Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 11: Hamilton -- Father of Wall Street (Vol. 43, pp. 199-207)

Alexander Hamilton was born this day in 1757, so a reading from "The Federalist" is called for. Surprisingly, there are only two selections from this work in the Harvard Classics, and these are it. He deserves far more than eight pages.

"The vigor of Government is essential to the security of liberty," wrote Hamilton in 1787. In "The Federalist," a series of newspaper articles mostly written by Hamilton, with some pieces penned by James Madison and John Jay, sought to convince readers that the adoption of the framework for a new national government they had just drawn up, the Constitution of the United States, was essential for the survival of the young nation. They believed a strong central government was preferable to the disorganized confederation of 13 states then in existence, and thankfully, they won that argument.

While Hamilton organized the Treasury Department, it is "The Federalist" that stands as his greatest achievement.

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