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Old 06-24-2017, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Long Island
4,194 posts, read 2,056,687 times
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Originally Posted by functionofx View Post
Each had strengths and weaknesses. My guess is a case could be made for either person being the smartest. Elites today may prefer Hamilton, Jefferson would be considered living in a bucolic fantasy world by many modern elite historians.
In 1926, Vernon L. Parrington’s Main Currents in American Thought extensively compared Jefferson and Hamilton. I think his overly-favorable treatment of Jefferson would seem quaint to most modern readers, but his criticism of Hamilton is so on-target that I can’t resist quoting (and adding emphasis to) some of it:
He accepted frankly the principle of exploitation. He was convinced that the interests of the manufacturers were one with the national interests, and he proposed to put the paternal power of the government behind them. With the larger social effects — the consequences to the working classes, congestion of population, the certainty of a labor problem — he concerned himself no more than did contemporary English statesmen. He was contemptuous of Jefferson’s concern over such things. He had no Physiocratic leanings towards agriculture; material greatness alone appealed to him; and he contemplated with satisfaction the increase in national wealth that would accrue from levying toll upon the weak and helpless.
. . . .
In his understanding of credit finance and the factory economy, he grasped the meaning of the economic revolution which was to transform America from an agrarian to an industrial country; and in urging the government to further such development, he blazed the path that America has since followed. “A very great man,” Woodrow Wilson has called him, “but not a great American.” In the larger historical meaning of the term, in its democratic implications, that judgment is true; but in the light of our industrial history, with its corporate development and governmental subsidies, it does not seem so true. As the creative organizer of a political state answering the needs of a capitalistic order — a state destined to grow stronger as imperialistic ambitions mount — he seems the most modern and the most American of our eighteenth-century leaders, one to whom our industrialism owes a very great debt, but from whom our democratic liberalism has received nothing.
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Old 06-25-2017, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Texas
33,710 posts, read 18,328,278 times
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Lightbulb Jefferson or Hamilton: Who was smarter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordsmith12 View Post

What's your opinion?

Ben Franklin was smarter than either.
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Old 06-26-2017, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
11,669 posts, read 7,061,294 times
Reputation: 15089
Quote:
Originally Posted by functionofx View Post
Each had strengths and weaknesses. My guess is a case could be made for either person being the smartest. Elites today may prefer Hamilton, Jefferson would be considered living in a bucolic fantasy world by many modern elite historians.
Agreed, but it would seem that Hamilton had a far better grasp of the emergence of the industrializing economies, and of the necessary financial underpinning that had to be allowed to take shape. Jefferson's blindness merely intensified until it manifested itself in the form of Andrew Jackson who chose to pander to the petty egalitarianism among his core constituency, and in doing so, set economic progress back by at least a decade.

The role of Madison needs to be recognized here: at the close of Madison's second term, a number of influential members of congress had put together an "internal improvements" bill -- combining a number of plank road, canal, and similar transportation / infrastructural causes of the day -- what would one day be called "pork barrelling". Madison vetoed the bill, which then set the stage for New York State interests to privately finance the Erie Canal which, lying entirely within the boundaries of one state, was a long way from a prime candidate for Federal participation.

By the time of Clinton's death in 1828, the Erie Canal had been in business for three years and was enjoying (and driving) unprecedented prosperity, because the cost of moving grain (the single most important fuel for human progress at the time) had dropped by over 90 per cent. Although several rival projects, doomed to fail due to much higher geographically-related costs, were under way, the Canal gave New York an advantage that Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Richmond/Norfolk could never hope to match. The boom was to last until the Panic of 1837 (which was, appropriately, set off in part by Jackson's hostility toward central banking).

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 06-26-2017 at 12:31 PM..
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Old 06-26-2017, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,109 posts, read 8,286,665 times
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Jefferson was an intellectual. Hamilton was a thinker. How do you compare the two?
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:53 PM
 
5,115 posts, read 4,469,054 times
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I don't believe that it's actually possible to declare either Jefferson or Hamilton smarter than the other, as intelligence isn't a scalar value but rather a sum of different attributes, despite what the people at Mensa might have you believe.

I would put Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton on the same tier of intelligence, perhaps along with James Madison and Benjamin Franklin (in his prime). The remaining Founding Fathers, while each intelligent in their own ways, IMO don't reach the same standards set by the four mentioned above.
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Old 06-29-2017, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,109 posts, read 8,286,665 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmilf View Post
I don't believe that it's actually possible to declare either Jefferson or Hamilton smarter than the other, as intelligence isn't a scalar value but rather a sum of different attributes, despite what the people at Mensa might have you believe.

I would put Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton on the same tier of intelligence, perhaps along with James Madison and Benjamin Franklin (in his prime). The remaining Founding Fathers, while each intelligent in their own ways, IMO don't reach the same standards set by the four mentioned above.
I wouldn't dare to compare Franklin with Madison, either, as they are so different in the use of their intellect.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:15 PM
 
5,115 posts, read 4,469,054 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frihed89 View Post
I wouldn't dare to compare Franklin with Madison, either, as they are so different in the use of their intellect.
Exactly my point.

Jefferson was the philosopher of the group, and the most polished writer. He was the model Enlightenment liberal of the age.

Hamilton was by far the better lawyer and executive administrator, and was the only one of the group with actual military experience (both administrative and field command); additionally, Hamilton was the one in the group who foresaw the need for the United States to become an industrial and economic power in order to best preserve itself as a nation.

Madison was the best legislator/statesman of the group, having shepherded both the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights into existence, co-founder of the Republican faction, and the first defacto leader of Congress, as well as Secretary of State under Jefferson and President in his own right.

Franklin was the most financially successful, the one who made the greatest contribution (IMO) in both science and in inventions, and the one who was the best diplomat of the four.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:42 PM
 
3,212 posts, read 1,357,972 times
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Well considering that the banking institutions are systematically destroying the global economy in exactly the way Jefferson predicted...

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.... I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.... The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." - TJ
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:22 PM
 
5,115 posts, read 4,469,054 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobster View Post
Well considering that the banking institutions are systematically destroying the global economy in exactly the way Jefferson predicted...

"(1) If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.... (2) I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.... (3)The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." - TJ
Thomas Jefferson never said the first quote.

The second quote is actually "And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." (from an 1813 letter to John Wayles Eppes).

The third quote also was never said by Jefferson.

Jefferson, being in constant debt to bankers, never cared much for the banks, as he considered them villainously making their profits off the backs of debtors, rather than honorably making one's profits as true Virginia gentleman planters did, off the backs of the enslaved.
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:33 PM
 
3,212 posts, read 1,357,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmilf View Post
Thomas Jefferson never said the first quote.

The second quote is actually "And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." (from an 1813 letter to John Wayles Eppes).

The third quote also was never said by Jefferson.

Jefferson, being in constant debt to bankers, never cared much for the banks, as he considered them villainously making their profits off the backs of debtors, rather than honorably making one's profits as true Virginia gentleman planters did, off the backs of the enslaved.
Well, whomever said this is proving to be correct.
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