Hamilton's Role in Effecting the New Nation of America Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Revolutionary Character

Alexander Hamilton was the prototypical opportunist of the American Revolution: of obscure and humble origins, he longed for an escape from his lowly rank as accountant and, as Wood (2006) notes, it was "war" that Hamilton believed would provide just such an escape (p. 124). Hamilton's revolutionary character was found in this desire for opportunity out of crisis and displayed the future maxim of Rahm Emmanuel, "Let no good crisis go to waste," in a manner that suggests that Hamilton is indeed the progenitor of a centralized, fascistic government headed by a financial sector that has less interest in democratic ideals than it does in the control and steering of a new empire. This paper will explore the theme set out by Wood (2006) that shows how Alexander Hamilton was a revolutionary character whose special talents lay in the direction of fostering a new nation that could be effectively governed by powerful scions and members of the banking sector.

The overall theme identified by Wood (2006) in the chapter entitled "Alexander Hamilton and the Making of the Fiscal-Military State" is that Hamilton played a particularly useful revolutionary role in terms of connecting the dots between Washington's military leadership and the leadership of the financial elites of Wall Street, where so many memorable historical moments arose, such as Washington's oath of office in 1789 and the vote on the Bill of Rights. Hamilton served as the connecting link between Wall Street influence and the office of the President, playing fast and loose with the legislative body of government in terms of financial and centralizing principles.

As Woods (2006) highlights in one of the more important sub-themes of the chapter, Hamilton was the perfect sort of revolutionary for the upcoming American titans (he married into just such a family): eager, impassioned, skillful in rhetoric, and learned in numbers and Judaic ethics (he attended Hebrew school in the Caribbean), Hamilton represented all the qualities of an aspiring youngster in a new nation coming to terms with itself and the opportunities that presented themselves. First, as a lawyer, then as a Treasury Secretary, Hamilton showed a remarkable ability to sway public opinion so as to consolidate power in the hands of a private sector. Thus, while Washington was engaged in foreign and military matters, he gave his Treasury Secretary a free hand to pursue the nation's financial matters, of which Washington knew very little. So just as Washington served the revolution in terms of being a man of action, Hamilton served the revolution in terms of being a man of finance.

Another important sub-theme is that Hamilton's support of a strong centralized government put him at odds with Thomas Jefferson (Roark, Johnson, Cohen, Stage, Hartmann, 2012), whom Woods (2006) states has been canonized in a sense in recent times as a supporter of small government. Yet, small government was not part of Hamilton's thinking or of his revolutionary training: he was educated with a marketplace mentality, and with the Revolution (American and French) came a new financial power that descended straight down from the House of Rothschild and nestled firmly in the type of government that Hamilton sought to erect.

That Hamilton saw opportunity in crisis is no surprise considering his sense of the revolutionary times all around him. His ability to draw attention to himself by describing in vivid details a hurricane that had come through the West Indies won for him the support of some wealthy patrons who sent him to New York for further education before putting him into their service (Wood, 2006, p.…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Roark, J., Johnson, M., Cohen, P., Stage, S., Hartmann, S. (2012). The American

Promise. NY: St. Martin's.

Wood, G. (2006). Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different. UK:

Penguin Books.

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