In Democracy in America (1835-1840), the French intellectual and statesman Alexis de Tocqueville singled out the “celebrated Alexander Hamilton” for his great contributions to constitutional thought in The Federalist.  For the French statesman and diplomat Talleyrand, Hamilton ranked with Napoleon as one of the greatest men of our epoch.”  In Alexander Hamilton:  A Biography (1979), the great historian Forrest McDonald noted, “For many decades after the Civil War his

[Alexander Hamilton’s] niche in the pantheon of American demigods was beneath only Washington’s, if indeed it was not at Washington’s right hand.”   Few men better represented the meritocratic ideal during an age of democratic revolution than Hamilton, who rose to the pinnacle of greatness in the founding of that great experiment in republican government after migrating to colonial New Jersey bearing with him the stigma of an out-of- wedlock birth in poverty in a tiny island pervaded by slavery in the eastern Caribbean.  His ingenious financial plan to pay off the debt and fund the government likely kept the fledgling United States from disintegrating into separate states or groupings of separate states.  These and other impressive accomplishments notwithstanding, the United States Department of Treasury under Jacob L. Lew, has announced that it is moving ahead with plans to displace Hamilton from featured status on the ten-dollar bill with an as yet unnamed woman.  Criticism of this decision has come fast and furious.

Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) Academic Advisor Richard  Brookhiser, author of Alexander Hamilton, American (1999), has risen to Hamilton’s defense in an article, “First Aaron Burr, Now Jack Lew,” published in the June 19 issue of The Wall Street Journal.   Brookhiser describes many of Hamilton’s significant accomplishments, especially in the area of finance and banking. Hamilton,  Brookhiser observes, “laid the foundations” of Americas “future prosperity . . . .  Most revolutionary governments over the past two centuries have been chaotic, dishonest and poor. The U.S. might have gone that route [without Hamilton]. We would then speak, not of banana republics, but of maple or pine republics—and we would have been the first one.”