Thomas Jefferson vs. Alexander Hamilton

Essay by lilsmooth06High School, 10th gradeA, June 2006

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

The United States was founded without political parties, but differences in the ideologies between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists formed a basis for two new parties, formed around two very important men. Alexander Hamilton, the leader of the Federalist Party, and Thomas Jefferson, the leader of the new Democratic Republicans, shared many different visions for the future of America, stemming back from their days on George Washington's cabinet. As the country flourished, and these two became leaders of America's political parties, their views on foreign policy, the federal government versus state governments, and economic policies contrasted even more.

The national government was just beginning to work well, and after the ratification of the Constitution, the state and local governments still very strong. Hamilton, a lax Constitutionalist, wanted an organized strong central government, fearing anarchy without a central power. He felt one strong government would be able to deal with national problems much more efficiently than many state and local governments, in which strong divisions might arise.

Jefferson wanted things to stay the way they were with the state and local governments in charge, fearing another monarchy. This caused him to become a strict Constitutionalist. By doing carefully analyzing the Constitution, Jefferson would be able to see any loopholes in it, allowing the state laws to override the federal laws.

Jefferson and Hamilton also did not agree on foreign policy. During the beginnings of the French Revolution both were glad the French were using America's independence as an example to improve their country. When things got bloody, Jefferson still supported the French cause, stating the violence was necessary. Hamilton, along with the other Federalists were frightened and opposed to the situation. Afterwards, when Britain and France went to war, Jefferson and his party strongly stayed on the side of...