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Yesterday’s edition of #MAGAWeek2019 looked briefly at the career of our first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton’s controversial financial proposals helped put the nation on a sound financial footing, but also created a rift between loose constructionist Federalists, who favored a national bank and closer commercial ties with Great Britain and protective tariffs, and the strict constructionist Democratic-Republicans, who wanted a nation of small, independent farmers and more diffused power.
Alongside Hamilton in the new Federalist Party was another important figure, one somewhat maligned by history, but who has enjoyed a revival of reputation thanks to a popular HBO miniseries and a thorough treatment from popular historian David McCullough: our second President, John Adams.
Last year, I wrote about Adams’s son, Secretary of State and President John Quincy Adams, and his huge influence on American expansion. Like his son, John Adams suffers some neglect due to his single-term presidency, his stiff New England manner, and his controversial, centralist policies. His critics accused him of being a “monarchist”—an unfair claim lobbed by political opponents.
Despite that, John Adams deserves far more respect than he receives.
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