George Washington: American Statesman Vol 1 and 2 by Henry Cabot Lodge (Illustrated)
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The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 1 - Online Library of Liberty
The Complete Works of George Washington. Woodrow Wilson. How to write a great review. The conflict between these opposing forces began at the close of the Revolution, was ardent in the convention which framed the Constitution, continued with ever-increasing intensity for seventy years, and then culminated in the Civil War. In that fierce battle the national principle, which had strengthened with every year from the time of the formation of the government, triumphed, and it is now supreme.
The dominant purpose of Hamilton's life was the creation of a national sentiment, and thereby the making of a great and powerful nation from the discordant elements furnished by thirteen jarring States. To the accomplishment of this purpose every thing he said and did as a public man was steadily and strongly directed. The influence of the policy of Washington's administration upon the establishment and development of this great nation of ours cannot be overestimated.
Much of that policy was due to Hamilton alone, and in all parts of it he made himself deeply felt. Yet his masterly policy as Secretary of the Treasury, and as cabinet officer, as well as the active and influential part which he took in the Constitutional Convention, represent but a small portion of his services to the cause of nationality. Hamilton's greatest work was in creating, forming, and guiding a powerful public opinion in support of a national system; and the sentiment thus brought into being went steadily on with ever-increasing force, until it prevailed over all its enemies.
Hamilton achieved his success by the profound influence which he exerted on the public mind. No statesman in our history has ever swayed so many of the leading men among his contemporaries as Hamilton, and at the same time he appealed by his pen to the largest popular audience of any man of his time. He was the first teacher in the school of national politics.
The sacred fire once lighted never went out, and the principles then inculcated were carried forward and ever raised higher through the after years. This vast influence upon the political thought and the political history of the country Hamilton obtained by his writings, which range from elaborate Treasury reports to the brief utterances of private correspondence. The historical value and importance of these writings cannot be rated too highly, and are of themselves sufficient reason for the republication of his works, of which the original edition is now almost unobtainable.
But there is another side to Hamilton's writings which makes them of even wider and more lasting worth than their effect upon the people of the United States. This is their intrinsic merit as contributions to the philosophy or science of government, as well as to finance and political economy. These were questions much meditated upon at the close of the eighteenth century, and they have engaged the best attention of the civilized world ever since. Hamilton ranks as one of the great thinkers in the days when political economy and the huge mechanism of modern finance came into being.
He stands conspicuous in that all-important period, and in that broad field of thought, side by side with such men as Turgot, Pitt, and Adam Smith, and he does not suffer by comparison with these contemporaries, either in force and originality of ideas, or in practical success. He studied Adam Smith and then wrote the Report on Manufactures, developing the theory as to the protection of nascent industries in its application to the United States, and standing firmly on the doctrine that this was a question which each nation must decide for itself.
Beyond the field of finance and political economy, he dealt with the far-reaching questions of federative systems of government to which many thinkers look to-day for a solution of the difficulties which great armies and recurring wars constantly present in Europe. As contributions to modern thought on the most important of modern themes the writings of Hamilton hold now and must always hold a very high position. This is not the place nor is it needful here to say anything about Hamilton either as a statesman, writer, or man.
His strong personality is becoming every day more familiar and more vivid to a posterity which is now beginning to understand and appreciate him, and his influence may be traced in every page of our history. He was every inch a statesman, intellectually second to no one of his own day in that high calling, where he still waits for his superior. But these are subjects for the historian or the biographer, and Hamilton's personal history and public career have been written, rewritten, and minutely discussed from the island of Nevis down to the fatal glade at Weehawken.
As for his writings they tell their won story, and their ability and force are obvious to every one who reads them. It is enough for the editor of these volumes to say Edition: current; Page: [ xiii ] a very few words as to the general character and quality of Hamilton's mind as they appear to him after careful and repeated study. Whatever defects they may have had, Hamilton's arguments were invariably strong, cogent, compact, and most rigid in reasoning. His mind was penetrating and clear, and although every thing he ever wrote is simplicity itself in statement and thought, it is the simplicity of thorough knowledge and absolute command, and not that of superficiality and ignorance.
Statesmen, or rather leaders, of the destructive class can always be found when they are needed, which is, fortunately, not often. Great statesmen of the constructive order are, on the contrary, rare enough, and are always wanted. Hamilton was one of the latter kind. Never did he blink them out of sight or go upon a vain shadow-hunt, but always faced them and built upon them or did battle with them as the case might be.
There is nothing vague or misty about Hamilton. Every thing is as clear-cut and well defined as the American landscape on a bright, frosty, autumn day. He had a powerful imagination for facts, if such an apparent contradiction in terms may be permitted. That is, he saw and felt the realities of every situation so strongly himself that he never failed to depict them vividly, and bring them home sharply to the minds of others.
Much more than documents.
With such mental qualities, backed by a relentless will, a strong and even passionate nature, and burning energy, it is not to be wondered at that Alexander Hamilton left so deep a mark upon our history, and that he is in every way so well worth our careful study. It only remains to say a word in regard to the plan and arrangement of this edition.
The first object was to bring all Hamilton's writings under one roof. This has never been done hitherto, for the Federalist has always found shelter elsewhere.
George Washington: American Statesman Vol 1 and 2 by Henry Cabot Lodge (Illustrated)
To accomplish this purpose in good print and within reasonable limits, it became necessary first to reduce the large amount of material gathered together in the edition of by John C. The omissions thus made from the earlier edition can be readily classified. All letters written by others to Hamilton, with one or two trifling exceptions, have been dropped. Many of these are, of course, historically speaking, very important, but those which deserve this description are for the most part to be found elsewhere in the works of their respective writers.