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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

July 2, 2004

Two Hamiltons and a Marshall

With our country's 229th "Independence Day" a few days off, Inside Iowa State asked three faculty members to respond to this question:

Which founding father contributed most to what we are today?

Robert Lowry

associate professor of political science

"This is a hard question, but based on the phrase 'what we are today,' I'm going to pick Alexander Hamilton. He was a primary advocate of a strong central government and, as the first Secretary of the Treasury, he advocated policies that helped the growth of manufacturers in the northeast."

Robert Lowry

Christopher Curtis

Christopher Curtis

assistant professor of history

"It's hard to slight James Madison, but I'd pick John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835. Madison, Hamilton, Sherman and Jay devised the plan of government, but Marshall determined how that plan worked. He defined what an independent judiciary actually was and he blended the spirit of Jeffersonian republicanism with Hamilton's vision of political economy."

Kimberly Conger

Kimberly Conger

assistant professor of political science

"This is a hard question because none of the founding fathers thought that we would get what we actually got. Jefferson wanted us to rewrite the constitution every 25 years. But I would say Alexander Hamilton because he was a major proponent of a national banking policy and a national economic policy. The others were concerned primarily about a governmental structure but Hamilton was concerned about the economic structure as well."