Thursday, June 30, 2011

And with my inaugural post... a due memorial to the great Gen. Alexander Hamilton

Damas y Caballeros, welcome to The Incisive Meditations of Publius. The title, as you might have guessed, is a tribute to Alexander Hamilton, arguably the most important founding father of these United States of America, and possibly the greatest mind this nation has ever produced. The nom de plume, "Publius", was shared by James Madison, John Jay, and most prominently, Alexander Hamilton in the authoring of the famous and ever-influential Federalist Papers. Of these 85 historic essays, Gen. Hamilton is credited with penning 51 of them. With this in mind, it is my distinct honor to take upon this pen name for myself. However, instead of trying to convince a fledgling nation to accept a new form of  government, I will be about the business of persuading the masses to think a little more like me, for what it's worth. And I think it's worth something.  

But, enough about me, for now. As mentioned, this being the inaugural post of this blog, I would like to speak very briefly about the great services rendered and legacy left behind by Gen. Alexander Hamilton, if for no other purpose than because his praises are not sung enough. Hamilton was born a very poor child in the British West Indies, his father deserting him and his mother passing away before the age of 13 (for our purposes, his true age debated). From these humble beginnings, he went on to become the most influential man in the President Washington's Administration, and arguably the most powerful. The quintessential American story, in stark contrast to many of his political rivals, who were of the privileged, aristocratic, land-owning (and slave-owning) class.

Hamilton's special combination of natural brilliance, thorough education, manic energy, inflexible certainty in his ideas, and his obsessive drive to see them become reality led to one of the most impressive and important periods in our nation's development. It is because of this remarkable performance in leadership and industry that Gen. Hamilton is considered by many historians as "The Father of the Federal  Government", and rightfully so. Unfortunately, he is often  maligned by the more benighted among us, but what they fail to realize is that without Hamilton's work, we would probably been returned to the status of British subjects following the War of 1812. Of course, we would have eventually severed ties again, but it would have been a massive inconvenience!  

 "Hamilton is really a colossus...Without numbers, he is a host within himself.

- Thomas Jefferson

In any case, it is clear that Hamilton's vision of the United States was the one that later materialized, rather than Jefferson's hopes that we would become one continental union of slave-owning farmers. Stupid Jefferson. You figure with him owning over 300 people, he would have leisure time to do a little homework! Speaking on the subject, I do find Hamilton's clever jab at Jefferson and Madison (supposed champions of individual liberty) rather amusing: "As to the negroes, you must be tender upon the subject … Who talk most about liberty and equality? Is it not those who hold the Bill of Rights in one hand and a whip for affrighted slaves in the other?" 

Ouch. There is much more to Mr. Hamilton's story, accomplishments, and legacy than I can ever do proper justice in a single blog. Indeed, why say more when someone has already done it better? With that in mind, I will provide links that will direct you to a two-part editorial, giving you a much better account of why Alexander Hamilton should be your favorite Founding Father. This blog is dedicated to your memory, Gen. Hamilton. The United States is forever in your debt (no pun intended).

"The Case for  Alexander Hamilton" parts I and II, written ever-so-eloquently by Andreas Kluth, contributor to The Economist. Enjoy, and learn something!:

The Case for Alexander Hamilton, Pt. I

The Case for Alexander Hamilton, Pt. II