Alexander Hamilton and “Vigorous” Government

The examples studied exhibit a portion of what Alexander Hamilton meant when he wrote and spoke about “vigorous” government. He did not appeal to a ubiquitous national government with tentacles in all aspects of life that invalidated state sovereignty. Reasonably, he spoke for a national government that compensated for human nature and complimented the states. “Complementarity” also signified a check on state power. The accurate purpose of this “vigorous” national government is to preserve permanency and fortune for the citizenry within all states. It would do so by thwarting conflict and turmoil that is larger than one state. A confederacy, under which the United States found itself prior to the Constitution, precludes a “vigorous” national government and would thus be insufficient to respond to intrastate problems or events.

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The rest of my graduate work can be here.

Alexander Hamilton & James Madison

Often neglected amidst this pugilism between American titans is a corollary conflict between Alexander Hamilton and a third titan of American history, though oft overlooked – James Madison. In fact, the rupture between Hamilton and Madison is arguably more significant in that, while Jefferson was the Hamiltonian and Federalist nemesis almost from the beginning, the estrangement between Hamilton and Madison is schismatic in nature (at least from Hamilton’s perspective) and thus personal for Hamilton and there is no disagreement as that between brothers and comrades in arms. This schism turned upon Alexander Hamilton utterly misinterpretating James Madison’s philosophy undergirding the purpose of a powerful national government.

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As always, you can read my graduate work here.

Tale of the Tape: Antifederalists versus Federalists

Antifederalists and Federalists found common cause in comprehending human nature. That said, each faction responded to this comprehension in widely conflicting ways, establishing an unassailable gulf over the vision of America’s future, the scope and scale of the national government, and conceptions of virtue and vice. Where Antifederalists sought to enforce virtue by establishing an Agrarian Nation and providing for increased yeoman membership in the House of Representatives, Federalists preferred to harness the vices in human nature. By exploiting vice, Federalists dreamt of an expansive, diverse, and formidable America that enticed only the best and most deserving into government service.

Read the rest here.

As always, see my graduate work here.

President’s Day

Thomas Kidd has a nice piece on George Washington for his birthday over at The Gospel Coalition:

If Washington’s personal faith remains shadowy, his public employment of religious rhetoric was constant and heartfelt. As the war’s tide turned toward the Americans, despite all the bungling and hardships of the Continental Army, the general became more convinced that God had chosen him as the man to lead America, Moses-like, out of British captivity.

Some might see Washington’s providentialist rhetoric as manipulative, but in Chernow’s biography it seems genuine. The exhausted Washington, presenting his military resignation before Congress at the end of the war, brought the chamber to tears as the insisted that only “a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the union, and the patronage of heaven” sustained him and the army through the hellish war. His voice breaking with emotion, he commended “our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God.”

Read the rest here.