« Comments on Diamond, "Why Did Human History Unfold Differently...?" | Main | Comments on Temin "Labor Scarcity" »

August 17, 2007

Comments

Breana Pennington

I find it hard to believe that countless historical accounts regarding Alexander Hamilton’s views of American manufacturing were wrong. However, Nelson gave an extremely compelling argument with detailed examples supporting his view that Hamilton was actually against American manufacturing, not in support of it. I would have liked Nelson to give a more detailed account regarding where the historical view of Hamilton as being the “foremost advocate of American manufacturing” came from. Also, Nelson mentions Hamilton’s support of British manufacturing over American manufacturing, as was seen in Hamilton’s decision to reward defense contracts to British manufacturers. Yet, Nelson doesn’t give detail and supporting data regarding whether or not the British were, at that time, more productive and better qualified than American manufacturers.

Andrea Roland

Coxe's plan still has much relevance today for "securing a market for domestic manufacturers." Three of these we still see actively - government construction of roads, land grants to manufacturers and direct long-term loans (federal or otherwise). We only have to look at the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) of developing countries to see how these play out. The thing missing on Coxe's list is low cost labor but perhaps at the time that was a moot point. Hamilton, on the other hand, seemed to promote the "free market" idea with minimal government subsidies.

Monica Shih

I agree with Andrea; from the evidence that Coxe presents, it seems like Hamilton was a very strong proponent of a laissez-faire free market system. He lowered tariffs and opposed government subsidies, at the expense of national manufacturers. But after reading this article, it's hard to believe that Alexander Hamilton was an ally of American manufacturers. I can understand his desire to minimize government interference in the marketplace but why would he import the frigate-building materials from the British - especially when he himself acknowledged that American sailcloth was superior to that of the British? It doesn't make sense. As a patriotic American citizen, he should have been trying to ensure the growth of domestic markets by giving defense contracts to American manufacturers. Instead, his repeated efforts to create an "Anglo-American bond" between Britain and America alienated many Americans and led to the demise of his political party.

Monica Shih

I agree with Andrea; from the evidence that Coxe presents, it seems like Hamilton was a very strong proponent of a laissez-faire free market system. He lowered tariffs and opposed government subsidies, at the expense of national manufacturers. But after reading this article, it's hard to believe that Alexander Hamilton was an ally of American manufacturers. I can understand his desire to minimize government interference in the marketplace but why would he import the frigate-building materials from the British - especially when he himself acknowledged that American sailcloth was superior to that of the British? It doesn't make sense. As a patriotic American citizen, he should have been trying to ensure the growth of domestic markets by giving defense contracts to American manufacturers. Instead, his repeated efforts to create an "Anglo-American bond" between Britain and America alienated many Americans and led to the demise of his political party.

Monica Shih

I agree with Andrea; from the evidence that Coxe presents, it seems like Hamilton was a very strong proponent of a laissez-faire free market system. He lowered tariffs and opposed government subsidies, at the expense of national manufacturers. But after reading this article, it's hard to believe that Alexander Hamilton was an ally of American manufacturers. I can understand his desire to minimize government interference in the marketplace but why would he import the frigate-building materials from the British - especially when he himself acknowledged that American sailcloth was superior to that of the British? It doesn't make sense. As a patriotic American citizen, he should have been trying to ensure the growth of domestic markets by giving defense contracts to American manufacturers. Instead, his repeated efforts to create an "Anglo-American bond" between Britain and America alienated many Americans and led to the demise of his political party.

Jerry Hong

I agree with Breana. In most of the history books I read, they described Hamilton as a person who helped American manufacturing. However, there are many important points in this article that prove there could be another viewpoint. One thing that I found very interesting is that Hamilton argued for low tariffs not because he wanted to help American manufacturing, but rather because eventually "the need for revenue overrode the demand of protection of manufactures." It seems interesting how history can be viewed in so many different perspectives.

Moreover, the liquor example further proves that Hamilton's loyalties did not lie with the manufactures. He was afraid of making the importers mad, so instead of raising the importing tax, he decides to "temporarily" raise the tax of domestic liquor. To add even more evidence, Hamilton did not want to make Britain mad, so he made a deal with them so that they don't have to pay much importing tax.

Patrick Humphreys

I agree with Breana; I think the article would be more interesting and complete if it contained a more thorough accounting of how Alexander Hamilton earned the title of the “foremost advocate of American manufacturing.” I agree with everyone who has posted so far that Hamilton was not an ally of manufacturing. His actions clearly demonstrate his strong sympathy for importing merchants. Yet, while he might not have intended to help domestic manufacturers his actions did the exact opposite. By keeping tariffs low, he forced American manufacturers to compete in an international market (not always fairly though since the British engaged in dumping) which, as Jared Diamond argues, would have helped them to develop much more quickly than if they were protected by tariffs. This unintended “tough-love” approach might have been the best formula for growth. It is important to still recognize that, intentions aside, not all of Hamilton’s actions benefited manufacturers. His actions of not extending long term credit to manufacturers, not counteracting Britain’s predatory trade practices, and not favoring American manufacturers for government purchases (even when they were superior) certainly did not help manufacturers, but the harm of these actions is far outweighed by the positive benefits of the competition brought about by low tariffs.

Chung Leung

I would be skeptical to make the claim that Alexander Hamilton lowered tariffs because he embraced laissez-faire capitalism. Nelson, being the expert on the subject at hand, never explicitly states this, or even suggests it. Instead, Nelson suggests that the lowered tariff was an aim to promote Anglo-American relationships.

Also consider that The Federalist Party, as opposed to Jefferson's Democratic-Republican, favored a strong centralized government. Hamilton nor his party had any intention of minimilizing government, instead allying it with "monied men."

It appears Hamilton's foremost intentions were national security, ending war debt, and resolving British intentions. American manufacturing took a backseat to this.

Breann Gala

While most the responses on this thread are agreeing with Nelson on how Hamilton hurt the growth of American manufacturers, and while it may be true, there are many factors to such decisions and the larger context. As Nelson writes: “His program for economic stabilization made such an Anglo-American alliance in the ‘best interests of this Country.’ He thus tied his political economy, his party, and the nation itself to the greatest manufacturing power in the world.” Hamilton was a major player in the Federalist party, who often are for strong centralized governments and policies, and this is simply reflected in his long term visions (national banks, ties to the world’s superpower, etc). While manufacturing may have taken the hit temporarily, there are obvious benefits to American politics and economics being tied to Great Britain that may have outweighed the losses taken through manufacturing.

Minna Howell

Nelson's argument seems to convey the fact that although in theory Hamilton supported American manufacturing his priority in attaining enough government revenues trumped any policies he might have made in support of American manufacturing. His discussion of Hamilton's revisions to Coxe's proposals highlights his ineptness to comply with the manufacturers needs as well as his inability to fully comprehend the difficulties they faced. It also appears as though Hamilton classified the American manufacturers as part of the "masses" whereas he classified merchants as "monied men," which partly explains his favoritism towards merchants. I also agree with previous entries that have emphasized Hamilton's laissez-faire attitude and his unwillingness to use protective tariffs for the benefit of manufacturers. His optimism in how tranportation costs and cheaper raw materials provided American manufacturers with a significant advantage quelled any worries he may have had.

Stella Kang

I learned many characteristics of Hamilton through this reading, but as Breana pointed out, it would have made Nelson's argument more complete if he did give some important points about exactly what he was "reexamining" about Hamilton -the other side of the argument.
Nelson discusses the many shortcomings of Hamilton's decisions and the one I found most interesting was the SEUM, which even became a “symbol” for the manufacturers’ opposition towards him. If he had catered to maufacturers’ desires, I wonder if this society would have succeeded in fulfilling its original purposes longer than it did & what kinds of effects it could have had on the economy at large.

Sarah Lim

I was not aware of Hamilton’s stance on manufacturing in America. It is interesting that he says that he is for manufacturing when in fact, many of the things that we was doing was going against the manufacturers in America and he thought of many of them was part of "the masses." Hamilton wanted to make sure that the tariffs for the British did not go up so the dues for the American manufacturers went up. Many opposed Hamilton and it is interesting to see how a whole new political party came to be because of it, the Republican party.

Lauren Tombari

I disagree with many people’s comments that Hamilton supported a laissez-faire free market system. In my opinion, Hamilton was actively influencing the direction of the American political economy. He urged the members of the Constitutional Convention to assume individual states’ debts, which influenced the interest rate and perhaps set the precedent for the modern national debt being such an important economic factor. Hamilton also emphasized having “a stable environment for economic activity and growth” (972). To achieve this stability, he favored the “monied men” rather than the “mass of the people”, who, in his elitist opinion, could not be trusted with either the government or the economy. (Is this very different than today, when government and big business are often entwined (lobbying, favorable tax/tariff policies, etc)?)

His reluctance to “jeopardize the flow of English goods into America” (973) did seem rather confusing to me, especially given that America had just broken its ties to the mother country and wanted to be independent. He could have employed other measures, such as raising tariffs on imports, to raise revenue. However, his policies were consistent with the Federalist Party goal of having a strong central government. Perhaps he believed that friendly relations with Britain, a world leader at the time, would also make America strong by association.

Tushar Kumar

I have to agree with Lauren with a lot of her view points. I really don't think that Hamilton necessarily supported a free market view point. He was elitist in the sense that he believe that the wealthier, better off individuals made better decisions, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that he would let the market go without intervention. I feel like the best way to look at his point of view is that less wealthier people can be less trusted with matters of the economy because they have not been successful.

Matthew Cohen

Hamilton's initial ideas concerning the assumption of the Confederation's debt as well as all war debts by the new Government was a stroke of genius. By forcing all debts to be paid from a single source, Hamilton was essentially suggesting a symbiotic relationship between the new Government and its people. In order for creditors to ensure that they would be repaid for the money they loaned out, they would have to support the government that had assumed the debt, therefore bringing to life Hamilton's vision of debt as a "powerful cement of [the] union." Economically, Hamilton obviously knew what he was doing, he did what he could to continue trade between America and Britain because of how fortuitous it was for both trading partners. However, Hamilton lived in something rather far from an economically utopian society. Smaller American producers who were not members of the upper-class called for protectionism, which was not in America's best interest for the long term, even though it would help it out in the short term. Hamilton had vision, but vision can obviously be marred by the all-to-present reality of human nature.

Tiffany Tam

Although Hamilton is looked at as a beneficiary individual in American history, Nelson does have a point about Hamilton's intentions. It isn't uncommon for the educational system of America to mention all the great things that American leaders have done, but many fail to mention the mistakes as well. This article proves that it is vital that people realize with good also comes bad. Hamilton did many great things, some accidental (lowering taxes to increase the competitive nature of the market) and some intentional.

I thought the issue of Hamilton disregarding "the labor vote" was interesting. He didn't focus on the small businesses which reminds of what America is like today with Wal-Mart etc. It was also interesting to note that he favored the wealthy working class, which is the few against the many and was thought to be unrealistic...I guess getting the majority wasn't important which makes me wonder what he was trying to do.

regardless of his mistakes, he did make a difference ... Nelson thus brought up those mistakes to our attention that is often hidden within American history books etc.

Donovan Rose

Although Hamilton was certainly not the greatest ally with manufacturing, we cannot lose sight of the fact that his low tariffs indirectly could have helped manufacturing and the consumer. By keeping tariffs low, Hamilton forced American manufacturers to compete with global companies, forcing them to use only the best processes and keeping prices low.
Like others have said, I would like to know how he earned the title of “the greatest ally to manufacturing.” Diamond should have given specific instances that earned Hamilton the title. However, his low tariffs encouraged manufacturing growth here and abroad; that is probably what Diamond was referring to.

Michael Tom

I also agree with those who feel that Alexander Hamilton was not an ally of manufacturing. His support for importing merchants really had a negative effect on domestics markets and manufacturers. He definitely was in favor of a strong central government, but he brought about a lot of competition for the American market with the low tariffs.

Jessica Li

Hamilton's philosophical views were apparently paradoxical and far from the reality of his politcal policies. His aim to improve and stabilize the American manufacturing sector, were more detrimental rather than beneficial. Hamilton's economic stabilization program neglected to include American manufactures, and was in fact, an impediment to the growth and development of the industry. His refusal to increase import tariffs as a protectionist measure, had retarded progress and prevented local manufacturing companies from receiving revenues and funds for further investment. Therefore, the interpretation that lowering import tariffs would force American manufactures to innovate better production techniques and processes in order to keep their competitive edge, is an overly optimistic view. How can any company or industry grow without excess and available capital? There were certainly other ways of raising capital, as suggested by Hamilton, but they were proven to be inadequate. Additionally, Hamilton was instrumental in creating a risk culture, where potentional investors chose to invest capital in speculation and land, rather in the manufacturing sector with uncertain prospects.

Andrew Grosshans

Questioning historians’ views of Alexander Hamilton as the “foremost advocate of American manufacturing,” Nelson argues that Hamilton’s desire to maintain good relations with Britain and his attempts to implement only those government policies consistent with his views of political economy led him to endorse policies actually unfavorable to American manufacturing. While specifically supporting his argument that historians’ perception of Hamilton may be flawed, Nelson’s descriptions more generally reveal the extent to which strict adherence to one’s overreaching political platform may prevent leaders from making sound economic decisions like Hamilton’s rejection of Coxe’s proposals.

Edris Boey

I do agree with Andrew Grosshans comment above. I also do think Nelson's arguments about Hamilton's policies regarding American manufacturing are valid. However, I feel that Nelson's criticisms are largely due to hindsight. I believe that during the eighteenth century, Hamilton was writing what he observed given the available resources and henceforth made his report/prediction which seems justified for his time.

Paul Janczyk

It is interesting to examine Hamilton’s intentions in comparison with what is occurring in the United States now. Today we protect both the agricultural and manufacturing pillars as we offer huge subsidies to farmers and still have in place many tariffs to protect manufacturing industries, such as the steel industry (many of whose workers are highly valuable in presidential elections as they are “swing states”), as the United States switches to a predominantly service-based economy. While it seems that Hamilton’s strategy of developing American manufacturing worked in protecting and allowing its emergent manufacturing industry to grow, as America attempts to compete with declining labor costs today and these are serving to offset America’s manufacturing efficiency competitive advantage, we find once again that we are still using tariffs to protect manufacturing even while we promote free trade principles and bully nations to accept free trade agreements globally.

Timothy Wong

I also find it hard to believe that historical accounts of Hamilton's views of American manufacturing were wrong. I had always learned that Hamilton was a strong advocate of American manufacturing, and this is the first article I read that challenges those views. I can somewhat agree in Nelson point that Hamilton didn't impose import taxes in fear of antagonizing importers because Hamilton was a strong supporter of the national government. Hamilton, as a Federalist, tried his best to strengthen the power of the national government and keeping good relations with Britain would aid that idea. He believed that this was a more important concern to America during that time period, and a strong national government would be needed to help fuel and develop America's economy.

Also, Nelson could have given a better detailed argument with more supporting evidence. Although Hamilton only imposed excise taxes on liquor, Nelson doesn't state whether or not the lack of import taxes actually hurt the American manufacturers. He does not state whether or not the British or American manufacturers were being more productive and if it actually affected the economic growth of America.

Anna Romanowska

Nelson’s article is devoted to an extremely important economic issue: should the government be involved in economy by protecting domestic markets and creating regulations, or should it rather limit itself to enforcing contracts and protecting private property so that the free market economy can take its own course. This question was particularly important in the second half of the 18th century when the US economy needed a well-defined strategy of how to become a competitive partner in the international trade. Hamilton seemed to believe in laissez-faire and obtaining goods at cheapest prices. Benefits from foreign imports should, according to him, create enough of capital to boost domestic manufacturing. Unfortunately his expectations didn’t match the reality. His economic policy caused frustration among domestic manufacturers and a large group of merchants. As Nelson presents it, it makes me very suspicious towards Hamilton’s concerns with manufacturers. His rejection of Coxe’s proposals to boost domestic manufacturing by making capital more accessible and by protecting domestic production from foreign imports clearly shows that improving conditions at home was not on his priority list. I wish to see more quantitative evidence showing what would make Hamilton believe that he can get more revenues from trading with Britain rather than from creating strong and competitive industrial sector at home.

Anthony Samkian

This evidence clearly suggests that Hamilton was in fact not the “foremost advocate of American manufacturing” as many history books describe him. Nelson describes Hamilton’s preference of British manufacturing over American manufacturing on numerous accounts. But now I am very curious why other historians consider Hamilton a big supporter of domestic manufacturing and would have liked to see how Nelson deals with their arguments. A lot of people also mentioned that Hamilton lowered tariffs to encourage competition. While lowering tariffs could have stimulated American innovation and ultimately helped American manufacturing to become more competitive, it seems as if that wasn’t Hamilton’s main intention. Nelson explicitly states, however, that Hamilton’s policies were aimed to create a favorable relationship to Great Britain.

Niki Chen

This article really challenged my view that Alexander Hamilton was the supporter of American manufacturing and industries. This is a viewpoint which was hammered into me in grade school but upon reading this article, I was able to develop a more complex view of his image. It seems Hamilton was not responsive to the interests or concerns of American manufacturers, that he was solictious of British trade, and did not understand the labor on which manufacturing rested. He did not support strong protective tariffs which would have allowed American manufacturing to grow, enforced a heavy excise tax on liquor manufacturers, and caused manufacturers to oppose the federalists. Hamilton also overlooked the sailcloth manufacturing to meet government needs, and wrote the report of manufacturers which "reveals a lack of sympathy for the problems of manufacturers and an insensitivity towards the realities that the manufacturers faced." I thought it was very interesting and quite well presented how the paper "distinguished the historical Hamilton from the historian's Hamilton." The viewpoint that Hamilton may not have been all that supportive of American manufacturing interests never really occurred to me before reading this paper.

Erin Trimble

In the study of American economic history, few historians question the image of Alexander Hamilton as one of the primary supporters of American manufacturers. Yet Nelson does just that, challenging those who have labeled Hamilton “the foremost advocate of American manufacturing” by bringing to light the true repercussions of his economic stabilization program. Though Hamilton did make a determined effort to integrate manufacturing into his program through the creation of the SEUM, his unwavering fear of the “masses” and admiration of the British prevented his success. Favoring the wealthy class of merchants, not once did Hamilton directly address the needs of the manufacturers themselves, failing to give them the one thing they wanted most: a strong protective tariff. The result was a growing opposition to Hamilton’s policies, so much so that a new political party, the Republican party, emerged. It makes one wonder how different the story might have been had Hamilton actually catered to the interests of the manufacturing community.

Jeffrey Baker

After reading this piece I am much more aware of Hamilton's failure to protect the American manufactures. Though creating or maintaining a strong bond with that of Britain may have been beneficial during that time Hamilton should have found a different way to bring about such a union. Hamilton should have implemented higher tariffs or subsidy programs to maintain the growth of American manufacturing at the cost of losing some trade and cooperation with Britain. Creating an alliance at the cost of American manufacturing does not make any sense because if we were to ever get on bad terms with Britain it would be much more effective to have a strong American manufacturing base as opposed to being more dependent on trade with Britain.

Kyle Jeffery

Before this article I had little knowledge of the Hamilton's indifference toward American manufacturers and refusal to directly allocate aid to their industry. Hamilton's desire to establish and maintain good relationships with British investors and merchants seems to have occupied more of his thoughts than the benefits of a strong domestic manufacturing industry. His intentions were for the better, but his policies should have changed once is was apparent that "invisible hand" allocation of capitol did not contribute enough to the underfunded manufacturers.

Roxanne Chiu

The article for me was similar to reading a drama. In the sense, Hamilton created an establishment for the “Useful Manufactures” that later trickled into a disaster for the US’s domestic manufacturing development.

The name of the society was very normative. How would one define a merchant’s firm to be “useful”? The usage of such a subjective name is very deceitful to the public. It entails that the SEUM was for the people; however, it alienated public opinion, ignored small-scale manufactures and had “given little help on larger entrepreneurs who needed capital”.

SEUM was the first red flag to indicate Hamilton’s hidden agenda. The Society’s foundation was built upon the funding from “monied people”, and was fueled by their greed to earn marginal revenue on the import-export trade with Britain. Corruption was running the colors off the American flag.

Although, Hamilton and SEUM remain to be a chapter in American Economic History, one has to question if such occurrence would happen in other developing countries. I would like to bring China into the picture. Taking Chinese Econ last semester, many of Hamilton’s actions seem parallel to the rising Chinese import-export trading. This industry is heavily chartered by foreign direct investments (FDIs). As illustrated in the article, foreign investments rewire speculations in funds. Should China place restrictions on this? Or should it impose tariffs to allow the country to utilize its massive manpower to push its manufacturing industry, given that manufacturing is one of China’s top performing industries?

Sumana Maitra

Nelson’s argument seems to be very biased against Hamilton. The article seems to portray Hamilton as a politician with a secret agenda who disregards the interests of the people. Throughout the article, Nelson admits that Madison and other politicians tried to pass certain bills that would tax British goods and each of the bills failed to pass through congress. It shows that people did agree with Hamilton, although the article makes it seem that Hamilton only looked out for the interests of a very small percentage of the population.

Lisa Ott de Bruin

Although I do not think that Nelson succeeded in changing one's idea on Hamilton's role in the development of the American Industry, I think it is interesting that he at least tried to debate this general view. In part I agree with Nelson: Hamilton did not use direct tools such as favorable tariffs, direct loans and grants or internal improvements, to stimulate America's industry. On the other hand, all of these have their drawbacks as well. One should always try to stimulate free trade and tools such as import tariffs, to protect your own production, are dangerous tools that should only be used when there is no alternative.

Secondly, the SEUM and his 'report on Manufactures' were equally beneficial for merchant-creditors and the securities market as for manufacturing. But, this means it was not particularly negative for the manufacturers either and although the SEUM did not work out the way it was intended to, one cannot say that it did not contribute to America's industry. Also, his pro-British foreign policy, was mainly a tool to reduce the government debt and even worked against America's own manufacturers, but here again, Hamilton seems to have had his reasons for this. Moreover, Nelson should have explained better about the effects of the pro-British foreign policy on America's economic growth (see previous poster).

In conclusion, I think it is good to question Hamilton's role but right now I am not yet convinced by Nelson's ideas.

Eric Ritter

I've always been a little confused about Hamilton's influence in the early days of the United States, but reading this article puts a lot of things into perspective. First of all, the fact that he wanted to attract investment from wealthy Americans to pay off the war debt speaks volumes about the society the founding fathers originally created. Our government was absolutely a white male democracy created to remove any barriers to making more money for the wealthiest Americans. Hamilton wanted to limit the role of government in commerce, and Nelson argues that it actually hurt the development of American industry. His refusal to implement protective tariffs demonstrates his belief in the ultimate success of free market economies.

I hope this isn't too late

Richard Park

Nelson’s article discusses the very central theme of government intervention within the U.S. economy. Should free trade be allowed, or is the government benefiting the country by establishing quotas or tariffs. I believe that Hamilton’s actions were deleterious to manufacturing in the US. And also, much of his advocacy seemed to be based upon hidden agendas, and not necessarily for the good of the people.

Huinan Zhang

In my old opinion, Hamilton was a strong advocate of American manufacturing, but I found this article challenges this view and portray him as a politician who does not care about people’s interest. He tried his best to satisfy the interest of the government, and he believed it is the more important thing to America. Even though the article is challenging the old view of Hamilton, I still believe that we should judge historical people by the result they brought in the history rather than what they did.

Chris Schoeneborn

While Nelson's article firmly criticizes Hamilton's financial endeavors during his years as Secretary of the Treasury, he fails to account for underlying reasons for SEUM's financial difficulties. Hamilton's plan to create mechanical power from a waterfall, as well as his other visions for inducing economic prosperity were somewhat ahead of his time. Hamilton did provide a foundation for later cooperation between the government and private companies in pursuing alternative ventures for increasing industrialization in the U.S.

Kristin Rose

I agree with Sumana that this article does seem to be particularly biased against Hamilton. For example, Nelson seems to critique Hamilton's advocacy of low tariffs, which "overrode the demand for protection of manufacturers." Furthermore, Nelson cites Kenyon in saying that Hamilton's policies were instrumental in the extinction of his political party, since his programs favored the wealthy rather than the manufacturers and laborers. I see these as valid critiques of Hamilton, but I am not entirely convinced by Nelson's arguments, since I think that Hamilton's ideas of low tariffs and a free market economy have there merits as well.

Yelena Vinarskiy

Nelson’s article outlines Hamilton’s trade policies with Britain and then concludes that they led to few benefits for American manufacturing. Hamilton’s free market beliefs led him to set up an open trading system with Britain, using the tariffs from trade to finance domestic debts. America may have been trading with the manufacturing capital of the world, but as Nelson shows us, little was actually being done to support domestic manufacturing. In fact, while many American merchants got rich by selling imports of British dumped goods, the Republican Party formed largely as an opposition to Hamilton’s funding practices. Nelson goes so far as to suggest that Hamilton was essentially funding British manufacturing without much concern for what was happening domestically. Some of the comments above raise the point that Hamilton’s reputation as the greatest friend to American manufacturing cannot be completely unfounded. I think that Hamilton faced the trade off between helping domestic manufacturers and free trade with Britain. His intention might not have been to hurt American manufactures, but the consequences of his open trade policies might have indeed done so.

Shuwen (Shirley) Liu

I found this article is very interesting that Nelson gives a very different viewpoint on Hamilton’s achievement in the American manufacturing history compare to other historian. While he is presenting Hamilton’s thoughtful ideas and works during this early democratic period, he is also giving many negative comments on Hamilton’s works. Whether Hamilton’s idea does benefit the American manufacturing history or not, it is all depends on individual’s point of views.

Raymond Kei

Hamilton's idea of political economy is interesting. His favored large property owner and unfavored mass property owner because he believed that it would create public unrest if mass property owners gain substantial economic power. Since the United States government benefited from the tariffs on British goods, Hamilton supported importation of goods from Britain, and the article revealed his real economic motive and his stance on local manufacturers, which is interesting.

Min Park

Alexander Hamilton's policies were geared toward the security of private property and an accessible means of pursuing it. However, would the contemporary government-funded welfare state make Alexander Hamilton turn over in his grave? If we had followed Hamilton's ideas up until this modern age, would we have been able to avoid the massive debts that we have built over the years?

Grace Park

This is a very thought provoking article, because it seems as though it is very contradictory to what we were taught before. It seems as though Hamilton was a benefit to American manufacturing, but this article seems to state otherwise. Even when Hamilton fought for low tariffs, this article made it seem as though it was not for the sake of American manufacturing. Hamilton is obviously shown in a different light than what we were taught before. This makes me think whether the people we studied before in our history books was the exact truth. There are many different sides to everything in history, and this articles shows that there are different opinions to what is known as the "norm".

When it came to dealing with the British, he main goal was not to upset the British. Thus, Britain was able to get a lesser import tax. This shows were Hamilton's views were at. It seems as though it was not for American manufacturing and more on the side of the importers.

The comments to this entry are closed.

From Brad DeLong

Search Brad DeLong's Website

  •  
Brad DeLong's Schedule

About Brad DeLong

Grasping Reality with Both Hands: Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal

Pages