Hamilton versus Jefferson: Commentary, Part 6

Part 5

Part 4

Part 3

Part 2

Part 1

In Part 4 of my review series (although I guess it’s not actually a “review” series) I linked to a Junto blog post that essentially regurgitates the fallacy Alexander Hamilton was beholden to the propertied, moneyed class, and God-forbid an individual be of poor, humble stock.

Really, none of this has any basis in fact and is repeatedly debunked. Why it continues to be thrown around says more about the historians in question than it does about Alexander Hamilton.

Holloway shares further proof in Chapter 4 that Hamilton was his own man, since apparently most historians simply ignore the primary sources that are supposed to be the entire point of the profession.

Elucidating why the Philadelphian Bank of North America was an inappropriate choice for a national bank, Hamilton elucidates that the bank’s charter “improperly subordinated the public good to the private interests of the bank proprietors.” Hamilton was insistent “‘Public utility is more truly the object of public Banks, than private profit.’” As such, “’it is the business of government’ to establish a national bank ‘on such principles’ that private profit will ‘afford competent motives’ for the owners to carry on the bank’s business properly, but without making public utility ‘subservient to it’” (p. 71).

This meant there was nothing immoral, or generally wrong, with the bank’s leadership seeking profit, as far as Hamilton was concerned; the lure of profit is a Judeo-Christian principle and objectively ordered is intrinsically positive. That said, Hamilton also acknowledged profit is not the ultimate end and greed does not trump all. If personal profit was a determinant in some capacity to the common welfare of the country, especially in the “sudden emergencies” Hamilton was wont to worry about, personal profit must lose.

And you thought Hamilton was a tool of the “Wall Street” types.


I’ve changed the title and ceased referring to these posts as “reviews” because they aren’t properly reviews. Instead, I am now calling them “Commentaries.” I will write up a more traditional, summative review once I’ve finished the book.


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