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Alexander Hamilton

Data di nascita: 11. Gennaio 1757
Data di morte: 12. Luglio 1804
Altri nomi: Ալեքսանդր Համիլթոն

Alexander Hamilton è stato un politico, generale ed economista statunitense.

Ritenuto uno dei Padri fondatori degli Stati Uniti, fu il primo Segretario al Tesoro della nuova nazione americana. Ritratto sul biglietto da dieci dollari, è uno dei due personaggi, assieme a Benjamin Franklin, ad avere il privilegio di apparire su una banconota comune, pur non essendo stato Presidente degli Stati Uniti. Wikipedia

Lavori

Il Federalista
Alexander Hamilton

„Il sovrapporsi e il saldarsi della volontà dell'esecutivo con quella di un parlamento sottomesso, determina la fine della democrazia e la tirannia della maggioranza.“

—  Alexander Hamilton

1787; citato in Furio Colombo, Cittadini ancora uno sforzo – l'Unità, 4 giugno 2006

„Non è prudente demandare i poteri che dovrebbero spettare all'Unione ad organi che non possono essere continuamente e precisamente controllati.“

—  Alexander Hamilton, Il Federalista

da Osservazioni generali sulla Costituzione, Federalista, n. 84; in Antologia degli scritti politici, p. 144

„Un debito nazionale, se non è eccessivo, potrebbe essere per noi una benedizione nazionale.“

—  Alexander Hamilton

da Lettera a Robert Morris, 30 aprile 1781

„[Sulla recente costituzione degli Stati Uniti] Un pasticcio che non ha alcuna possibilità di durare.“

—  Alexander Hamilton

Ultime parole famose
Citato in Focus N.137, p. 134

„I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man. The result of the deliberations of all collective bodies must necessarily be a compound, as well of the errors and prejudices, as of the good sense and wisdom, of the individuals of whom they are composed.“

—  Alexander Hamilton, Il Federalista

No. 85
The Federalist Papers (1787–1788)
Contesto: I should esteem it the extreme of imprudence to prolong the precarious state of our national affairs, and to expose the Union to the jeopardy of successive experiments, in the chimerical pursuit of a perfect plan. I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man. The result of the deliberations of all collective bodies must necessarily be a compound, as well of the errors and prejudices, as of the good sense and wisdom, of the individuals of whom they are composed.

„I have studied it, and I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.“

—  Alexander Hamilton

John Church Hamilton, History of the republic of the United States of America: as traced in the writings of Alexander Hamilton and of his cotemporaries, v. 7 p. 790. John Church Hamilton was Alexander Hamilton's son. He gives his source for the first quotation as the Reminiscences of General Morton, but gives no source for the second.
Attributed
Contesto: It was the tendency to infidelity he saw so rife that led him often to declare in the social circle his estimate of Christian truth. “I have examined carefully,” he said to a friend from his boyhood, “the evidence of the Christian religion; and, if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity, I should unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor.” To another person, he observed, “I have studied it, and I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.”

„In what can it be so useful, as in prompting and improving the efforts of industry?“

—  Alexander Hamilton, Report on Manufactures

Report on Manufactures (1791)
Contesto: In countries where there is great private wealth, much may be effected by the voluntary contributions of patriotic individuals; but in a community situated like that of the United States, the public purse must supply the deficiency of private resource. In what can it be so useful, as in prompting and improving the efforts of industry?

„Your people, sir,—your people is a great beast!“

—  Alexander Hamilton

Memoir of Theophilus Parsons (1859), pp. 109-110
Attributed
Contesto: One gentleman, whose name I never heard, was an earnest “friend of the people,” and descanted with much enthusiasm upon the glorious future then opening upon this new-born nation, and predicted the perpetuity of our institutions, from the purity and intelligence of the people, their freedom from interest or prejudice, their enlightened love of liberty, &c, &c. Alexander Hamilton was among the guests; and, his patience being somewhat exhausted, he replied with much emphasis, striking his hand upon the table, “Your people, sir,—your people is a great beast!” I have this anecdote from a friend, to whom it was related by one who was a guest at the table. After-dinner utterances have little value, unless, perhaps, their very levity makes them good indicators of the wind. We do not know the qualifying words which may have followed, or the tone and manner of that which was, perhaps, in part or in the whole, a jest.

„Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.“

—  Alexander Hamilton, Il Federalista

No. 29
The Federalist Papers (1787–1788)
Contesto: A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.

„This idea of an opposition between those two interests is the common error of the early periods of every country, but experience gradually dissipates it.“

—  Alexander Hamilton, Report on Manufactures

Report on Manufactures (1791)
Contesto: It is not uncommon to meet with an opinion that though the promoting of manufactures may be the interest of a part of the Union, it is contrary to that of another part. The Northern & Southern regions are sometimes represented as having adverse interests in this respect. Those are called Manufacturing, these Agricultural states; and a species of opposition is imagined to subsist between the Manufacturing and Agricultural interests. This idea of an opposition between those two interests is the common error of the early periods of every country, but experience gradually dissipates it. Indeed they are perceived so often to succour and to befriend each other, that they come at length to be considered as one. (...) Perhaps the superior steadiness of the demand of a domestic market for the surplus produce of the soil, is alone a convincing argument of its truth.

„In such a position of things, the United States cannot exchange with Europe on equal terms,“

—  Alexander Hamilton, Report on Manufactures

Report on Manufactures (1791)
Contesto: If the system of perfect liberty to industry and commerce were the prevailing system of nations, the arguments which dissuade a country in the predicament of the United States, from the zealous pursuits of manufactures would doubtless have great force. (...) But the system which has been mentioned, is far from characterising the general policy of Nations. The prevalent one has been regulated by an opposite spirit. The consequence of it is, that the United States are to a certain extent in the situation of a country precluded from foreign Commerce. They can indeed, without difficulty obtain from abroad the manufactured supplies, of which they are in want; but they experience numerous and very injurious impediments to the emission and vent of their own commodities. (...) In such a position of things, the United States cannot exchange with Europe on equal terms, and the want of reciprocity would render them the victim of a system, which should induce them to confine their views to Agriculture and refrain from Manufactures. A constant and increasing necessity, on their part, for the commodities of Europe, and only a partial and occasional demand for their own, in return, could not but expose them to a state of impoverishment, compared with the opulence to which their political and natural advantages authorise them to aspire.

„To avoid an arbitrary discretion in the Courts, it is indispensable that they should be bound down by strict rules and precedents, which serve to define and point out their duty in every particular case that comes before them; and it will readily be conceived from the variety of controversies which grow out of the folly and wickedness of mankind, that the records of those precedents must unavoidably swell to a very considerable bulk, and must demand long and laborious study to acquire a competent knowledge of them. Hence it is, that there can be but few men in the society, who will have sufficient skill in the laws to qualify them for the stations of Judges.“

—  Alexander Hamilton, Il Federalista

No. 78
The Federalist Papers (1787–1788)
Contesto: There is yet a further and a weightier reason for the permanency of the Judicial offices, which is deducible from the nature of the qualifications they require. It has been frequently remarked, with great propriety, that a voluminous code of laws is one of the inconveniences necessarily connected with the advantages of a free Government. To avoid an arbitrary discretion in the Courts, it is indispensable that they should be bound down by strict rules and precedents, which serve to define and point out their duty in every particular case that comes before them; and it will readily be conceived from the variety of controversies which grow out of the folly and wickedness of mankind, that the records of those precedents must unavoidably swell to a very considerable bulk, and must demand long and laborious study to acquire a competent knowledge of them. Hence it is, that there can be but few men in the society, who will have sufficient skill in the laws to qualify them for the stations of Judges. And making the proper deductions for the ordinary depravity of human nature, the number must be still smaller of those who unite the requisite integrity with the requisite knowledge. These considerations apprize us, that the Government can have no great option between fit characters; and that a temporary duration in office, which would naturally discourage such characters from quitting a lucrative line of practice to accept a seat on the Bench, would have a tendency to throw the administration of justice into hands less able, and less well qualified, to conduct it with utility and dignity.

„War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war a physical force is to be created, and it is the executive will which is to direct it. In war the public treasures are to be unlocked, and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them. In war the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed. It is in war, finally, that laurels are to be gathered, and it is the executive brow they are to encircle. The strongest passions, and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venial love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.“

—  Alexander Hamilton

Chapter: Helvidius Number IV http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1910&chapter=112553&layout=html&Itemid=27 in: The Pacificus-Helvidius Debates of 1793-1794: Toward the Completion of the American Founding, edited with and Introduction by Morton J. Frisch (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007)
Contesto: In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department. Beside the objection to such a mixture of heterogeneous powers: the trust and the temptation would be too great for any one man: not such as nature may offer as the prodigy of many centuries, but such as may be expected in the ordinary successions of magistracy. War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war a physical force is to be created, and it is the executive will which is to direct it. In war the public treasures are to be unlocked, and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them. In war the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed. It is in war, finally, that laurels are to be gathered, and it is the executive brow they are to encircle. The strongest passions, and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venial love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.

„A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it.“

—  Alexander Hamilton, Il Federalista

No. 29
The Federalist Papers (1787–1788)
Contesto: A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.

„Courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the People and the Legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the Courts. A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the Judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular Act proceeding from the Legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two“

—  Alexander Hamilton, Il Federalista

No. 78
The Federalist Papers (1787–1788)
Contesto: There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No Legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the Representatives of the People are superior to the People themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid. If it be said that the Legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers, and that the construction they put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments, it may be answered, that this cannot be the natural presumption, where it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution. It is not otherwise to be supposed, that the Constitution could intend to enable the Representatives of the People to substitute their will to that of their constituents. It is far more rational to suppose, that the Courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the People and the Legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the Courts. A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the Judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular Act proceeding from the Legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the People to the intention of their agents. Nor does this conclusion by any means suppose a superiority of the Judicial to the Legislative power. It only supposes that the power of the People is superior to both; and that where the will of the Legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the People, declared in the Constitution, the Judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental. [... ] whenever a particular statute contravenes the Constitution, it will be the duty of the Judicial tribunals to adhere to the latter and disregard the former.

„The phrase is as comprehensive as any that could have been used;“

—  Alexander Hamilton, Report on Manufactures

Report on Manufactures (1791)
Contesto: The terms "general welfare" were doubtless intended to signify more than was expressed or imported in those which preceded; otherwise, numerous exigencies incident to the affairs of a nation would have been left without a provision. The phrase is as comprehensive as any that could have been used; because it was not fit that the constitutional authority of the Union to appropriate its revenues should have been restricted within narrower limits than the "general welfare;" and because this necessarily embraces a vast variety of particulars, which are susceptible neither of specification nor of definition.

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