Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Hamilton's Curse: How Jefferson's Arch Enemy Betrayed the American Revolution--and What It Means for Americans Today Paperback – December 8, 2009
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
About the Author
"From the Hardcover edition."
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
While it is Thomas Jefferson's face that graces Mount Rushmore, and tremendous lip service is paid to his greatness as a political thinker and president, in reality, Jefferson's ideas have been entirely marginalized, while those of his arch rival Hamilton now form the backbone of the American political establishment. The Revolution of 1776 was a Jeffersonian Revolution to throw off the yoke of British mercantilist imperialism and install it its place a voluntary union of free and independent states. Hamilton and his acolytes, however -- no matter how bravely and earnestly they fought against the Red Coats -- wanted to import British mercantilism to America with the U.S. aristocracy (Hamilton and his Federalist buddies) on the receiving end of the mercantilist spoils system. In fact, DiLorenzo argues that the Constitution itself was a virtual coup against the free republic of the Articles of Confederation for the purpose of increasing the authority of the central government -- key to Hamilton's plans.
But Hamilton couldn't create the unitary nationalist government in one fell swoop. Indeed, his plans to install a permanent president -- an American king -- with the power to appoint state governors and veto state legislation failed miserably. But as soon as the Constitution was ratified, Hamilton (who argued the pseudo-Jeffersonian case for its ratification in the Federalist Papers) set about subverting it. It was Hamilton who invented the concept of "implied powers.Read more ›
DiLorenzo is extremely conservative in his political and economic views, if conservative means limited government. He states "Hamilton was the godfather of economic interventionism and big government." The author explains why both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum are enamored with Hamilton's views, and why it is ironic that Hamilton's influence is most appreciated by conservatives. Hamilton believed in the partnership of businesses and government. The author makes a case that economic instability is a consequence of Hamilton's policies of centralization and taxation, and believes the central banking Federal Reserve is detrimental to stability, especially with the lack of backing of `specie' (gold or other hard assets). This point is also asserted by Murray Rothbard in "What Has the Government Done With Our Money?"
DiLorenzo wryly observes it's fitting that Hamilton's statue is in the front of the US Treasury Department.Read more ›
For me, it covered new ground and reinterpreted well some ground I thought I had understood. It is both chronological and topical history. The author's use of original and secondary sources added to its value. All of which made it a fruitful present exercise and a tool for future reference.
As has been noted by other reviewers, it has special present circumstance value. National Bank/Federal Reserve Bank is the pivot point of today's rational pessimism. And it is the legacy of Alexander Hamilton. Greed comes with human seed; Hamilton's ideology centralized it.
I suppose, in the dark history of "democracy" and its variants, one could have drawn the baseline with Solon or Pericles. However, in the uniquely American variant of a "democratic" social contract, it is Hamilton's legacy that needs scrutiny. And DiLorenzo delivered such fully.
Whether it is the Supreme Court, The Fed, regulatory practices, the income tax, direct election of Senators, protectionism, or standing armies, Hamilton is the genesis. Our "Great Experiment" had a frightful beginning, a precarious middle and, obviously, might have an oligarchic end. We had a chance to design a system based on Jefferson's theories, but we have chosen otherwise. Perhaps we're cursed by Hamilton.
Robert Higgs, one of the many fine writers referenced in this book, asked himself in print recently: have we been led by fools or mountebanks? He answered: yes! And in reading this great book, I thought often that Hamilton might be both.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dilorenzo does another great book. Keep up the good work. Very good at understanding were the founders were coming from. Read morePublished 28 days ago by howell
This book starts with the premise that Hamilton is a "bad guy" and his ideas are the source of many of the problems that the United States currently faces. Read morePublished 4 months ago by CT2835
History that has been suppressed for decades. DiLorenzo is a bit of a polemicist, but he's not far wrong here.Published 5 months ago by Machinery's Handbook
Clearly demonstrates the polar opposites that Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton were in their view of the Constitution and the new experiment. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Soothsayer
This book is terrible. I couldn't disagree more with the message DiLorenzo is conveying about Hamilton and the American government. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ilhan
Great presentation of a number of facts with information to get the reader to understand that our country's political leaders didn't and still don't have the average American's... Read morePublished 9 months ago by mac1
Excellent in all aspects. The beginning argument that continues today because of George Washington's poor education and poor leadership!Published 9 months ago by George T. Garlock