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Alexander Hamilton

Charles A. Conant

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Book Overview: 

Alexander Hamilton was a significant figure in the political and economic development of the early United States. He served in the American Revolutionary War and became an aide to General George Washington. He was one of the authors (along with John Jay and James Madison) of a series of essays know as The Federalist Papers, which were written in support of the ratification of the proposed Constitution. Scholars and others still refer to these essays to this day for interpretation of the Constitution. As the first Secretary of the Treasury in George Washington’s Cabinet, Hamilton was a proponent of a strong centralized government. Hamilton pursued many actions (some controversial) in an attempt to provide financial stability for the new government, including the establishment of the U.S. Mint and a National Bank. Ironically, he may most often be remembered for the infamous pistol duel with Aaron Burr that resulted in Hamilton’s death.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .roject of a general duty on importations, which was finally defeated by the obstinacy of Rhode Island. Such a measure, if carried out, would have afforded the central government a permanent revenue. It would have greatly mitigated the evils of the time, but would perhaps by that very fact have postponed the more complete union of the states which was to come under the Constitution of 1789. This was only one of the many projects germinating in the fertile mind of Hamilton. In a letter to Washington (March 17, 1783) he wrote:—

"We have made considerable progress in[Pg 19] a plan to be recommended to the several states for funding all the public debts, including those of the army, which is certainly the only way to restore public credit and enable us to continue the war by borrowing abroad, if it should be necessary to continue it."

That it might be necessary to continue the war Hamilton seriously feared, in spite of the fact that the provisional tre. . . Read More