Hamilton

Paloma MohantyProfessor Iacullo-BirdThe City and The Workplace November 21, 2017Alexander Hamilton Stabilizes Post Revolution New York After the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783, New York was left politically and economically unstable. Seven years under British rule had destroyed all infrastructure and the city needed to be rebuilt.  No one was better suited for this task than Alexander Hamilton, who would unite the people despite economic and political differences with the end goal being economic and political success. When New York was freed from British rule, the city was in shambles. The infrastructure had been ruined by British neglect and 2 massive fires.  Trade was almost at a halt, as almost none of New York’s merchant fleet remained, the Spanish and the French cut off trade once peace was established, and the British were regulating American trade with the British West Indies, not allowing the trade of many commodities and limiting other goods only to British ships, with John Adams noting “designs of ruining if they can our carrying trade and annihilating all our Navigation, and Seamen” (265). Along with the city’s economic crisis came a political one.  During the war, New York had been the stronghold of loyalist Tories, and even after evacuation, thousands had remained.  At the same time, Radical Whigs who had spurred on the revolution and had been chased out of the city were returning, bringing along an extreme hatred for the loyalists who had been against the creation of a new independent nation.  The radicals were concerning not only to the Tories, but also to more conservative Whigs who thought them too extreme.  However, both parties could only watch, as the radicals mobilized the working class to vote them into power, and started passing Anti-Tory legislature and furthering Anti-Tory sentiment.  They would go as far as attempting to disenfranchise all Tories, and passed legislation allowing them to barr tories from holding public office, allow elected officials to disenfranchise Tories on the account of a single witness, and even sell all property confiscated from the loyalists, in direct violation of the Treaty of Paris . They even went as far as tarring and feathering some of the more disliked Tories, and beating British officers (267).  The behavior of the Radical Whigs, or Sons of Liberty as they called themselves, along with the struggling economy of the city, were extremely alarming to Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton believed in a rational running of the government, not one spurned by personal passions. He also noticed that the Sons of Liberty were alienating the upper class, those who had the power to invest in the economy.  He believed that by reintroducing Tories into the political and economic life of the city, New York could prosper again. This was because before the revolution, Tories had been a part of the elite of New York society, and were heavily involved in trade, commerce and politics of New York.  Many had opposed the revolution because of the financial strain it would bring upon the city, since during the time of the revolution, England and its other colonies such as the West Indies had been New York’s greatest trade partners.  The Tories represented the foundations on which New York had been established since it was a small trading post, it did not matter who the central authority was  and who came to the city, as long as it prospered financially. Hamilton wanted a stronger central government, shown through his “Continentalist essays”, which showed the benefits to the nation as a whole, if the government was centralized. He saw small, powerful city governments such as the City Council of New York as hindrances to  the greater good of the nation, stating that a “Jealousy of Power” amongst cities had rendered the federal government useless. Hamilton’s aim was to provide the people with not what would “please” but what would “benefit” them as a whole (270).   Moderate and conservative Whigs worried that the assault on loyalists by the Sons of Liberty was impeding economic progress of the city and could ultimately end in social disaster, since many Tories were experienced traders and financiers and their involvement in society would ultimately bolster trade and improve relations with Britain, allowing for greater trade opportunities.. The actions of the radicals were also bringing international repercussions, as John Jay, in France at the time wrote “Violences and associations against the Tories pay an ill complement to government and impeach upon our good faith in the opinions of some and our magnanimity in the opinions of many.”  Hamilton would lead the push back against the Radical Whigs in their assault on the tories, with his methods to re-establish the Tories back into society ultimately helping stabilize the city’s economy and its political life.  Hamilton was known for his intelligence and way with words, and chose to influence the people firstly by publishing a pamphlet known as A Letter from Phocion to the Considerate Citizens of New-York followed by a Second Letter from Phocion.  Hamilton clearly stated in the letters that the Radical Whigs assault on the Tories directly hindered the rebuilding of a city ravaged by war, because Tories made up the merchant class and withholding them from society withheld money from society.  Hamilton also pointed out that the radicals were going against the Treaty of Paris, stating: If there had been no treaty in the way, the legislature might, by name, have attained particular persons of high treason for crimes committed during the war, but independent of the treaty it could not, and cannot, without tyranny, disfranchise or punish whole classes of citizens by general discriptions, without trial and conviction of offences known by laws previously established declaring the offence and prescribing the penalty.Through the Phocion letters, Hamilton expressed the views of many New York elite with concerns regarding the future prosperity of New York.   Hamilton decided to use the legal system along with economic policies and organizations to reintroduce tories to the forefront of New York Society. The case of Rutgers v. Waddington was instrumental in bringing Tories back to the forefront of society and establishing their rights, equal to all other citizens of the nation. In the case of Rutgers v Waddington, widowed Elizabeth Rutgers had fled New York at the start of the war, and a Tory merchant had taken over her brewery.  Upon returning, Rutgers asked Waddington for back rent of $8000, and when he refused to pay, she sued, citing a violation of the Trespass act of 1783.  Hamilton represented Waddington as he believed the Trespass act to be a violation of the Treaty of Paris. While the ruling was a split decision, it brought more Tories to the forefront, motivated them to be involved in society because they now had faith in their supporters,  and they along with rich merchants and the great landowning families of the Hudson Valley would rise to take the city back from the Radical Whigs under the guidance of Hamilton. When a  proposal came for a Bank of New York, Hamilton saw this as an opportunity to better the situation of the Tories.  Much of the bank’s board would be made up of important Tories. The Chamber of Commerce was also revived and saw heavy Tory involvement thanks to Hamilton, with many Tories joining from the start.  The establishment of the Bank of New York, and the reestablishment of the Chamber of Commerce with prominent Tories at the helm of both institutions reintroduced the idea upon which New York had been built, men were welcome to the city regardless of political affiliations, so long as their stay benefitted New York. Along with the reintegration of Tories into New York society, Hamilton wanted to further the New York economy by spurring on industrialization.  For this purpose, he supported and developed the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures (SUM), which was to help lead a New Jersey town along the Passaic Falls into industrialization, and was funded by New York speculators, with famous speculator William Duer sitting as the first governor of the Company. It would be Duer’s mismanagement of funds that would ultimately lead to the SUM’s downfall during Hamilton’s lifetime.  However the SUM would be revived during the war of 1812 when trade with Britain was cut off and showed that Hamilton’s belief that America needed its manufacturing independence was correct all along, as the industrial town would become responsible for replacing goods the British supplied and strengthening New York’s hold on manufacturing and its identity as the start of industrialization of the United States. The company was seen as one of the precursors to public-private partnerships, and showed Hamilton’s innovative views on finance, but as an organization based on speculation, it also showed the speculation bubble that was emerging in the U.S economy based on public credit and was a precursor to a crash.  That crash would come in the Panic of 1792, when speculators like such as William Duer, Robert Livingston, and Alexander McComb, secretly bought government bonds and stocks in a plan to create a bank of their own, “ The Million Bank”, which they aimed to combine with the Bank of New York and the Bank of the United States. When shares for the Million Bank went on sale, it threw the city into a frenzy labeled “bancomania”  as everyone wanted bank stocks, and the prices kept rising.  However, the rise in prices would start to slow down and then

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