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View Diary: Book review: Michael Lind's 'Land of Promise' (94 comments)

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  •  It was his one and only real attempt (0+ / 0-)

    to make it happen, and it failed miserably, as it should have. It wasn't one of his finer moments, but given how Jefferson is given a far bigger pass on what I think were indisputably far worse sins (profoundly racist, hypocritical about slavery to say the least, horrible with money especially his creditors', quite likely a rapist, an idiot about economics, and a very dishonest and vicious man who effectively invented the politics of character assassination), I hardly find this to be all that damning of Hamilton in an era where monarchy was not just the norm, but the only thing period. Far more damning was his support, albeit reluctant, of the Alien and Sedition Acts and overt militarism and imperialism (the last of which he shared with Jefferson, albeit in different ways).

    I'll take Hamilton over Jefferson any day. Even the things that one can praise Jefferson for were hardly original, and often preached but not practiced.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 03:55:42 PM PDT

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    •  but ending monarchy (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranton, badger, kaliope, unfangus

      was the entire point, to many. but after throwing out the british, it became clear that some just wanted the same structures, with themselves in charge. certainly, the jeffersonians aren't given a pass for slavery- far from- and franklin and paine were not themselves perfect. but at least they wanted democracy. adams and hamilton wanted financial means tests for both voting and for holding office.

      the point is that hamilton, both politically and economically, was what we now would think of as a typical anti-democratic corporatist republican.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 04:11:52 PM PDT

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      •  Ending tyranny, or abitrary and unchecked (0+ / 0-)

        and uncheckable power, was the point, as any student of the English Civil War and Glorious Revolution knows, which kept a monarch in place but with limited and checked powers, essentially an unelected president for life. The colonial revolutionaries modeled theirs on the English example, going so far as to call themselves Whigs. The colonists were mostly quite content with the monarchy until the mid 1760's, when taxes began to be imposed to pay for the recently ended French and Indian War--which the colonists started.

        And, given that the US president has effectively had monarch-like powers since the start, what's the effective difference, other than term limits?

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:57:12 PM PDT

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        •  not many called themselves whigs (0+ / 0-)

          and many openly sought the end of monarchy. adams and hamilton were excoriated by franklin, paine, jefferson, madison and others, it would seem there was a bit of a debate. and no, the president does not have monarch-like powers, and never has. which was a big part of what the sedition act crisis was all about.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:43:11 PM PDT

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          •  The US president is effectively an elected (0+ / 0-)

            constitutional monarch who's term-limited. It's hardly even a matter of debate. His powers are vast and in many ways uncheckable. He can have people killed at will, start wars and play favorites, and no one can do anything about it. Like all powerful leaders he can overreach and cause a backlash, but the smart ones know where that line is. This had been true of constitutional monarchs for centuries.

            And Jefferson played no role in the constitutional convention.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:45:06 PM PDT

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            •  that's a meaningless statement (0+ / 0-)

              because "constitutional monarch" can mean anything, from holding real political power to holding none at all. and the only thing they all have in common is the lack of term limits and hereditary power. federalists such as adams and hamilton and washington wanted it to be a crime to criticize the president. adams and hamilton also wanted the senate to be for life and hereditary, like the then british house of lords. as vice president, adams was shut down by the senate when he tried to refer to washington as "his majesty." none of this was just accepted as normal. had adams won a second term, this country might not have survived.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:56:33 PM PDT

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              •  I thought it obvious (0+ / 0-)

                that we were referring to the British monarch as the basis for comparison, since as you know it was Hamilton's too. And George III, by abusing his power and losing a major chunk of the British empire as a result, became the last British king to be allowed to do that. And of course it's meaningful unless you think "constitutional" has no meaning. What constitutional monarch has arbitrary power? All of them have limited and defined powers.

                I don't know where you get your idea about the Federalists wanting it to be a crime to criticize the president, unless you're referring to the A&S Acts, which came under Adams, years after the constitutional congress. As for Adams wanting to call Washington "You Majesty", so what? It meant nothing. Pompous, of course, but ultimately of no moment, like standing when the president enters the room (something I dislike).

                Oh please don't tell me you think Jefferson was a great statesman and president. He wrote some great things and was a masterful politician but as an elected leader he was awful, knowing nothing about policy. His policies almost did destroy the US by bringing about and leaving us unprepared for the War of 1812 and ruining the economy. And he was a racist imperialist.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:07:23 PM PDT

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                •  jefferson was a racist slaveowner (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RiveroftheWest

                  that's not exactly a secret. but the a&s acts were supported by the federalists. including hamilton. who wanted the united states to be a hereditary monarchy, and much less of a constitutional one than even adams wanted. and adams wanted a monarchy like the british monarchy, which was still ruled by george iii, his powers not curtailed. which gets back to the original point: hamilton wanted a monarchy, a nobility, an aristocracy, and his version of capitalism was part of that.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 12:08:46 AM PDT

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                  •  You think that the man who wrote 2/3 (0+ / 0-)

                    of the Federalist papers, and along with his main co-author Madison was the primary impetus for convening the constitutional convention, wanted a constitutionally unbound hereditary monarch? That's some pretty strong revisionist history you're pushing there. Proof?

                    Obviously Hamilton wanted a strong president and central government. I think he was right to want it and that Jefferson was wrong to not want it (although of course his warnings were prescient). But to suggest that Hamilton wanted a de facto tyrant is simply without basis.

                    I get it, Jefferson good, Hamilton bad. It's a popular dialectic. But a hugely simplistic and wrong one. Lincoln, TR, FDR and LBJ were Hamiltonians, btw.

                    Read Chernow's bio of him someday. It might change your mind. He was actually quite progressive for his time in many ways.

                    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                    by kovie on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 08:37:14 PM PDT

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