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Join the conversation! There are now 13 comments on “What were they thinking? pg 15
    • Hamilton certainly did powder his hair, sometimes very heavily, when wearing it in the martial clubbed style described in a previous comment.

      But contemporaries also describe him occasionally (and, I presume, pointedly) simply tying his unpowdered chestnut hair back very loosely.

      Or was his hair auburn, or strawberry blonde, or reddish brown, or… descriptions vary.

      I’d love to read a monograph on what class/social/style message was sent by various men’s hairstyles back in those days, but I haven’t found one, and any speculation on my part would be an extreme instance of bullshitting.

  1. It’s amazing how often people who can’t articulate what they want, can tell you how it is different from your suggestion.

    • I found that in IT. The best way to get a user to give me usable requirements was to present him with what i thought he needed. It never was, but by telling me why it wasn’t, he would formulate his requirements quite well.

  2. Gregory T. Bogosian says

    So basically, Hamilton was so far outside the Overton window, that he accidentally united everyone else against him, thereby achieving consensus.

  3. While I would say Hamilton is my least liked founder, he did have some good ideas, such as the Federal government assuming States’ debt. I would say his downfall was wanting the US to too quickly become another European style nation with all sections of governance inferior to central government. While a large chunk of the unique “United States are” rather than “United States is” mostly died out during the Civil War, States are still free to make their own laws on most issues.

    And Hamilton’s new musical while entertaining, leaves out information or lies about several historical events.

  4. mikecody0318 says

    “States are still free to make their own laws on most issues.”

    Would that were the case. Voter qualifications, election districts, marriage, drug laws, police departments, even speed limits are all areas the Federales have told the States “Daddy knows best” on. About the only thing the States seem to have the right to do on their own is take more of the citizen’s money in taxes, and even that is subordinated to the Federal tax laws.

    • Not quite. Your argument is somewhat inaccurate and oversimplified.

      First, voter qualifications except being eighteen are subject to state laws. Several states have different laws concerning the voting rights of felons.

      Election districts are explicitly the domain of the states, as stated in the Constitution. In most cases, the state legislature is responsible for drawing districts for federal, state, and local races. The feds have nothing much to do with it, unless you’re referring to the occassional federal court decision overturning blatant gerrymandering.

      Marriage is regulated, iirc, at the federal level for tax purposes, the same as the states. The SCOTUS has since ruled that states can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in granting marriages as a part of the 14th amendment, which I assume is what you’re referring to. Despite this limitation, the states still apply their own dates for when one can marry, with and without guardian consent.

      Drug laws, from what I can tell, are a concurrent power, and the feds have done a decent job of not prosecuting marijuana growers in states where growing recreational marijuana is legal, although that seems to be changing now.

      The Justice Department is only empowered to conduct investigations into violations of federal law, or can help state departments with their own investigations if they want federal help, especially if a crime web crosses state lines. The states have very broad law enforcement capabilities, especially compared to other countries, and the vast majority of all enforcement is carried out at the local and state level.

      Speed limits, interestingly enough, are not within federal jurisdiction, but are state purview. Rather, what Congress has done is state that, unless certain speed limits are enforced by the states, they don’t get any highway funding. However, this is no longer true: There is no current federal highway limit, as can be evidenced if you do a cross-country drive, with limits varying from 60 to 75 depending on the state.

      You’re also missing where states have very near exclusive control over education, among several activities that the feds can’t conduct directly.

      Your statement rings rather false, when looking at the picture. The states are still very much sovereign entities, and you can even avoid some firearms regulations by producing your weapons within the state (which makes them not subject to the Commerce Clause).

  5. Temeraire says

    It is, however.

    Voter qualifications are generally state purview. While they are all required to let those above the age of 18 vote, they can still determine which felons can get voting rights, and have authority to establish voter ID laws and regulations for how votes are counted and when recounts can occur.

    Election districts are explicitly state purview, as established in the Constitution. Each state, usually guided by its legislature, has exclusive authority on how to draw districts for federal, state, and local elections. Since Baker v. Carr, the states have to draw them so that each district reasonably represents the same number of people. The state legislatures still get away with ludicrously gerrymandered districts, and so far the federal courts have been very reluctant to strike down gerrymandering, although that might be changing.

    Marriage is generally still state authority. They can no longer deny you a marriage license for being a same-sex couple, as SCOTUS found it to violate the 14th amendment, but states can individually determine what the laws are for the age of marriage. While not directly related to marriage, they can also regulate cohabitation to some extent, and also set statutory rape and age of consent laws.

    Drug laws are, to my knowledge, a concurrent power shared by both levels of government, and the feds have moved to nonenforcement of federal law when it conflicts with state law. Leading into this, the feds are a very small piece of the nation’s total law enforcement, and the overwhelming majority of law enforcement is carried out by state and local agencies.

    Speed limits, in fact, are not a federal power.

    The federal government withheld federal highway funds from states that didn’t enforce a specific speed limit (originally 55 mph and later 65 mph) for a while, but we haven’t had a national speed limit since 1995, which would underscore your point. Specifically, the states could refuse to lower the limit, they just wouldn’t get federal money for highways if they refused. A similar situation occurs with the enforcement of certain education and other regulations.

    Your argument rings false in the face of all this state autonomy and nonuniformity.

  6. Temeraire says

    Sorry, double post!

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