22 Alexander Hamilton Quotes that Probably Didn’t Miss their Shot
If you were going to make a list of “people who have lived really, really full lives,” Alexander Hamilton would probably appear somewhere on that list. You can decide where he goes, but the guy was one of America’s Founding Fathers–which means all of us Americans are probably putting him up there just by default. Regardless of your opinions on America (even Americans seem to be up in the air on it), it’s hard to say Hamilton didn’t do a lot of… stuff. Instrumental to the US Constitution, he also basically built the foundation for banks–as well as founding the Federalist Party and Coast Guard. Not to mention service during the American Revolution and going out in a duel. Wild. The drama around banks was kinda funny–honestly you could turn American history into a petty sitcom. So here are some quotes from one of America’s pivotal figures that probably didn’t miss their shot.
For those interested in Alexander Hamilton’s life, we hear there’s a pretty good Broadway production about it.
Further Reading: Who Were the Federalists and Anti-Federalists?
“Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have lies in this; when I have a subject in hand, I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it. Then the effort that I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.”
“The art of reading is to skip judiciously.”
“I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be.”
“When avarice takes the lead in a state, it is commonly the forerunner of its fall.”
“If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
“I never expect a perfect work from an imperfect man.”
“A well adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous.”
“Those who stand for nothing fall for everything.”
“Strut is good for nothing.”
“To all general purposes we have uniformly been one people each individual citizen everywhere enjoying the same national rights, privileges, and protection.”
“Men are rather reasoning than reasonable animals, for the most part governed by the impulse of passion.”
On Government & Politics
“Give all the power to the many, they will oppress the few. Give all the power to the few, they will oppress the many.”
“A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.”
“Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.”
“Who talks most about freedom and equality? Is it not those who hold the bill of rights in one hand and a whip for affrighted slaves in the other?” **Hamilton’s relationship with slavery was quite complicated.
“For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.”
“Vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty.”
“The inquiry constantly is what will please, not what will benefit the people. In such a government there can be nothing but temporary expedient, fickleness, and folly.”
“Unless your government is respectable, foreigners will invade your rights; and to maintain tranquillity you must be respectable.”
On the American Constitution
“The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution.”
“Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things.”
“A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.”
Go nuts with some music from Hamilton here.