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Hamilton’s Curse by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

May 20, 2010 by  

History can be a funny thing. Sometimes the sands of time obscure facts from those with only a passing knowledge of the truth.

So it is with some of the Founding Fathers. As a group they are revered by many for their knowledge, wisdom and forethought. They are seen as selfless defenders of liberty.

But that view is not completely accurate. Take the case of Alexander Hamilton, described by Thomas J. DiLorenzo in Hamilton’s Curse as essentially the anti-Thomas Jefferson—a man who would be pleased with America’s economic system today.

Hamilton’s Curse is not a biography of Hamilton. Rather it describes “his core political and economic ideas; the intellectual, legal, and political battles over those ideas; and the consequences America has suffered since his ideas were implemented,” DiLorenzo writes.

Although he was a principal author of The Federalist Papers and championed the adoption of the United States Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation, he began to work immediately to undermine its tenants as President George Washington’s first Treasury Secretary.

What Hamilton really favored was a strong central government. In fact, as DiLorenzo writes, Hamilton opposed the Articles of Confederation because it did not empower a centralized government. He wanted America to be ruled by a king that would have supreme power over all the people. He favored making the states provinces with governors appointed by—and therefore loyal to—the king.

Under such a regime, all political power in the nation would be exercised by the king and his circle of advisors, which undoubtedly would include Hamilton. Essentially, Hamilton wanted to turn the United States into Britain.

But what Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers sounded quite Jeffersonian, leading many to believe later that he was being less than sincere in the writings, DiLorenzo writes.

“More likely, his writings were intended to goad the public into acquiescing in the adoption of a document that he hoped would become a ‘living constitution,’” according to DiLorenzo. Hamilton later described the Constitution as “a frail and worthless fabric.”

Among the legacies of Hamilton and his acolytes is the idea that the Constitution granted the Federal government “implied powers”—powers that were not actually in the Constitution but that statists like Hamilton wish were there.

He favored a central bank, activist judges and mercantilist system modeled after the British system.

DiLorenzo writes that Hamilton was likely the first to twist the meaning of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, claiming the clause was an all-inclusive term for all commercial activities in society, and therefore that the government had a “right” to regulate and control all commerce—not just trade but intrastate commerce as well.

Hamilton believed “public” debt was a blessing, and he favored high taxes and paying subsidies (corporate welfare) to certain businesses.

While small government advocates in the Jeffersonian tradition won out over the Hamiltonians in the beginning, the Hamiltonians—or nationalists, as DiLorenzo calls them—never relented in their efforts.

Finally, in 1913 with the establishment of the Federal Reserve and the passage of the 16th Amendment (granting the power to lay and collect taxes) and 17th Amendment (changing the way Senators are selected), the Hamiltonian philosophy prevailed.

Hamilton’s economic philosophy is in play today, and is the source of our country’s economic ills. DiLorenzo lays this all out in excellent fashion and peels back the layers of historical revisionism that have lionized Hamilton and others who believed as he did.

DiLorenzo makes an excellent case that if we are to return to the republic the Founding Fathers like Jefferson and James Madison envisioned we must end the Federal Reserve and repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments.

Freedom-loving Americans who are interested in devolving themselves of the glossed-over public school history they learned—and the false history being perpetuated today—must read this book.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American who has been writing a newsletter since 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • Thomas Hamilton

    I am not related to Alexander Levine aka Alexander Hamilton, an agent for the House of Rothschild.

  • s c

    I recommend Hamilton’s Curse to anyone who wants to bone up on America’s winners and losers. While I am tempted to claim that Aaron Burr did America a great favor, his act seems to be something of a curse in itself.
    Most people see Hamilton as an example of America’s unique talent pool. In fact, Hamilton is most responsible for America being saddled with a parasitic central banking system. The one lesson that far too many Americans haven’t yet learned is that when it comes to great leaders and pretenders, it’s deeds and character that matter. Hamilton, while he was very intelligent, might as well have been a spy for the British.
    Jefferson and Hamilton are diametric opposites. Jefferson was a great man. Hamilton was a pretender of the worst sort. His life is a tragic example of why career politicians and ‘illuminated intellect’ are so dangerous in a constitutional republic.

  • http://msn.com Publius says

    While it is true that Hamilton did not believe in this new form of government,( he had doubt that people could self govern, and beleive in what he new; it takes a king to rule ) and that by advocating the constitiution; a force he believed would fail would prove his point, I believe he was used of GOD to bring about the miracle of our country,and in the end recognized it.

    • s c

      Publius, a book titled John Hancock [Merchant King and American Patriot, by Harlow G Unger] will show you why Hancock was such a great (but under-rated) man, while Hamilton was a shill for forces that are still trying to enslave America.
      With all of Hamilton’s intellect, he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) rise above his own self-interest. Hancock was a great man at the right time and in the right place.
      Hamilton should have defected to the British. He would have been more ‘at home’ with them, and his extremely patronizing behavior would have been showered with favors and titles by King George. In some ways, Hamilton makes me think of Bubba Clinton
      (potential intellect for sale, if the money’s ‘right’).

  • Bob Wire

    An old argument and it is what it is. If there was just one person to convince (yourself) the world would be perfect. No?

  • chase

    Who’s side is DiLorenzo on? Jefferson or Hamiliton?

    • s c

      Chase, I can’t speak for Livingston, but it seems safe to say that the author backs Jefferson. Only a progressive would back Hamilton. People who back Hamilton opened the door for people like Herr Obummer to get into politics.
      And, anyone who can’t see Herr Obummer for who and what he is after a year and a half indict themselves as co-conspirators who worship at Hamilton’s altar [and alinsky and marx and lenin, etc.].

  • s c

    Readers [not progressives] might get some more pointers in American Machiavelli [John L Harper,
    Cambridge University Press]. It’s not as easy to read as Hamilton’s Curse, but it makes another strong case for the idea that power MUST be limited, regardless of who’s in the White House (or Congress).

  • Harold

    Power corrupts, absolute power corupts absolutely, once a person gains the White House it begins and the dems support it.

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