Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Laws of Nature by Alexander Hamilton



The Revolutionary Era produced many great writers, among them, a brilliant man named Alexander Hamilton.  In 1774, Hamilton wrote A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress defending the Congress against attacks led by loyalists.  In this excerpt, Hamilton discusses laws of nature and obligations one society may (or may not) have towards another:

“There is no law, either of nature, or of the civil society in which we live, that obliges us to purchase, and make use of the products and manufactures of a different land, or people.  It is indeed a dictate of humanity to contribute to the support and happiness of our fellow creatures and more especially those who are allied to us by the ties of blood, interest, and mutual protection; but humanity does not require us to sacrifice our own security and welfare to the convenience, or advantage of others.*  Self preservation is the first principle of nature.  When our lives and properties are at stake, it would be foolish and natural to refrain from such measures as might preserve them, because they would be detrimental to others.”

*My emphasis added.



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