Hamilton as president?

Jul 2019
2
Houston
If Hamilton has not died in the duel would he have been a good president? He was not born in US would that be a factor at that time to disqualify him from the elections?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,580
Dispargum
Hamilton was eligible to run for president. The relevant part of the Constitution (Art II, Sec 1, 5) reads: "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible..." Hamilton was a citizen when the Constitution was adopted.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Colonialfan

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,397
Caribbean
Hamilton was eligible legally. He was a citizen of New York under the Articles, the same status as contemporaries. The first NBC president is somewhere around number 8.

But how is a Federalist going to win an election after the Alien and Sedition Act? None of them come close. IMO, they only won in 1796 because Washington was nominally a Federalist and that gave them credibility. And Hamilton? How is a guy who is for monarchy going to win an election in that liberty-conscious era?. Somewhere around 1802, Hamilton realizing how out of step he was said - there is no place in this country for a man like me.

If Madison had been elected and governed by his stated principles -
if you like centralized authoritarianism then Hamilton would have been a "good" President; and if you don't, then Harrison would have been a "bad" President.
 
Last edited:

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,960
Alexander Hamilton had authoritarian leanings and was a proponent of financial mechanisms that were similarly viewed as very centralized and as "undemocratic." John Adams had already shot the bolt for the Federalists, and Mr. Hamilton would have been judged guilty by association.

In some ways, Hamilton was a proto-technocrat - more on the order of a career civil servant in the early to mid 20th century. In 1800 and the period following, he was a fish out of water.

Had Hamilton actually been elected, the US might have dealt with the theory of a Unitary Executive (Article II of the Constitution) much earlier than in the past 4 to 5 decades. Hamilton would probably be comfortable in today's Washington, DC. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Iraq Bruin
Jul 2019
2
Houston
I think Hamilton had a real chance of getting elected. He was probably better than people like Monroe. Despite his grasp on financial issues and more importantly his ethics would have made him a good candidate. He was widely known and perhaps loved by at least a vast majority of northern state citizens.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,580
Dispargum
Had he won in 1808 he would have been president during the War of 1812. As a former soldier, perhaps Hamilton would have been a better commander-in-chief than Madison. I don't know. When I think of wartime presidents who were former soldiers the first one I think of is Jefferson Davis and he was a disaster as a president.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,397
Caribbean
I think Hamilton had a real chance of getting elected. He was probably better than people like Monroe. Despite his grasp on financial issues and more importantly his ethics would have made him a good candidate. He was widely known and perhaps loved by at least a vast majority of northern state citizens.
How did you quantify all this "love?"
And in what year did he have a real chance of getting elected? As I posted, Hamilton himself wrote ca 1802 there was no place for him. What do you know about his prospects that he doesn't?

Against Monroe? By 1820, the demise of the Federalist Party that started in 1798 was complete, and they could not even field a candidate against Monroe who ran for reelection unopposed. In 1816, the Federalists carried only 3 states out of 19 against Monroe. How does Hamilton carry more than 3 states?

How do you elect a man President of the US, who thinks the Constitution is stupid and that monarchy is the best form of government? In other words, a man who would be king.
"I own it is my opinion, though I do not publish it in Dan or Beersheba*, that the present Government is not that which will answer the ends of society, by giving stability and protection to its rights, and that it will probably be found expedient to go to the British form.''
-- Alexander Hamilton 1792,
Words of the Founding Fathers
(quote 1583)

*A reference to the 12 tribes of Isreal, a metaphor for the 13 colonies. Well, Hamilton may not have been publishing such views in 1792, but Jefferson was helping with the publication of it.
 
Last edited:

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,397
Caribbean
Had he won in 1808 he would have been president during the War of 1812.
Had he been President, there would have been no such war. Every vote against the war declaration was from the Federalist faction, New England states refused to participate in the war, even as Washington DC burned. New England Governors announced that the right to determine when the conditions necessary for handing over the militia was among the "reserved rights" of the States, until, as the Constitution says, there was an actual "invasion" of the States. (and you will have to forgive them Chlodio for being "originalists" lol) The British would have know this, even if the Governors were not "colluding" with the British government. That's why the British invaded southern states.

As a former soldier, perhaps Hamilton would have been a better commander-in-chief than Madison.
In theory, maybe so. But whose side would Hamilton have been on? The New England separatist faction (the Essex Junto) had been talking about forming their own republic and alliance with England since the 1790s. People jokingly referred to Pickering as the Lord of Essex. Maybe, the British would have made Hamilton Duke of (new) York. I am sure he would have liked that, since he was openly a monarchist.

I also wonder how the usual castigation of Madison as commander-in-chief play out in context - that he was fighting Old England with one hand and New England with the other.

I will concede, though, Hamilton could win election as President in the last 50 years, but not in the first 50 years.
 
Last edited:
Feb 2019
933
Serbia
Had he won in 1808 he would have been president during the War of 1812. As a former soldier, perhaps Hamilton would have been a better commander-in-chief than Madison. I don't know. When I think of wartime presidents who were former soldiers the first one I think of is Jefferson Davis and he was a disaster as a president.
If he had remained a Federalist there likely wouldn't be a War of 1812. Or at least he would support the anti-war New England Federalists. IIRC he himself was sympathetic to Britain and I highly doubt he would want to attack them.