Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were two of the most politically influential men involved in building the new American government. They both agreed on creating a strong government, but disagreed on where the supreme power should be located. Hamilton wanted a strong central government, while Jefferson wanted strong state governments. Alexander Hamilton was a man who represented the Federalists. Some of his contributions consist of The Federalist Papers1, the Report on Public Credit2, and the creation of the national bank. Each of these was used to strengthen the central government. The Federalist Papers were 85 highly persuasive essays explaining each provision of the Constitution and the key element in its campaign. Hamilton’s Report on Public Credit analyzed the financial standing, reorganized the national debt, and established the public credit. The national bank was a creation of Hamilton’s for the government to deposit funds (taxes), print U.S. currency, and regulate all state banks. Thomas Jefferson was a man who represented the Demcratic-Republicans.
Some of his contributions consist of the Articles of Confederation3, and the Notes on the State of Virginia4. The Articles of Confederation established the national government in 1777 and was used to weaken the central government in order to strengthen the individual state powered governments. As the Notes on the State of Virginia was Jefferson stating how America would remain strong if they remained to their rural roots. Although they were very different, Hamilton and Jefferson shared a few similarities. They both had the same views for the new American country: a free country ran by its own people, as well as, restoring the national debt. They saw that America needed a government to lead the country, but disagreed on where the power should be located. Hamilton believed in a strong central government as Jefferson wanted the states to have all the power. The complication of national debt was extremely high for a newly independent country so they both took to an understanding of paying off the war debt, but disagreed on how to do it. However they disagreed on most things or creating opposing ideas to their opponents.
For example, the New Jersey Plan5 vs. the Virginia Plan6. The Virginia Plan wanted the larger states to have a proportional amount of representatives in Congress, which was opposed by the New Jersey Plan which favored the smaller states. Then the battle between the Alien and Sedition Acts7 vs. the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions8. The Alien Acts stated new immigration laws against the Constitution and the Sedition Acts stated that no one is allowed to talk badly about the government, going against the first amendment. The Democratic-Republicans felt as though these acts went against constitutional laws, thus creating the two resolutions that allow states to nullify federal laws if the contradict the Constitution.
These political divide has shaped our modern way of politics. Today, we still have two major political parties. The Federalists are present day Republicans as the Democratic-Republicans are present day Democrats. These two parties still argue and disagree on every situation that is brought upon the United States. The two parties consisting of their leaders, Hamilton and Jefferson are the founders of our modern argumentative politics. The rivalry that began 300 years ago still happens to this date. We have a government based on levels, the national (central) government being the strongest. The two parties differed more then, and still do to this date. Hamilton, Alexander. The Federalist Papers (1787). Champaign, IL: Project Gutenberg.
Hamilton, Alexander. Report on Public Credit (1790). Washington: [Gov’t Print. Off.].
SparkNotes Editors. SparkNote on The Articles of Confederation (1781-1789). SparkNotes LLC. n.d.. http://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/articles/ (accessed October 20, 2014).
Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia (1787). Chapter 19, “Manufacturers”.
Paterson, William. The New Jersey Plan (1787).
Madison, James. The Virginia Plan (1787).
Adams, John. The Alien and Sedition Acts (1798).
Jefferson, Thomas and Madison, James. The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions (1799).