Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton Essay (Critical Writing)

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Introduction

The Democratic-Republicans and the federalists contributed tremendously to the US politics which was faced with a lot of opposition from both sides and the forces behind this were between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

They had remained as icons of the ancient politics and this was clearly manifested from their differences in opinions in every aspect on crucial matters, be it in the Constitutional affairs or in the matters of economy. Therefore, their differences contributed significantly in matters of rights versus federal authority, which resulted to them impacting hugely to the US politics.

Differences between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton

According to Howard & Pintozzi (2008, 78) the differences between the two was quite obvious in the respect that Alexander Hamilton was a federalists while Thomas Jefferson a Democratic-Republican who was considered to be a prophet of the enlightenment (Katz 1976, 342). Differences in their opinions and thinking could be seen where Federalist Alexander Hamilton preferred a strong central government, as opposed to that of the state retaining its authority which was favored by Thomas Jefferson.

More of this was also seen where; Alexander Hamilton wanted the power to be in the hands of the well-educated and wealthy persons, other than being in the hands of the people. Thomas Jefferson on the other hand preferred the land owners and the elite ruling class to hold this kind of privilege.

Economy was also a major concern for the two, which saw Thomas Jefferson promoting Agriculture as the future for the country, as opposed to that of shipping, manufacturing and commerce which was favored by Alexander Hamilton.

All their opinions were based on major aspects of the country which needed to be transformed and this resulted to them having followers, although their followers believed that none of them was addressing their issues. (Sandel 1997, 167) Still on their differences, Alexander Hamilton was known to interpret the Constitution loosely meaning that the powers would be given freely without being stated as opposed to strict adherence which was supported by Thomas Jefferson.

The Impact

Their differences resulted to them having different views on every aspect in the political arena. In that respect, the Democratic-Republican (Thomas Jefferson) favored the French, since he believed that the French Revolution was capable of producing a government that was similar to that of the American’s political alignment. The sentiments were not felt by the opposition side since they favored the neutrality in that domain.

Therefore, the Federalists (Alexander Hamilton) had a notion that the French Revolution was having a negative influence in their country’s politics. He believed in a central government where the power was held by a few people and he feared that the spread of other ideas might bring a rebellion of a mighty nature (Howard and Pintozzi 2008, 110). Jefferson on the other side ventured for another weapon that revolved around the pernicious ideas (Appleby 1982, 83).

In the end, this resulted to the Congress passing a law during the year of John Adams administration giving rise to the naturalization Act. It demanded that a person must stay for fourteen years before citizenship could be issued. With that, the Alien Act was given the orders of arresting and detaining foreigners who did not meet the criteria. More concern was further driven towards the Sedition Act, which limited the freedom of speech and expression.

Federalist therefore used the Alien and Sedition Act in order to silence the critics (Democratic-Republicans). To Jefferson and others, this appeared to be abuse of power while on the other hand; it helped them since the immigrants who had been staying in the country were poor and hence drawn to their Democratic-Republicans. With such laws in place, the less fortunate could not vote in any elections. (Howard and Pintozzi 2008, 116)

Later on, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison produced a note to the Sedition Act and Alien in the form of Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, which stated that if a state believed that the federal law was to be unconstitutional then they were not at liberty to follow it. According to Martin (1999, 103) the Sedition Act was an example of a “hbel” statute, which was meant to overthrow the federalist (Howe 1967, 55).

This later came to be the Doctrine of Nullification meaning that the state could nullify a national law if they believed in it having a negative impact on the Constitution. The debate of rights versus federal authority played a part and this led to the Civil War which was heavily attributed by the differences in character between the federalist (Alexander Hamilton) and the Democratic-Republicans (Thomas Jefferson) (Mason 1952, 234).

Conclusion

As discussed above, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton had differences in opinions which were manifested in every step of their political life. This led to the formation of the two groups, that is, the Democratic-Republicans and the federalists, which they served including other members who shared the same sentiments. They were the main drivers of politics in the early years and this resulted to a number of things being enacted, such as the Sedition Act among others.

Reference List

Appleby, Joyce. 1982. What Is Still American in the Political Philosophy of Thomas Jefferson? Omuhundro Institute of Early American History and Culture

Howard, Kindred and Pintozzi, Duke. 2008. American Book Company’s passing the North Carolina US History End-Of Course test Diagnostic Test. Woodstock: GA.

Howe, John. 1967. Republican Thought and the Political Violence of the 1790s. NY: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Katz, Stanley. 1976. Thomas Jefferson and the Right to property in Revolutionary America. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Martin, James. 1999. When Repression Is Democratic and Constitutional: The Federalist Theory of Representation and the Sedition Act of 1798. HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library. Mexico.

Mason, Thomas, Alpheus. 1952. The federalist- A Split Personality. American Historical Association. Vol 223 (2)

Sandel, Michael. 1997. Keynote Address: Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy. HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library.

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