Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Alexander Hamilton

Mac Owens notes that today is Alex Hamilton’s birthday. Doe he like Hamilton? Does he praise him? Well, yes indeed. Mac concludes his good piece like this:

In "Alexander Hamilton: American", Richard Brookhiser makes the case that, of the Founders, only Washington was greater than Hamilton. Because the United States has become such a successful nation, it is sometime easy to forget that it is great only because of the vision, nobility, and virtue of the Founders, none of whom exceeded Hamilton in the possession of these attributes. Hamilton was the sort of man described by the Athenian stranger in Plato’s Laws: "let us all be lovers of victory when it comes to virtue, but without envy. The man of this sort—always competing with himself but never thwarting others with slander—makes nations great."

As Mac writes, Brookhiser’s book is good, and so is Chernow’s wonderful biography. The New York Historical Society’s on Hamilton is pretty good, and will be travelling all year; see "About the Exhibition." I think it is in Columbus, OH, in September, for example.

Discussions - 4 Comments

"virtue of the Founders"...

You mean like owning slaves. Very virtuous.

Or, perhaps rooting natural rights in nature and nature’s God as well as forming a republican government based upon the consent of the government while almost all governments around the world, including Enlightened Europe were monarchies with profound inequalities and class hierarchy. The first comment was right, Peter is a hypocritical hegemon! Actually, if the first commentator could match AH’s genius by penning an argument such as in "Farmer Refuted" at the age of seventeen rather than repeat some simplistic claptrap, I’ll be glad to listen.

Tony,
Excellent rebuttal. Instead of addressing the argument, attack the speaker with an informal fallacy. Well done!

For the record, it is hypocritical to own slaves and talk of "equality", as simple as it may sound.

Happy Birthday Alex. Perhaps it is worth noting (in response to the above)that Hamilton was the most outspoken Abolitionist of our Founders, in part due to his rough upbringing in the Caribbean where he was exposed first-hand to the greatest cruelties ever devised for slaves. Chernow’s book covers this in some detail.

May I add that the correction of error constitutes virtue (individual or collective) to at least the same degree as the avoidance of error?

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