The United States would look quite different. Hamilton saw America as a nation of industrialists. Without Hamilton, the U.S. might have industrialized eventually, but it would not have been seen as a place for investment early in its history, and this lack of investment capital would have stunted its early growth. Hamilton also saw the need for a national banking system in which state debts were taken into the national debt. This was also meant to make the states dependent upon the federal government; after all, Hamilton was a Federalist. Without a strong national banking system, the states would not have had any financial reason to stay in the Union, and there would have been an even stronger movement for the states to secede in the period before the Civil War. The United States might have been a collection of city-states, such as what existed in Italy or Germany at the time, without Hamilton's federal banking plans. Hamilton also believed in excise taxes as an effective way to pay down the national debt. He especially thought that taxing whiskey would be an effective way to combat alcoholism and strengthen the federal coffers. Hamilton's excise taxes still exist today in taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and gasoline.