Once upon a time, when the ink on the constitution was barely dry, a clever man named Alexander Hamilton saved our shiny new country from self-destruction.  Everybody knew he was clever, but they also knew he was a bit machiavellian, and some will tell you that the provision about natural born citizens and the presidency was designed to keep him from taking power.  Nonetheless, Alexander Hamilton was clever, and he used that, with a bit of shrewd manipulation, to save the country.

You see, he guaranteed that the new government would pay the war debt which, technically, had been incurred by a completely different government.  The new government had no money yet, had barely worked out its ability to raise any money, and now it had a lot of debt from a war that ended while the Articles of Confederation still seemed like a good idea.  It was the best thing ever.

You see, by taking on the debt, all of a sudden the important people in the country, i.e. the people in a position to be owed money by a war government, had a vested interest in making the new government succeed.  If it failed, the next one might not feel responsible for paying them, or the individual states might have been stuck with the bills.  So people worked hard to make sure the government did succeed.  Not all of the parts of the country were thrilled with being a federated union – some of them wouldn’t have minded going back to England if the king would just be reasonable about taxes – but in order to get paid, they played along.

And because people had a vested interest in the government, a reasonable expectation that it would be better than nothing, or than burning it down and starting over (again), the shiny new government with the shiny new constitution succeeded.

Without that vested interest, why, everything would have fallen apart, and the war of 1812 might well have happened sooner, and ended differently.  (We won that one, btw)

It’s always been all about money.  But our bad guys used to be a lot more useful.

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