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Letter: Alexander Hamilton may provide a window into 2020

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This June 11, 2018, file photo shows an Alexander Hamilton exhibit called “Alexander Hamilton: Soldier, Secretary, Icon,” at Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington.

Associated Press

Alexander Hamilton’s dilemma in 1800 may help us in the decision we face in the election of 2020. The 1800 election ended in a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr (who were really running for president and vice president, but because of the electoral system at the time, either one could have been chosen as president by Congress). Alexander Hamilton the Federalist, who was a political adversary of both of them, had this to say in support of Jefferson, the Republican, whose views were often very contrary to Hamilton’s. Per “Alexander Hamilton,” by Ron Chernow:

“If forced to choose, Hamilton preferred a man with wrong principles to one devoid of any.”

“‘The appointment of Burr as president would disgrace our country abroad,’ he informed Sedgwick. ‘No agreement with him could be relied upon.’”

“‘He is sanguine enough to hope everything, daring enough to attempt everything, wicked enough to scruple nothing,’ Hamilton told Gouverneur Morris.”

“Burr lacked any fixed principles, Hamilton argued, and played instead on ‘the floating passions of the multitude.’”

Dennis Baird

Brigham City