Thursday, October 12, 2006

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Neo-con

As anti-democratic scumbags go, neoconservatives have deep roots in American politics. And you thought they were the brain-fevered invention of Francis Fukuyama and Irving Krystal, drip-filtered through the neo-Platonism of Leo Strauss? Hell no; these guys are actually living, breathing monarchist fossils whose real political father in America is none other than Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton was a plotter, would-be military coup d'etat leader, and pre-emptive war monger extraordinaire. XYZ affair? He did it. Theft of presidential elections? Check his ballot-ink-stained hands. Back stabber? Just ask John Quincy Adams.

He may have co-authored the Federalist Papers, but he was also the author of the Federalist party, the forerunner of today's power-hungry Republicans, was a demagogue and a libelist, and an "Angloman," as a monarchist was termed circa 1789.

To verify his creds as a proto-neoconservtive, a simple checklist should suffice:

Hamilton compared with neoconservatives :

Bank of the United States.................IMF, WTO
Pre-emptive war ..............................Check
Authoritarian Executive ....................Check
Standing army ...................................Check
Massive federal debts ......................Check
Excessive military expenditures .......Check
Alien and Sedition Act .......................USA Patriot Act
Quasi-war with France .....................Iraq/Iran/Islam
Invasion of Florida ............................Afghanistan/Iraq

A Jeffersonian in Philidelphia reported early in February [1800] that "at no time ... that I can remember since 1776" have so many concluded that opposition to the national government "is a duty and obedience a crime."

The calendar advances, but a neo-con is still a thug.


Publiuss said...

You forget that Hamilton ghosted Geo. Washington's 'Farewell Address" - hardly a neocon tract. Hamilton was a nationalist, and not a precurser for this empire/ neo-imperialist wave today.

Look to the liberals favorite two-Presidents, Jefferson and Wilson as they Founding Fathers of neoconservative/ libertarianism - not Hamilton.

G. Randy Primm said...

To call Hamilton a nationalist is to misapprehend how the people of the time understood countries and empire.

Nations as such did not exist, nor were they contemplated. The colonial Americans were not attempting to build a "nation' so much as they were trying to separate themselves from arbitrary power as represented by the British monarchy. In terms of how they thought of themselves, they were statists, ie, "Vigrinians," or "New Yorkers," etc.

Hamilton (who was born in the British Carribbean, and thus claimed no ties to any American state) was driven to create an American empire on the British model - which included pre-emptive war against sovreign states - which is the only way people understood political units at the time. Nations and nationalism (the political manifestation within state boundaries encompassing a single tribe or people: nation) were the invention of the Prussians, at a later date and another place. America was not understood to be a "nation" in our modern sense until after the Civil War, when we truly became a homogenous federalized union of separate states. As one writer poetically put it, the United States went from "the United States are" to "the United States is."

Jefferson (who always considered himself a Virginian first and foremost) had visions of a great American empire extending across the whole continent, but only by envisioning the westward extension of states boundaries from one coast to another. His purchase pof the Louisiana Territory was no doubt unconstitutional, but everybody more or less agreed (much later, granted) that it was a hell of a bargain whatever its legality.

Hamilton, by contrast, tried to foment wars of territory, ie, Spanish Florida, with himself as head of state. This is a far cry from the legal purchase of territory from another sovreign state.

on a more personal level, jefferson and Hamilton despised each other for political and personal reasons, which today we can identify as Hamilton's megalomania as opposed to jefferson's egalitarianism.

Publiuss said...

Jefferson was an "eqalitarian"???LOL! Maybe on paper he was but in actuality he was the biggest elitist patrician there was. Need I remind that TJ bought and sold slaves while Hamilton wanted the instition abolished.

Hamilton was far from being an empire builder. He mused attacking S. Florida when it looked as if war with France was imminent(Spain was then in alliance with France) and he wanted to aid Latin America to throw off the yoke of Spain - not have them be part of an American "empire", or to export democracy for the sake alone. After the war fever abated, Hamilton quickly dropped the idea.

Their is no evidence that Hamilton was an imperialist( the man who killed him, Aaron Burr, was - did you confuse the two?) no matter how much the hypocrite Jefferson and his minions tried to paint him as one. Hamilton seen Britain as the lesser of the evils when it came down betwixt them and Jabobite France, which it was.
Hamilton wanted the new Republic that he fought for at Washington's side( while TJ was running from Redcoats in his beloved Virginia; then this "republican" rubbed shoulders with aristocrats in Paris for the Revolutionary War's duration - a chickenhawk) to be as far away from foreign entanglements as possible;if Jefferson would had had his sole say, the USA would had got itself knee deep in the war at France's side and the consequences would had been grim beyond measure.

Hamilton knew that his new nation could only survive with a strong centralized state, internal improvements and economic protection. Jefferson was the feudalist agrarian and Free Trader and if we would had followed his model we would not be discussing this as Americans today.
Your attempt to make Hamilton as a proto-neocon is utterly ridiculous.

G. Randy Primm said...

Alex is a darling of the neo-cons, by their own admission. For a critical view, see here.

The modern Federalist Society (a neoconservative hotbed of ultranationalist intrigue and of which Judge Roberts is a past member) takes its name from Hamilton's Federalist Papers, of course.

They were all imperialists - see my comments above. The point is their methods.

Jefferson might more accurately be described as a "populist."

Any and all arguments about slavery in the colonial/revolutionary period are moot to us; we don't have a clue as to the mental tricks and hoops those guys put themselves through to justify the institution and their relation to it, so your sarcasm is misplaced and uncalled for.