Economic Transition in Hamilton’s and Jefferson’s Views Essay
An Economy in Transition
Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson are the two of the most influential people of their epoch who made a great impact on determining the path of the newly-established republic. Both of them claimed that the national focus is the best way for the country. However, the key difference in their opinions was also evident. Namely, Hamilton stated that wealthy aristocracy should lead the government while Jefferson believed that common people’s interests should be valued above all.
Let us take a closer look at the visions of Hamilton and Jefferson and their consequences in economic transition. Hamilton supported a strong national government. Along with this, there appear new forms of employment arrangements such as paternalistic employment including apprenticeship and indenturing (Oakes et al. 264). It ensured the establishment of wage labors as well as labor contracts. In turn, Jefferson proposed commercial laws to encourage international market trade. Taking into account that Napoleon strived to spread the French Revolution through Europe, the latter was in was experiencing a decrease in trade. As a result of this situation, “American shipping tonnage tripled between 1780 and 1810, reaching almost 11 million tons annually” (Oakes et al. 264). A huge increase in overseas shipping was also induced by the strong support of business services in harbor cities. Also, Jefferson sponsored the U.S. Embargo Act of 1807 aimed to encourage England and France to respect American rights. This initiative led to the decline in international trade as American trade representatives were unable to sell their products overseas while other countries still could export their goods to the US market.
With the implementation of the Land Act of 1800 suggested by Harrison and supported by Hamilton, the size of the minimum parcel was reduced by half. Furthermore, “in 1804, the minimum size was decreased to 160 acres and the price reduced from $ 2.00 to $ 1.64 an acre” (Oakes et al. 266). Although prices were still high, the mentioned reductions allowed plenty of settlers and newcomers to improve their financial conditions. At the same time, the Treaty of Greenville opened the route through the Appalachian Mountains to Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio (Oakes et al. 266). The two identified measures caused a wave of migration to the trans-Appalachian region. Oakes et al. state that the population of this region grew significantly, for example, “Ohio grew from 42,159 to 581,434 in 1820” (266). The migration embraced various people beginning from sons of poor farmers and hunters to the whole families moving to seek a better life.
Speaking of banks, it is essential to point out that Hamilton implemented loans to both farmers and businessmen that, in turn, lead to the revival of agriculture and industry. As for agriculture, farmers get the opportunity to move to commercially-oriented production. They were interested in traveling to sell their products. There was a prominent steamboat of Fulton and Livingston that was especially important for western rivers transporting people and goods (Oakes et al. 267). The practical value of steamboat was evident due to its speed and convenience and, hence, it became a common transportation means soon.
In conclusion, it should be emphasized that the visions of Hamilton and Jefferson differed in many aspects leading to both positive and negative outcomes. In turn, this clash of opinions resulted in the society split on Federalists supporting Hamilton and Democratic-Republicans encouraging Jefferson that we can observe nowadays as well. This factionalism was considered quite alarming to the Constitution.
Oakes, James, Jeanne Boydston, Jan Ellen Lewis, Karen Dunak, Mark Summers, and Camilla Townsend. “Of the People” History of the United States To 1877. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2015. Print.
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