I just came across a great series of audio lectures about Alexander Hamilton including one by Prof. Jason Duncan on God, Politics, and Alexander Hamilton.
It is good, not just about Hamilton’s own spiritual and religious life, but also about the religion of the American founding fathers. John Adams regarded the incarnation as blasphemous. Apparently, Yale president Timothy Dwight said that if Thomas Jefferson was elected president then New England would have soon have no churches nor any virgins. A fascinating lecture that touches upon a lot of religious life in colonial America and how it related to early republican politics. Duncan also details the growth and influence of the Baptist and Methodist churches in the USA too. Quite an informative and interesting lecture.
So which Hamilton — the pious Christian, the deist, the skeptic, the religious free-marketeer — would pass judgment on the secular/religious debates of contemporary America? My guess is all of them, for they all coalesce around a consistent Hamiltonian striving: temperance. Hamilton was a revolutionary, but he wasn’t a radical. His life taught him the essential virtue of self discipline and moderation (virtues he did not always successfully practice). Reason, religion, government, the free-market — at their best, they all impose healthy restraints on our self-destructive tendencies. Moreover, when they respectfully jockey amongst themselves in the public forum, they impose healthy restraints on each other. In a democracy, our side is not always supposed to win. And that’s a good thing. That’s what makes it work, more or less, the way Hamilton intended.