Shortly after the revolution, many drastic changes occurred in the United States. In addition to physical characteristics, the political aspect of this period of social adolescence was most astonishing. From the heart of the country rose two individuals, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, whose political philosophies formed the basis of all the development to come. Controversial issues such as of the constitution, who should manage public affairs, and the Louisiana Purchase, crystallized the internal conflict of a growing nation.
Before we can examine the motives behind specific decisions made by each politician, we must examine their overall political philosophies. Hamilton, an financial genius, focused a great deal of his time on the economic success of America believing that this would spawn success to all other areas of the society. Jefferson did not ignore the economy, but rather was greatly focused on the individual rights of citizens. In short Hamilton supported a loose and broad interpretation of the Constitution, while Jefferson promoted a strict view. In addition, the powerful central government supported by Hamilton, could be checked only by the informed masses provided for under Jeffersons plan. On a broader aspect, Hamilton wanted to expand the, as well as enable the strong federal government to establish numerous tariffs and limits on free speech and free expression rights.
... themselves. First, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton seemed to be against each other s political programs from the start. Economically, Hamilton proposed many plans ... which outraged Jefferson, such as the assumption plan, ...
Jefferson held strong to his beliefs of a weak central government needed only to secure individual rights and equal treatment of citizens. On the issue of a national bank, Hamilton believed that anything that was not forbade in the Constitution was to be allowed and thus supported a national bank in order to control the national debt as an asset. In contrast, Jeffersons belief that rights not given to the national government were given to state governments in order to minimize the menace of a national debt and sustain a rigid economy. These issues were debated then, and still are now, because of their central importance in our way of life. One of the most important issues discussed was who was to manage public affairs.
Hamilton ie w was simple. Because government workings are complex and intricate, the ‘best people’s would rule and no one else. In that time, the best people were those with the most money, land, power, or a combination of both. However, Jefferson saw this as a threat to tyranny. He believed that the only way to stop this tyranny was to have the government checked by the informed masses, thus ensuring ‘majority rule’. In giving the public the power, their intimate contact in local affairs could keep a more ‘vigilant eye’ on their affairs.
The problem with both systems was simple. Who was to be labeled ‘best’ or ‘informed’. Neither of these philosophies was perfect. As is today, a politicians general belief may conflict with what they ‘know’ is the right thing to do in the situation. Take the Louisiana Purchase by Jefferson. We see earlier that unless the Constitution stated a power was specifically granted to the federal government, it would be transferred to the state.
However, at this time, Jefferson as president, was altering treaties and ultimately buying land when he himself admitted it was unconstitutional in private. Jefferson believed in the land so much that he knew his contradiction would not be as powerful as the production of the newly acquired land. We see now that the emergence of two political parties such as the Federalists and Republicans helped bring issues to the forefront of the national spectrum that were in desperate need of attention.