Hamilton and the National Debt

By George Rogers Taylor | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

THE importance of national fiscal policy is attested by its significant role in many of the great crises of history. Merely to mention the Puritan, French, and American Revolutions is to bring to mind crucial issues involving budgets, debts, and taxes. Nor is it surprising to find that the most critical issue facing the new government of the United States during Washington's first administration was the financial one. This volume is devoted to the struggle arising out of Hamilton's proposals for dealing with the national debt.

In the narrow sense, public finance has to do with such technical matters as bonds (or stocks as they were called in Hamilton's time), interest rates, taxes, and sinking funds. But it is primarily with the larger implications of Hamilton's fiscal program that this volume is concerned -- the philosophy underlying his measures and their impact on the social, economic, and political structure of society. However, to provide a reasonable acquaintance with the more technical aspects of the program and a necessary background for an understanding of the issues involved the first selection in this volume is from Shultz and Caine Financial Development of the United States.

The three great state papers of Alexander Hamilton were his reports on Publick Credit ( January 9, 1790), on A National Bank ( December 13, 1790), and on Manufactures ( December 5, 1791). These along with his recommendations for an excise, a mint, and a sinking fund comprehend the main items in his program for the new republic. The first of his reports, that on the Publick Credit, is, except for its more technical parts, reproduced in this volume. It contains the core of his program and for it he musters his most persuasive arguments. This report precipitated a great national contest out of which were born the Federalist and Anti-Federalist parties. After a prolonged struggle the recommendations for funding the federal debt and assuming the state debts received congressional approval. The companion measures, those for an excise, establishing a national bank, and establishing a sinking fund, were adopted against dogged, but on the whole less persistent, opposition.

The hotly contested battle precipitated by Hamilton Report on the Publick Credit echoed within Washington's cabinet, in both Houses of Congress, in the public prints, and in drawing rooms and grog shops throughout the republic. The principals participating in this struggle were the giants of their day. On the one side were the Federalist leaders. At their head stood Hamilton, the leader who so dominated governmental policy during Washington's first administration that he functioned more nearly like a prime minister than has any other cabinet officer in all American history. To call the role of his chief sup-

-v-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Hamilton and the National Debt
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents ix
  • The Clash of Issues xi
  • William J. Shultz and M. R. Caine: Federalist Finance 1
  • The Debate in the United States House of Representatives 8
  • Hamilton in His Own Defense 64
  • Suggestions for Additional Reading 107
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 108

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.