Special Exhibit: Alexander Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures

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Hamilton, Alexander. Painting by John Trumbull (copy). (Records of Commissions of the Legislative Branch, National Archives)

As the first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton had a vision for the economic foundation of the country. Its three major components were the federal assumption of state debts, the creation of a Bank of the United States, and support for the nation’s emerging industries.

His first and second reports to Congress dealt with the first two issues; his third, the Report on the Subject of Manufactures, presented to Congress on December 5, 1791, tackled the issues the nation’s industries.

The report outlined Hamilton’s plan to make the United States independent from foreign countries. To do this, he called for the U.S. Government to institute tariffs to protect American industry from foreign competition, give subsidies for industry, and support internal improvements.

December 5 marked the 225th anniversary of Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures, the final of Hamilton’s seminal reports on the economy, national debt, and financial condition of the early republic that laid the economic foundation of the nation.

This original document, submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives, is on display in the West Rotunda Gallery through January 31, 2017.

Read the introductory note on Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures on Founders Online.

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Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the Subject of Manufactures, December 5, 1791. (Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives)

One thought on “Special Exhibit: Alexander Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures

  1. Thanks for posting. I recently read Ron Chernow’s book on Hamilton. While it reads like a college text book at times, I highly recommend. It is amazing what this, at times, orphaned child went on to achieve. From his efforts supporting General Washington during the Revolutionary War to his substantial work on the Federalist papers and so much more, he laid the foundation for how our democratic institutions function.

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