Alexander Hamilton’s Liberalism: Distinguishing Fact and Myth

by | Jul 18, 2019 | History

Hamilton is an Enlightened, classical liberal, a more consistent champion of rights and liberty than any other Founder, thus an inspiring model for contemporary friends of liberty.

Alexander Hamilton was America’s most important Founding Father after Washington.

What were the main features of his political economy?

Many Jeffersonian libertarians today deride him as a statist – whether as a “monarchist,” mercantilist, protectionist, nationalist, erector of “central banking,” or proponent of “strong government” – and thus reject him as a proper guide in modern times. Modern liberals concur, but champion Hamilton as an authoritative legitimizer of the mixed-economy corporatist state; yet anti-corporate critics today also associate Hamilton’s approach with “plutocracy.”

In truth Hamilton is an Enlightened, classical liberal, a more consistent champion of rights and liberty than any other Founder, thus an inspiring model for contemporary friends of liberty.

Dr. Salsman is president of InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., an assistant professor of political economy at Duke University and a senior fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. Previously he was an economist at Wainwright Economics, Inc. and a banker at the Bank of New York and Citibank. Dr. Salsman has authored three books: Breaking the Banks: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions (AIER, 1990), Gold and Liberty (AIER, 1995), and The Political Economy of Public Debt: Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017). In 2021 his fourth book – Where Have all the Capitalist Gone? – will be published by the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also author of a dozen chapters and scores of articles. His work has appeared in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, Reason Papers, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Forbes, the Economist, the Financial Post, the Intellectual Activist, and The Objective Standard. Dr. Salsman earned his B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College (1981), his M.A. in economics from New York University (1988), and his Ph.D. in political economy from Duke University (2012). His personal website is richardsalsman.com.

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