About UsOver the past decade, our country has seen the greatest challenge to our economic system since the Great Depression. With the historic decline in real estate prices and the slow down in industrial activity, the societal fallout has been stunning. We have witnessed both the loss of billions of dollars in wealth and millions of jobs. Despite unprecedented intervention by the government and the Federal Reserve, conditions have barely improved, leading to widespread disillusionment in our political and capitalist system.
Those of us working on Wall Street have found ourselves thrown into the front lines of the crisis. It has had a profound, emotional and financial effect on all of us. Many of us are involved on a very personal level with our clients and are painfully aware of the profound effects. Many once proud Wall Street firms have disappeared and the remaining financial institutions have been subjected to the political fallout from the crisis. Already battered by the loss of revenue and collapsing share prices, these firms have been targeted as the primary cause of the global crisis and subjected to unprecedented, often punitive, regulatory action.
When the protests started at the end of 2011, and Zuccotti Park was occupied, many of my associates wanted to counter-demonstrate. They had had enough and were very angry. I saw it quite differently and wanted to respond with a positive message. For some time, I had become concerned with the public misconception of what the free enterprise system was all about. It was and is obvious to me, that many Americans are unaware of the tremendous contribution capitalism has made to the success of our country. Over the years, working with college interns and listening to their stories of all the negative information being disseminated in the classroom, I had become concerned. Many had been exposed to ideas which attacked capitalism, promoting intrusive government and resentment against wealth. When the Occupy Wall Street movement hit the scene with widespread media coverage, I suggested that we move to do something to defend free enterprise, capitalism and Wall Street.
On October 20th, 2011, a dozen of us met outside the graveyard of Trinity Church, next to the tomb of Alexander Hamilton. There we saluted the Founding Father who set the country on the path to greatness. After a short speech, witnessed by a few interested tourists, we proceeded up Broadway to the Trinity Bar near Zuccotti Park. After raising a few, we took a menu and printed a short note declaring our intention of forming a society "in defense of free enterprise, capitalism and Wall Street." The Hamilton Society of Wall Street was born.
At that meeting we decided that we would open the organization to anyone who agreed with our founding principles. Namely, to promote values, attitudes and beliefs faithful to the founders' ideas of liberty, which include a wisely regulated, free enterprise system that is dynamic and competitive. Defending a system that has brought millions out of poverty and made America the symbol of liberty and prosperity. The society would inform the public about the contributions of our economic system, past and present, through debates, guest lectures, timely articles and plainly written papers. We also wished to provide an alternative message to students at the high school and college level, so that they could come to understand and appreciate the past and future contributions of our system to the country and the world. Finally we would provide a venue for fraternity, social interaction, the exchange of ideas and professional and career development for those working in the financial services industry and those wishing to do so.