Jefferson and Himilton

by Tawna Fifer, June 2014

600 words

2 pages


When we speak about American history and the roots of democracy within the United States, we mostly think about two remarkable politicians of the time ̶ Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Having completely opposite points of view, these men became antagonists and the founders of the two main political Parties of the United States of America: Democratic-Republican Party and Federalist Party. “Jefferson was a strict constructionist. He desired a limited government, and thought Congress should be restricted to the enumerated powers of the Constitution... Hamilton, on the other hand, believed in a strong and energetic central government... He also favored a strong executive power.” (

The disagreements between Jefferson and Hamilton can be viewed in every aspect of their believes. Thomas Jefferson was a protagonist of the common people and supported the idea that anyone could be elected to the Government. Alexander Hamilton, however, believed that only rich people should rule the country. This was one of the main reasons of Jefferson's saying that “Hamilton was not only a monarchist, but for a monarchy bottomed on corruption.” ( Nevertheless, a historian K. Anthony Scott sees the situation rather differently: “Hamilton was not the only individual who manipulated the common law; Jefferson was an accomplice, though perhaps unwittingly. Jefferson's thought on the subject was less grounded in political philosophy, and more in political maneuvering. What we see in Jefferson is a man who tries to eliminate his enemies, but loses sight of how his immediate actions impact his long-term political ideals.” (Scott, p. 72) There were also other differences in the believes of how the country should function. Jefferson saw the United States of America as a democratic society with the appropriate government which should be stronger within each separate state. He believed that laws must protect the individual liberties. Hamilton saw the the strength of America in the powerful central government; he also believed in some restrictions of individual liberties. ( Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson had also opposite ideas concerning the economics of the United States of America. Hamilton saw American Economy as a balanced force of agriculture, trade, finance, and manufacturing. He established a national bank, wanted to maintain internal taxes and to use the national debt to establish credit. ( Jefferson, on the contrary opposed the establishment of a national bank, wanted to eliminate internal taxes and pay off the national debt. He trusted in agriculture to be the main power of the successful Economy of the United States. ( Despite of Jefferson's democratic views, K. Anthony Scott criticizes his lack of judgment: “Jefferson's concerns over the centralizing tendencies of judiciary were well-founded, but the way he sought to combat the problem did more to expedite the process of centralization than hinder it. Furthermore, his opposition to federal common law undermined the states' application of common law... moreover, he should have spent more time asserting the role of the state judiciary rather than degrading the federal.” (Scott, p. 77)

Nevertheless, both politicians, …

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