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By Nancy Spannaus, editor
March 10, 2020–When I first read Alexander Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures some 40 years ago, it transformed my understanding of American history. Here was a crucial founding father, the man who devised our financial system, talking about building the wealth of our nation with an economic system that would “cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind!” What a contrast with the world of poverty, war, and racial strife we were going through at the time. What if we could realize that vision?
With the initiation of this blog in 2017, I set out to give my fellow citizens that same “aha!” experience. Read AmericanSystemNow regularly, and I promise you, you will get a totally different understanding of what founders like Hamilton and Washington – and their successors – were attempting to do with the economy than what you were taught. They established an American System dedicated to using government-backed credit to create continuous scientific and technological progress, and a better life for all our people.
The American System has always been a subject of controversy, of course. Slaveholders and speculators opposed it in Washington and Hamilton’s time. Wall Street bankers and slaveholders resisted it in John Quincy Adams’ administration. Abraham Lincoln had to fight a Civil War in order to pursue a Hamiltonian vision of a nation unified through economic progress. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt had to wage an unending battle against a Wall Street crowd that put the value of their money above the value of human life.
Yet, it was through the perseverance of these Presidents and their supporters that our republic became the envy of the world until not so long ago. Blog posts like “A Brief History of the Principle of National Banking in the United States,” will open your eyes and challenge your understanding of how that was done.
Most Americans don’t know about these “American System” battles, the profound ideas that inspired them, or the individuals who waged them. Their lack of knowledge leaves them vulnerable to deep pessimism, or manipulation by individuals of ill will.
I have written a book, Hamilton Versus Wall Street: The Core Principles of the American System of Economics, to address this problem. My book will give you a solid foundation, and my blog complements it by applying the core principles to contemporary problems we face, like trade, the opioid crisis, the infrastructure collapse , and public health. I publish articles by myself and others, and welcome constructive feedback.
For your free subscription, you will get a regular flow of historical vignettes and analyses (based on primary sources), history book reviews, and news reports informed by the perspective of American System thinkers. For example, how would Alexander Hamilton evaluate our current economic condition? You’ll get a good idea in the post “An American System Scorecard.”
Our republic was based on the republican idea of advancing the intellectual, as well as economic, progress of its citizens, and indeed, all humanity. Subscribe to AmericanSystemNow.com and help play a role in meeting that goal.
- See Alexander Hamilton’s Report on the Subject of Manufactures at founders.archive.gov.