Hamilton's Curse: How Jefferson's Arch Enemy Betrayed the American Revolution - And What It Means for Americans Today

Overview

Two of the most influential figures in American history. Two opposing political philosophies. Two radically different visions for America.

Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton were without question two of the most important Founding Fathers. They were also the fiercest of rivals. Of these two political titans, it is Jefferson—–the revered author of the Declaration of Independence and our third president—–who is better remembered today. But in fact it is Hamilton’s political ...

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Overview

Two of the most influential figures in American history. Two opposing political philosophies. Two radically different visions for America.

Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton were without question two of the most important Founding Fathers. They were also the fiercest of rivals. Of these two political titans, it is Jefferson—–the revered author of the Declaration of Independence and our third president—–who is better remembered today. But in fact it is Hamilton’s political legacy that has triumphed—–a legacy that has subverted the Constitution and transformed the federal government into the very leviathan state that our forefathers fought against in the American Revolution.

How did we go from the Jeffersonian ideal of limited government to the bloated imperialist system of Hamilton’s design? Acclaimed economic historian Thomas J. DiLorenzo provides the troubling answer in Hamilton’s Curse.

DiLorenzo reveals how Hamilton, first as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and later as the nation’s first and most influential treasury secretary, masterfully promoted an agenda of nationalist glory and interventionist economics—–core beliefs that did not die with Hamilton in his fatal duel with Aaron Burr. Carried on through his political heirs, the Hamiltonian legacy:

• Wrested control into the hands of the federal government by inventing the myth of the Constitution’s “implied powers”
• Established the imperial presidency (Hamilton himself proposed a permanent president—–in other words, a king)
• Devised a national banking system that imposes boom-and-bust cycles on the American economy
• Saddled Americans with a massive national debt and oppressive taxation
• Inflated the role of the federal courts in order to eviscerate individual liberties and state sovereignty
• Pushed economic policies that lined the pockets of the wealthy and created a government system built on graft, spoils, and patronage
• Transformed state governments from Jeffersonian bulwarks of liberty to beggars for federal crumbs

By debunking the Hamiltonian myths perpetuated in recent admiring biographies, DiLorenzo exposes an uncomfortable truth: The American people are no longer the masters of their government but its servants. Only by restoring a system based on Jeffersonian ideals can Hamilton’s curse be lifted, at last.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Recent scholarship has lauded Alexander Hamilton as one of the most important and influential of the Founding Fathers. DiLorenzo (economics, Loyola Coll.; Lincoln Unmasked) sets out to challenge this assumption in a revisionist examination of Hamilton's political and economic ideas. Writing from the perspective of a Jeffersonian, DiLorenzo makes the case that Hamiltonian concepts have been directly responsible for such perceived ills as a big, corrupt, unwieldy federal government; the boom-bust economic cycle; overtaxation; national debt; American hegemony; and an incestuous relationship between big business and big government. Specifically, he blames the Hamiltonian philosophies of a strong central government, a state-run bank, protectionist trade policies, government-subsidized industries, and centralized economic planning. DiLorenzo argues that these policies are in direct opposition to the intent of the American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution, which sought to limit the control of a central government in favor of personal liberties and states' rights. Controversial and provocative; recommended to public and undergraduate libraries for its alternative view of Hamilton from the image in popular biographies such as Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton.
—Robert Flatley

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307382856
  • Publisher: Crown Religion/Business/Forum
  • Publication date: 12/8/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 547,860
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction The Real Hamilton 1

Ch. 1 The Rousseau of the Right 9

Ch. 2 Public Blessing or National Curse? 38

Ch. 3 Hamilton's Bank Job 58

Ch. 4 Hamilton's Disciple: How John Marshall Subverted the Constitution 78

Ch. 5 The Founding Father of Crony Capitalism 99

Ch. 6 Hamiltonian Hegemony 123

Ch. 7 The Hamiltonian Revolution of 1913 150

Ch. 8 The Poisoned Fruits of "Hamilton's Republic" 171

Conclusion: Ending the Curse 196

Notes 211

Index 235

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