That stupid musical has done so much to make Hamilton into a hero of the modern social justice left. They’re projecting modern day socio-political issues onto his silly face and they think they’re being all smart and informed by invoking him as an authority for their beliefs.
I recently was talking with a person who has seen that musical and so is an expert on Hamilton and invokes his *fake* words in political conversations (see below). His specific claim was “Hamilton definitely believed the government should help its people,” going from some vague idea of Hamilton’s use of the General Welfare clause to modern day welfare legislation. (I know).
I almost let him have it, explaining that banking and internal improvements were what Hamilton had in mind, NOT direct charity payments, but stopped myself since I didn’t technically know if/to what degree such a notion of government welfare was discussed back then.
Questions: To what degree, if at all, were things like direct government welfare payments/provisions discussed, debated, or considered in Hamilton’s time? What were the prevailing views of such a thing? Even if Hamiltonian nationalism were to be accepted, do you think modern day progressive notions of equality-driven welfare would logically or ideologically follow from that? Or do you think even Hamilton would laugh at such nonsense? Can you point me to any sources on this?
Fun fact: Did you know that that musical takes quotes out of Malcolm X’s mouth and puts them into Hamilton’s? Not kidding.
On that token, Hamilton justified a large national debt on grounds that making rich bondholders dependent on the government would secure its perpetuity right?
If thats the case, could an argument in favor of a welfare state which says “making poor people (or all people) dependent on the government secures its perpetuity” be described as distinctly “Hamiltonian?”
Hamilton would not be in favor of the modern welfare state, but he did consider government patronage (getting vets jobs in the govt) as a way to secure support for the new central authority. He would support the expansion of federal power and the modern American empire with a virtual elected king.