Philadelphia,26 November 1792
I was honored to receive your last letter. While I received it with gladness and affection, I feel compelled to warn you against the evils of adopting Mr. Jefferson’s policy toward state powers. Mr. Jefferson supports a weak federal government, with most governing power left to the states themselves. I believe that embracing such a plan would be a grave mistake. A federal government that does not hold sufficient power is subject to the whims – not just of learned men, but to men who are barely literate. Men who do not understand the workings of government can easily make mistakes that will lead this nation to ruin.
Men who are excellent in their fields – who understand business and law – are far better equipped to run the business of this nation efficiently than men who do not understand finance or trade. Let us place power only in the hands of those who can wield it wisely. We do not entrust our health to men who have not studied medicine. How much more important is it to entrust the health of an entire nation to expert hands?
Furthermore, if we entrust decision making entirely to the common man, our government will be unstable. Men who are governed – not by knowledge or learning, but by their passions will necessarily disagree with one another. If they cannot resolve their disputes or come to any sort of agreement and the federal government lacks authority to end their disputes, our nation will descend into anarchy.
I have long believed that Mr. Jefferson’s ideas were misguided and I urge you to see their folly now. If my word is not enough, look to history. The democracies of the Greeks were not perfect governments. Indeed, they possessed a tyrannical character that led to disarray and abuse. I urge you, therefore, to reject Jefferson’s notions of Democratic rule and to ensure that our nation’s government is strong enough to protect it from anarchy and tyranny. We must stress, instead, the importance of wise governance, order and respect for the law.
I remain respectfully yours.
- Straub, Steve. Alexander Hamilton, on Democracy, Speech in New York, urging ratification of the U.S. Constitution (June 21, 1788). 2016. Online. 17 March 2016.