During the development of the young country of the United States of America, everyone had the
ability to include their opinions on any subject. But many times, only a few voices were actually listened
to. In this case Thomas Jefferson, a Republican, and Alexander Hamilton, a Federalist, were two of the
most prominent people in the production of this government. Although disagreement was very common
with these two, their contradictions definitely attributed to the development of America.
During the first term of presidency Alexander Hamilton had the advantage over Jefferson since he
was a great ally with the president George Washington. At this time Hamilton was chosen as the Secretary
of Treasury, which was an important job. Hamilton created financial plans that would supposedly clear the
debt of the United States. During one situation, Hamilton produced a deal with Jefferson and his
Republican friends that moved the nations capitol to Philadelphia. But that was one of the very few
agreements between the two.
One very popular debate occurred soon after the nations capitol moved. It is referred to as the debate
between a “broad” and a “strict” construction of the new Constitution. Hamilton came up with a bank
proposal that would produce banks around the country. Hamiltons idea was to keep the current of
commerce flowing, and to keep business leaders happy by building a bank capitol. Thomas Jefferson was
in great opposition to this idea. He and his friends explained that they did not want a country fill with
cities, mills, mines, and factories; they would much rather see the farming production prosper in this
country. Jefferson and his colleagues had bent their ideas with the national and state debts, but in no way
would they receive the bank proposal lying down. They complained that the Constitution did not give
Congress power to build banks; therefore, they should not be permitted. Hamilton, on the hand, explained
that the Constitution stated that the government would pr!
oduce a proper way of managing money, which the bank was for. George Washington believed arguments
by both Hamilton and Jefferson, but he decided to sign the bill. As a result, economy was greatly affected
in Americas development.
Another great disagreement between the two was the whole idea of foreign affairs. The Federalists, led by
Hamilton, supposedly believed that they should have never broken from the great empire. In times of war
they repeatedly showed favoritism to Great Britain, the supposed enemies. The Republicans, led by
Jefferson and Madison, favored the country of France and the common citizens of the country. They
influenced the common people of France to overthrow the French Nobility.
A third difference of opinion centered around life styles of the American people. Basically Jefferson
despised the idea of a New York City kind of country, he believed it would bring crime and other
consequences. Jefferson wanted a more of a Wisconsin type of country, where everyone owned their own
land and had their own type of freedom. Hamilton and the Federalists had totally different beliefs, wanting
cities and factories in the country.
After the election of John Adams in 1796 differences between the ideas of Jefferson and Hamilton grew
larger. The acts produced by the Federalist party deeply troubled Jefferson and the Republicans. Although
a little harsh, the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, produced a way for the Federalists to revolt against
Republican opposition and to increase power for themselves. These acts did not permit anyone to criticize
the government at all, through writing, or any other way. It also extended the time to become an American
citizen, since the Federalists believed that most of the foreigners would become Republicans. This deeply
troubled Jefferson and Madison, but they had to find a way to fight back for the Republicans. Jefferson
reacted with the production of the Kentucky Resolutions, which permitted states the power to judge a bill
or law, unconstitutional, or invalid. This allowed the states to control the laws that would circulate their
area. This, and other reactions !
by the Republicans contradicted the acts produced by the Federalists and almost equalized power on both
As you can see, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson argued about many subjects to argue about.
Since they were from different parties of government, new arguments would arise all the time. Only when
Jefferson became president did these continual arguments cease. During the election, Hamilton finally
admitted that Jefferson was “not such a bad guy after all”. There might have been many differences of
opinion, but there was certainly a respect for each other.
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