Letter: Lessons from the real Hamilton


Alexander Hamilton’s The Federalist papers No.68 describes the “mode of electing the President of the United States.”

Hamilton advocates for the establishment of the Electoral College: “Men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station (of President) and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation.”

Electors are given the grave responsibility to deliberate and analyze, on behalf of the people, the most qualified candidate based on intelligence, temperament, moral code of conduct, and demonstrated civic contributions to this country.

Hamilton worried that a “corrupted” individual — particularly those who are either more directly associated with a foreign state, or who do not have the capacity to run the country — could be placed in the position of chief executive. “Talents for low intrigue and the little acts of popularity may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors...but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole union.”

Hamilton warned: “every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches ... but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?”

This foreseeable situation that Hamilton describes is our country’s current dilemma with the president-elect.

Jeffery Lang, La Conner, Washington