The Unfortunate Legacy of an American Megalomaniac
Although they grace the pages of our history books, none of these men has left on America its most lasting political impression. The award for political influence actually goes to a less well-known founder--an openly adulterous big-government megalomaniac. Vestiges of his paw prints--paeans to power mongers throughout 21st century America--are everywhere. For that we are most unfortunate.
His prestige and influence are undergoing an American renaissance. He is worshiped by establishment Progressives and Neo-Conservatives alike.He suggested that the United States be led by a king for life. He is one of Newt Gingrich's biggest heroes. He supported welfare subsidies for big business. He believed that America should become great through imperial conquest. He was a bitter rival of small-government advocate Thomas Jefferson, America's third president.
Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, is much better known than his big-government rival in our history books and our social venues. Yet it is not Jefferson's limited-government view that prevails in America today.
The view of America that prevails in the 21st century is the view of adulterer, power monger, central banker, and would-be king maker--Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, a confidant and aide-de-camp to General George Washington during the American War for Independence, later prevailed over President George Washington not to veto a clearly unconstitutional bill that established the first central bank of the United States. Thus, from the very beginning of our nation, the moneyed interests enjoyed undue influence over the lives of everyday Americans, an unfortunate reality that exists to this day.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that
a wise and frugal Government...shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.Our federal government today does just the opposite. While placing an ever-growing burden of minutiae upon the backs of everyday Americans, our national government often looks the other way when corporate behemoths wreak havoc on the common man. Under the guise of improving society, government takes a substantial portion of today's earned bread, pouring most of it down a bureaucratic rathole.
President George Washington believed that
If...the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation...the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.
Washington's manipulative Treasury secretary, however, believed that the amendment process was far too cumbersome for a government whose supposed "implied powers" meant to him that the government could do whatever it needed, whenever it needed, if it could be even remotely construed to be in the country's "general welfare".
Unfortunately, instead of the limitedly benevolent and otherwise benign government subscribed to by Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and a preponderant majority of America's founders, we have been saddled with the overweening government espoused by Alexander Hamilton.
It's not hard to see why the legacy of a megalomaniac is popular in America today. Other megalomaniacs love an excuse to consolidate their power. Hamilton is their perfect exemplar.
In 1992, columnist George Will wrote
If you seek Hamilton's monument, look around. You are living in it. We honor Jefferson, but live in Hamilton's country, a mighty industrial nation with a strong central government.How unfortunate.