America’S ‘First’ Liberal

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Editor:

This is a story about America’s “first” liberal.

After the Revolutionary War the 13 colonies had incurred debts from their involvement in the war that they owed to banks, other nations or individuals.

In 1790 Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury, proposed that the federal government assume the debts of the various states and accept the responsibility of paying the debts to the creditors. The states would pay the federal government then the federal government would pay the creditors as the money became available.

Then, Alexander Hamilton, America’s “first” liberal, believed that the wealthier states should pay a larger portion of the debt than the poorer states, i.e. Virginia, who owed $3.5 million, should pay $5 million. Virginia, of course, balked at this, as did other states disproportionally taxed under this proposal. This was defeated and all states would be required to pay just what they owed. Hamilton tried to redistribute the wealth but was soundly defeated.

Don Castleman

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