The Constitutional Thought of Alexander Hamilton

CONSTITUTIONS AND THE CLASSICS, Denis Galligan, ed., Oxford, 2014

University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-15

27 Pages Posted: 7 May 2014 Last revised: 4 Nov 2014

Mortimer Newlin Stead Sellers

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: May 6, 2014

Abstract

Alexander Hamilton was one of the strongest minds behind the development of modern constitutionalism, both in theory and in practice. Hamilton shared the constitutional principles of his republican contemporaries in his commitment to bicameral legislatures, elected executives, the separation of powers, checks and balances in government, and representative (rather than direct) democracy. He differed somewhat in his much stronger commitment to federalism, to executive power, and to judges, as the bulwark of constitutional liberty. Hamilton became as "Publius" (with James Madison) in "The Federalist" the foremost advocate and interpreter of constitutional government as it would ultimately be implemented in the United States. All these principles, widely accepted in theory by "enlightened" political writers of Hamilton's era, were reduced to practice in the American constitutions, and the Federal constitution of 1787, from which they have extended across the globe. Hamilton is one of the most perceptive and effective fathers of modern constitutional thought.

Keywords: Alexander Hamilton, constitutionalism, constitution, Publius, republican, republicanism, bicameralism, separation of powers, checks and balances,federalism, judges, judicial independence, enlightenment, modernity, United States Constitution

JEL Classification: K19, K39, B30, B31, N40, N41

Suggested Citation

Sellers, Mortimer Newlin Stead, The Constitutional Thought of Alexander Hamilton (May 6, 2014). CONSTITUTIONS AND THE CLASSICS, Denis Galligan, ed., Oxford, 2014; University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2433704

Mortimer Newlin Stead Sellers (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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