Alexander Hamilton, Report on Public Credit, January 9, 1790

Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) plunged into revolutionary action soon after his arrival in New York from the West Indies in 1773. He served in the Continental Army and then in the Confederation Congress. Never happy with the Articles of Confederation, he was an early proponent of constitutional reform. A firm advocate of a strong, even aristocratic, centralized government, he participated in the Constitutional Convention, wrote many of The Federalist essays that promoted the new constitution, and helped push through ratification in New York. Washington rewarded his intelligent, energetic ex-aide-de-camp by appointing him the first Secretary of the United States Treasury. Hamilton embraced the challenge and opportunity to create a financial and economic program for the young nation. Most of his proposals were not innovations unique to the United States; he borrowed readily from European and especially English precedents on such revenue methods as tariffs and excise taxes. Hamilton was, however, innovative in how he pieced together his policy and how he planned to implement it. The secretary submitted a series of reports to Congress that outlined what has been called the Hamiltonian program: the First Report on the Public Credit, January 1790; the Second Report on Public Credit and the Report on a National Bank in December 1790; the Report on the Establishment of a Mint in January 1791; and the Report on Manufactures in December 1791. After debate and some amendment, all but the last one were adopted.

  • 0/5 Stars
Transcript or Manuscript
Speaker or writer:
Alexander Hamilton
January 9, 1790.