The Presidency and Financial Policy of Alexander Hamilton.

Essay by jn1009University, Bachelor'sA, January 2008

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Alexander Hamilton can be credited with rebuilding the American economic system after the ratification of the Constitution of The United States. As the first Secretary of the Treasury under President Washington, Hamilton faced several pressing challenges during his efforts to place the new republic on firm economic footing. His financial plans would be as revolutionary as they were controversial with several leading revolutionary figures opposed to his proposals. To compound these political difficulties, legal challenges would plague the patriot since the exact powers of the newly formed federal government had yet to be clearly defined in the arena of economics. However, Hamilton believed that swift and drastic action would be needed to abate the economic chaos that threatened the very existence of the United States.

Hamilton attained his position as the Secretary of the Treasury by his close relationship with Washington throughout the revolutionary period. However, his power and influence within the first cabinet was offset by an equally impressive figure, Thomas Jefferson, who was the Secretary of State.

These two figures represented polar opposites on the political spectrum, a fact that caused considerable tension. Hamilton's proposals nearly unilaterally aided the creditors and wealthy within the nation whom he believed to be the economic backbone of the nation, He believed that it was only through them that the nation could establish a vibrant economy. Jefferson held the exact opposite view and believed that the poor and middle class should benefit most form any federal economic reforms.

Hamilton's first act as the Secretary of the Treasury would also be one of his most controversial. In his First Report of Public Credit, delivered January 9th 1790, Hamilton proposed the federal assumption of the State debts that they had incurred throughout the revolution . This debt had a crippling effect upon many of...