This morning, guest contributor John Massoud published a brilliant article painting Aaron Burr as the first anti-establishment politician. However, I wanted to offer a brief defense of Alexander Hamilton, who is not the Joe Lieberman Democrat John painted him as.
Alexander Hamilton was a bastard. Hamilton rose through the ranks of Washington’s army and increased his political-power based upon his genius, not his family name, or his parents plantation, or his connections with powerful families in England.
Aaron Burr was the grandson of Jonathon Edwards, on his mother’s side, and the son of the President of what would become Princeton University. Hamilton came from nothing. Hamilton had no family in the Continental United States. Hamilton was managing a business at an age when most of us were playing wiffle ball.
Aaron Burr grew up with the Edwards family and was easily and unsurprisingly accepted to Princeton (College of New Jersey). Hamilton was denied a religious education because he was a bastard. For the most part, Hamilton was self-taught and became a lawyer on his own merits.
Hamilton helped captain Washington’s troops, ironically enough, to victory in the Battle of Princeton – all while Aaron Burr was following Benedict Arnold in Quebec. I’m not implying anything…just saying. Hamilton then served on Washington’s staff on a wide variety of both military and non-military matters.
Hamilton was a brilliant diplomat and intelligence analyst, as well as a master of coin and one of the few founding fathers who understood macro-economics. Burr eventually used family connections to get onto Washington’s Staff, but lasted less than a month before returning to the battlefield.
Was Hamilton a man of the people? No he was not. He loathed democracy almost as much as he feared it. In this, yes, he shared a great deal with Washington and Adams, who understood that Democracy was as dangerous a form of tyranny as a monarchy. It is true that Hamilton initially resisted a Constitutional Republic, because he felt that it would be too easily converted into a democracy.
Look around you. Where is our Constitutional Republic? Was Hamilton not right? The Constitutional Republic devolved into what he feared it would. Now, I disagree with a more centralized or authoritarian regime. The fact is, that Americans used the Constitution to unravel the Constitutional Republic at almost every step, leading us into a more Democratic model of governance. Again, how is that working out for us? We didn’t need a different system. We just needed to respect what he had earned in the Revolution, instead of compromising our liberty decade after decade.
Hamilton believed in banks because he believed in capitalization. He understood capitalist system far better than his fellow founders. Heck, the Jeffersonians hated the banks and wanted us to live in a rural utopia – an idealism that almost destroyed us in the War of 1812. Again, Hamilton has proved to be wise beyond his years.
It is absolutely unfair to paint Hamilton as any kind of a Democrat. That is simply not true. Furthermore, Hamilton joined Madison and his good friend John Jay to defend the compromised United States Constitution in the Federalist Papers. Where was Burr?
I love freedom today as much as I ever have, but experience and study have informed me that liberty depends upon a strong Constitutional foundation, the rule of law, the presence of both markets and capitalization, and a strong military. I am federalist. Like Jefferson I believe in State’s Rights, but should the State’s be allowed to legalize slavery or murder? There are limits. We need a strong enough federal government to enforce the federal Constitution – and nothing more.
Hamilton is not what the populists and libertarians make him out to be. Yes, he feared the American people as any wise leader fears the mob. Nietzsche saw the mob for what it was too.
Liberty is not the will of the people.
Liberty is the preservation of our God-Given Inalienable Rights! We can either preserve these through daily violence and force or through a strong Constitutional Republic.
I thank God that Alexander Hamilton was here to help ensure that such a Constitution was given to posterity. Sadly, we did not heed Franklin’s warning, and as Hamilton suspected, this was not a Republic we would keep. We’ve turned to corporatism, oligarchy, and democracy – all abhorrent to a Constitutional Republic.
To Mr. Massoud’s conclusion – Yes, Aaron Burr should be considered a valued member of the Founding Era. However, let us not pretend that he was in the same class as an Alexander Hamilton, who rose from nothing to lead a nation from revolution to liberty.
Ironically, Alexander Hamilton (understanding the devastating effects of debt) advocated for paying off our entire war-debt quickly and in full. This was necessary. However, his decision did lead to the two-party system and the Whiskey Rebellion in Western Pennsylvania. Go Figure.