Saturday, January 24, 2015

Alexander Hamilton and the Black Race

 
Alexander Hamilton
 

Perhaps no other founding father stands in the forefront of giving blacks the opportunity to serve in the military than Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton defied the odds and insisted that blacks possessed "faculties...as good as ours."  He did not believe the traditional theory prevalent in 18th century America that blacks were "stupid."  Instead, he insisted that it was a want of "cultivation" that made their circumstances bleak.  Indeed, Hamilton felt that under the care of a "sensible officer," blacks would make "excellent soldiers."  
 
 
 

Hamilton considered the prejudice against blacks to be based on "neither reason nor experience."  If anything, he felt such arguments were based on "an unwillingness to part with property of so valuable a kind."  It should be noted, that Hamilton's vision for blacks reached further beyond the immediate need for America to have larger troops to fight against the British.  By insisting on the plan to enlist black soldiers in the Continental Army, Hamilton hoped to provide a way for their emancipation. 

 

 

 

“From Alexander Hamilton to John Jay, [14 March 1779],” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-02-02-0051 [last update: 2014-12-01]). Retrieved January 24, 2015.  Source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 2, 1779–1781, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, pp. 17–19.



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