Even as a young boy, Alexander Hamilton always wanted a war.  A war was almost the only path open to him for distinction, given the miserable ignominy of his birth and his circumstances (too dire to go into in a brief post).  He also always wanted to found an empire, which he saw as the path to eternal fame.


But these were far from his only motivations; and although he admired England's government enormously, and thought that Americans were entirely too subservient to the whims of the common people (ouch!), his broad-mindedness, humanism, and willingness to slap around sacred cows are frequently overlooked.  It's his own fault, really; he talked and wrote incessantly, and he seemed blissfully immune to the realization that, say, a four-hour harangue filled with contemptuous rhetoric might actually annoy people every now and then and get them to turn off their ears.

So, plenty of people thought Hamilton was bold enough personally (in fact, staggeringly presumptuous).  But the boldness of his thinking...this they underestimated.  He still gets labeled a conservative for his refusal to reject England and everything about her after the war.  In fact, his views were a mix of what we would call today conservative and liberal (also true of Jefferson).  Take this tidbit from The Federalist Papers:

The world may politically, as well as geographically, be divided into four parts, each having a distinct set of interests.  Unhappily for the other three, Europe, by her arms and by her negotiations, by force and by fraud, has, in different degrees, extended her dominion over them all.  Africa, Asia, and America, have successively felt her domination.  The superiority she has long maintained has tempted her to plume herself as the Mistress of the World, and to consider the rest of mankind as created for her benefit.  Men admired as profound philosophers have, in direct terms, attributed to her inhabitants a physical superiority, and have gravely asserted that all animals, and with them the human species, degenerate in America--that even dogs cease to bark after having breathed awhile in our atmosphere. 

Facts have too long supported these arrogant pretensions of the Europeans.  It belongs to us to vindicate the honor of the human race, and to teach that assuming brother, moderation.





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