the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Evil and ultimately unnecessary because virtuous

Info icon This preview shows pages 40–42. Sign up to view the full content.

evil and ultimately unnecessary, because virtuous citizens would internalize such a high level of sacrifice to the collective good that all forms of political coercion would prove superfluous. Hamilton unleashed all his political energy against what he regarded as the most seductive delusion generated by the patriotic rhetoric of the American Revolution: We may preach till we are tired of the theme, the necessity of disinterestedness in republics without making a single proselyte…. We might as well reconcile ourselves to the Spartan community of goods and wives, to their iron coin, their long beards, or their black broth; for it is as ridiculous to seek for models in the simple ages of Greece and Rome as it would be to go in quest of them among the Hottentots and Laplanders. 38 A full year before he was elected to the Confederation Congress, then, Hamilton had developed a full- blooded vision of a truly national government to replace the Articles and the basic framework for the argument to justify that change. While Madison was still evolving in a national direction, Hamilton was already there. Part of the reason was his wartime experience, where the inadequacies of the state-based confederation were experienced on a daily basis in the form of periodic starvation and troops without shoes. Part of the reason was that as a recent immigrant with no long-standing loyalty to a particular state, Hamilton had no local or regional allegiance that needed to be overcome. (This was Madison’s problem.) And part of the reason was Hamilton’s distinctive personality, which instinctively regarded halfway measures as mere bromides, incremental acts that defied the aggressive core of his character. Whether Hamilton was charging a British redoubt or arguing about the full meaning of the American Revolution, he had to be out front. Nothing less was psychologically tolerable. This all-or-nothing audacity posed problems, as he quickly learned when taking his seat in the Congress in July 1782. Upon arrival, he submitted a resolution, announcing that “the situation of these
Image of page 40

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

states is in a peculiar manner critical.” The main problem was the mounting debt and, despite heroic efforts by the Financier, the obvious inability of the current government to restore public credit. There was but one answer, the resolution concluded, and that was to call a constitutional convention “to revise and amend the confederation.” The delegates in the Congress promptly and without debate sent the resolution to a committee, which just as promptly buried it in a pile of papers, never to be seen again. Political combat, it turned out, was not like charging a redoubt, because a leader could get too far ahead of his constituents. This was a problem that would haunt Hamilton throughout the decade, for he was so far ahead of public opinion that his views were often discounted or ignored altogether.
Image of page 41
Image of page 42
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.
  • Fall '16
  • Chemistry, pH, American Revolution, Second Continental Congress, American Revolution, Continental Army

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern