Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Apparently I'm a Conservative

I was struck by these statements from a Washington Monthly article on the failure of American Conservativism:
Odd men out in America's liberal political culture, America's conservatives were never very unified. Alexander Hamilton and John Marshall wanted to see a strong national government created to improve America's economic prospects, even if they retained an aristocratic sense that only social superiors should control that government...

This is not beyond the realm of possibility. Conservatives in the American past--not only Hamilton and Marshall, but Daniel Webster and Henry Clay--were in favor of a strong government capable of meeting national objectives.
Hamilton is my favorite Founding Father and who I would say that I most resemble politically. He was not for "small government" or "states rights" as an end in themselves. He noticed that peoples rights demanded a strong central government, not to mention the economic prospects of the young nation.

Hamilton helped build the national infrastructure, encouraging taxes rather than debt to pay for it while many criticized him (ironically, realizing he was right later on). He was one of the more vocal opponenents of slavery of the founding fathers. He argued important cases as an attorney that few would view as "conservative".

If Alexander Hamilton is a big, bad conservative, then perhaps I am too.


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