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Did Alexander Hamilton's financial plan put America first?
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It wasn't Hamilton's plan

Hamilton was merely the executor of George Washington's policies. To understand the political and fiscal motives behind the financial plan, one would be better served by examining George Washington's than Hamilton's.
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Hamilton was merely the executor of George Washington’s policies. Therefore, Hamilton’s motives in his plan are irrelevant. Washington’s motives are far more important when considering whether the financial plan submitted to Congress in 1790 and 1791 were designed in the nation’s best interests.

The Argument

George Washington controlled the levers of government. Hamilton, as his long-time ally, ceded to Washington on policy. To understand the motives behind the financial plan, one would be better served to examine George Washington's opining.

Counter arguments

This is not true. There is ample evidence that it was Alexander Hamilton who was the architect of the 1790 and 1791 economic reforms. Firstly, his three reports on public credit, a national bank, and the manufacturing sector were written by Hamilton and contained most of the economic and fiscal policy recommendations that were codified into law. Washington, as the President, would never had had the time to produce these reports. They are also strongly influenced by Hamilton's politics and thinking, particularly his interpretation of the Constitution to allow for the creation of a national bank. Nothing demonstrates Hamilton's central role in devising the financial reforms more than the events of February 1791. Due to Constitutional limitations, George Washington needed to sign the bill creating the first national bank by February 26, 1791. By February 22, the bill had passed through both houses of Congress and was ready to be signed. However, Hamilton's political opponents implored George Washington to veto the bill. They argued that the government had no right to create a national bank under the amendments laid out in the Constitution. Washington gave Hamilton time to respond to the arguments. Hamilton worked relentlessly to address his detractors, arguing that the bank was constitutional because "every power vested in a Government is in its nature sovereign, and includes by force of the term, a right to employ all means requisite and fairly applicable to the attainment of the ends of such power."[1] This episode indicates that the financial plan was Hamilton's brainchild, not George Washington's. He alone was tasked with defending his proposals, even as Washington demurred. Therefore, the answer to whether the American nation was at the heart of the 1790-1791 financial plan lies in Hamilton's motives, not Washington's.


[P1] George Washington was the architect of the financial plan. [P2] Therefore, the question of whether the benefit of the nation was at the heart of the plans lies in Washington's motives.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Washington was not the architect of the plans. Hamilton was.


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019 at 16:52 UTC