two great Federalists — Hamilton and Gouverneur Morris — so by now we can show fairly well what it was like to be the first party in government in American history.

Deep Dive on the Declaration of Independence and Its Relevance Today


In honor of Independence Day, for this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast I take a deep dive into the Declaration of Independence, discussing:

  • Its unique place in human history and the cause of freedom
  • The link between natural law and natural rights, faith and freedom
  • The Founders’ emphasis on virtue and morality to sustain a free system of limited government
  • Parallels between the charges laid out against King George III in the Declaration and modern America from the administrative state to sanctuary cities
  • The Founders’ views on slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and failing to live up to the values and principles of the Declaration
  • The imperative to defend liberty against tyranny
  • And much more

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found or download the episode directly here.

ACF Founders Series #1: Hamilton


Friends, I’m pleased to announce yet another series of the American Cinema Foundation movie podcasts. We usually talk about movies–now we’ll be talking about movies yet to be made: About the Founders. Friend of the show Richard Brookhiser has very kindly agreed to do a series of podcasts with me, following his admirable biographies of the Founders. We’re both persuaded by Shelley’s famous word, that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of mankind–and we’d rather some of this poetry deal with the most famous legislators themselves, the Founders. At the same time, America needs a Plutarch and Mr. Brookhiser is doing very well in that role. We start with the most controversial and splendid Founder, adventurous Hamilton, the immigrant patriot.

Quote of the Day: Alexander Hamilton and the Dangers of Dissent


“There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism.” — Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton, one of our great Founders, intended to speak to his contemporaries about the disruption that could happen in his times. But he clearly was warning all of us about the dangers of dissent and rebellion when they disparage the values of this country.

We live in times when Progressivism has poisoned the ideas of liberty, respect for personal freedom and acceptance of free speech. The louder people protest and cry for action, drumming up fear and hate, the more attention they get. They care nothing about this country but only about power and government control. And many of us are beginning to feel helpless against the onslaught, condemning their actions but no longer knowing what to do against their agenda. These are sad and frightening times.

Lionized in print and on theater stages, Alexander Hamilton is a curious bookend for a new president who likewise calls Manhattan home, is steeped in capitalism, and uses the media to joust with his rivals. Elizabeth Cobbs, a Hoover Institution senior fellow and author of The Hamilton Affair: A Novel, separates fact from fiction regarding the famed Founding Father.

Full Faith and Credit?


shutterstock_280678718Why is the United States Government today still considered the finest investment risk in the world? The answer traces to Alexander Hamilton:

In 1789, Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Treasury secretary, faced a dilemma still challenging Congress today. The new nation was deeply in debt, and there was a lack of consensus in Congress about how to pay for it. Of the $75 million total debt, everyone back then agreed that the U.S. had to pay in full the $10 million loans from France and other nations to finance the American Revolution. Otherwise, no nation would ever loan money to the U.S. in an emergency again. More than $44 million, however, was owed to American citizens who had purchased war bonds during the war. Many of the original purchasers of these bonds had died or sold them at a significant discount to wealthy speculators. They had lost confidence in the ability or willingness of the infant nation to pay.


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I’ve been reading the original debate over the Constitution in 1787, and came across this brilliant gem of a quote, from “Federal Farmer” – what Hamilton called the most plausible [series of] arguments against the new government: “It is natural for men, who wish to hasten the adoption of a measure, to tell us, now […]

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Hamilton Was Asking For It


shutterstock_252138229I understand Mona Charen’s outrage at the Treasury Department’s announcement that it will eventually replace — or at least demote — Alexander Hamilton as the face of the ten dollar bill.

The Treasury move certainly fits right into the Obama Administration’s craven “identity politics” strategy, presumably intended to shore up Democratic support among key constituencies. As if the switcheroo wasn’t sufficiently poll-driven to begin with, the clincher of course is that Hamilton will be replaced by a woman to be selected… by popular demand.

But I cannot feel too sorry for Hamilton. The Department of the Treasury is, after all, the House that Hamilton built. No individual is so responsible for consolidating national power over economic affairs as Hamilton. He managed to have the central government assume the states’ debts and then establish a Bank of the United States, despite the utter lack of any constitutional authorization for the federal government to get into the banking business (as James Madison and many others pointed out at the time). He did not manage to wipe out state currency in his lifetime, but his political heirs — the Republicans and erstwhile Whigs who emerged victorious from the Civil War — did so with national currency legislation that taxed state legal tender out of existence. This aspect of Hamilton’s legacy is well documented in Thomas DiLorenzo’s book: Hamilton’s Curse.

Hands Off Hamilton


shutterstock_43324921They’re coming for our money. Ok, that’s nothing new, but this time, the Obama Administration is coming for our $10 bills – the notes graced by the image of Alexander Hamilton. True to the identity politics of the Democratic Party, the Obama Treasury Department has announced that some worthy female will replace Hamilton on the currency.

The sheer arrogance, ignorance, and stupidity of this move are difficult to capture in one column.

Let’s start with stupidity. If there’s one figure whose face arguably does not deserve to adorn the currency, it’s the man on the $20 dollar bill, not the $10. That is Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, adamant opponent of paper currency (!), friend of slave power, and scourge of Native Americans. Who can forget that when the Cherokee appealed their treatment by the state of Georgia to the Supreme Court, and won, that President Jackson refused to enforce the law? Jackson pushed for and signed the Indian Removal Act, which led directly to the forced deportation of nearly 17,000 Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee, and others – known as the Trail of Tears. He was fiercely opposed in this by his predecessor, John Quincy Adams, who took the view (in case you’re tempted to argue that Jackson was only doing what was possible at the time) that Indians should be paid for their land if they wished to sell, and that they should be given the protections of the U.S. Constitution.

4 Things You Didn’t Know About Alexander Hamilton


405px-Alexander_Hamilton_portrait_by_John_Trumbull_1806As you’ve likely heard — including on our own Member Feed — the Department of the Treasury is planning to replace the portrait of Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, very likely with Harriet Tubman’s. All due respect to Mrs. Tubman — who deserves it greatly — but this is an incredible travesty. For all his many faults, Hamilton is one of the most extraordinary members of one of the most extraordinary generations in world history — and a handsome devil at that.

It’s difficult to decide which is more amazing: that Hamilton accomplished so much during his 51 years of life, or that he managed to make it that long before getting himself killed. While many of the incidents of his life are extremely well known — his work as Washington’s aide and spymaster, his contributions to the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, his remarkable and controversial tenure at Treasury, his affair with Maria Reynolds, his battles with Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr — his life also has a lot of chapters that are more obscure. Here are four of them:

Opposition to Slavery

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Saturday my husband and I saw the musical Hamilton, whose book, music and lyrics were written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, author of the Tony award-winning musical In the Heights. I’m sure when it moves to Broadway in August, the ticket prices will unfortunately rise from what they are now at the Public Theater. Our daughter’s boyfriend […]

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Bring Back That Old-Time Elitism


In 1780, François de Barbé Marbois, a French diplomat, sent a series of questions to each of the 13 states. His goal: To compile a report, to be sent back to Paris, on the economic life of the new country. In Virginia, the questions were forwarded to the state’s governor, Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson’s answers were eventually published as Notes on the State of Virginia. Among its most famous passages is Jefferson’s paean to agriculture: