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Alexander Hamilton on Finance, Credit, and Debt


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Hamilton and the U.S. Financial Revolution
1. To - (December 1779-March 1780)
2. To James Duane (September 3, 1780)
3. To Robert Morris (April 30, 1781)
4. The Continentalist (1781-1782)
5. Constitution of the Bank of New York (February 23-March 15, 1784)
6. To Thomas Willing (September 13, 1789)
7. Report Relative to a Provision for the Support of Public Credit (January 9, 1790)
8. To Wilhem and Jan Willink, Nicholaas and Jacob Van Staphorst, and Nicholas Hubbard (August 28, 1790)
9. First Report on the Further Provision Necessary for Establishing Public Credit (December 13, 1790)
10. Second Report on the Further Provision Necessary for Establishing Public Credit (Report on a National Bank, December 14, 1790)
11. Report on the Establishment of a Mint (January 28, 1791)
12. Opinion on the Constitutionality of an Act to Establish a National Bank (February 23, 1791)
13. Prospectus of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures (August 1791)
14. Report on the Subject of Manufactures (December 5, 1791)
15. Letters to William Seton (February 10 and March 22, 1792)
16. Report on a Plan for the Further Support of Public Credit (January 16, 1795)
17. The Defense of the Funding System (July 1795)
18. Articles of Association of the Merchants Bank (April 7, 1803)
19. Conclusion: Legacies of the U.S. Financial Revolution

About the Author

Richard Sylla is professor emeritus of economics and the former Henry Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets at New York University Stern School of Business. He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and chairman of the Museum of American Finance. Among his books are Founding Choices: American Economic Policy in the 1790s (2011) and Alexander Hamilton: The Illustrated Biography (2016).

David J. Cowen is president and CEO of the Museum of American Finance. He is author of The Origins and Economic Impact of the First Bank of the United States, 1791-1797 (2000) and coauthor of Financial Founding Fathers: The Men Who Made America Rich (2006).


Hamilton's writings always impress for their clarity of argument and, especially, for their prescient vision of the future of the American economy. Thanks to Richard Sylla and David J. Cowen for reminding us of that. -- Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Alexander Hamilton was the architect of the American financial system that endures to this day, making his founding-era writings on topics such as the national debt, trade, foreign investment, and central banking both resonant and relevant to contemporary readers. Sylla and Cowen provide helpful historical context, but they largely let Hamilton's genius speak for itself. From short essays that resemble the modern op-ed to legal documents to his reports to Congress as Treasury Secretary, the book offers a compelling window into Hamilton's visionary thinking on economic matters. -- Robert E. Rubin, co-chair emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations, and former U.S. Treasury Secretary
Seen the musical? Now read Hamilton's original letters setting out his vision for the financial revolution that created today's American economy-all excellently and helpfully edited by Richard Sylla and David J. Cowen. -- Lord Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England
Sylla and Cowen make clear to readers that Hamilton had a solid historical foundation and a farsighted vision for his policy prescriptions. Without their expert guidance, this structure would often be missed even if one were to read through a larger set of writings. I could not imagine a better team to write this book. -- Matthew Jaremski, Colgate University
This is undoubtedly a treasure trove for financial and public policy geeks, and the book will also help lay readers go beyond the hit musical in understanding Hamilton's lasting significance. * Publishers Weekly *
A fascinating examination of Hamiltonian economics. * Washington Times *

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