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Time after Victory: Thomas Jefferson Vs Alexander Hamilton

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After the victory of the colonies in the Revolutionary War, the United States of America was left on their own to govern themselves with the first attempt being the Articles of Confederation failed terribly. George Washington devised a new method of governing with the Constitution to ensure a more stable government. After the end of the Revolutionary war in 1783, Washington was elected as the first president of the United States soon after the Revolutionary war in 1783. The positions of office were carefully selected to cater to an America that had not yet established recognition as a legitimate country due to its debt to its soldiers and France, which totaled up to 81 million USD. Washington appointed four men in his cabinet to help him run the newly formed nation, two being right-hand men of Washington: Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Both had strong but conflicting visions; one being a Federalist and the other being Democratic-Republican; respectively. Jefferson advocated to increase the people’s activity in the government, although both figures had visions that would serve America justice, Hamilton was more potent at making America flourish economically through his monetary policies. In this essay, we will research the opposition of Thomas Jefferson vs Alexander Hamilton in more detail.

Hamilton vouched for a strong national government that would support American commerce and promote growth in domestic industries. He recommended policies such as those that promoted manufactories to allow America to operate independently from other countries. He states in Report on Manufactures that “The expediency of encouraging manufactures in the United States were a more extensive demand for Agricultural surplus may be created at home. It is far less difficult to infer generally, that the nett produce of Capital engaged in manufacturing enterprises is greater than that of Capital engaged in Agriculture” (Report on Manufactures). Hamilton’s policies look to create a self-sufficient America in hopes that it would not need to be at the mercy of foreign powers in times of dire need. His other monetary policy of proposed tariffs, which caused polarizing views from certain American demographics, were also established to protect American businesses from the competitive foreign market. Hamilton’s policies, despite being controversial, were undeniably made for the advancement and betterment of America as a whole.

Hamilton’s establishment of a national bank to fix the accumulated debt after the revolutionary war may have been less than ideal, but was realistic and effective to its goals. Hamilton wrote in a letter to an american banker; Robert Morris, that “a national debt if it is not excessive will be to us a national blessing; it will be powerful cement of our union” (Hamilton). With that being said, he was able to relieve some of the foreign debt of $11.6 million, domestic debt of $42.4 million through the sale of bonds, and states’ debts that had accrued to a large $25 million through the national bank (Digital History). The government had to quickly resolve their monetary problems to gain popular support and accumulate credit as a reliable governing body by giving out hefty loans and creating trust between its people. While his methods to go about accomplishing this had come at the expense of certain groups of individuals such as soldiers who sold their war bonds to “speculators,” and wealthy individuals that bought the bonds at a fraction of the price for a higher return in the future. He was able to successfully lower the national debt to a limited, controllable amount by making its interest payments in a timely manner, thus building credit (America’s debt through the eyes of the founder).

Jefferson, despite being widely known as a defender of commoner’s rights, had policies that would be disastrous for the nascent United States of America. Jefferson wanted each individual state to have its own authority, which may seem great in the eyes of the states, but to give individual states greater rights over the federal government would mean regulating many distinct and clashing versions of laws for every state. America’s colonies and states were widely polarized regarding a big political issue: slavery. “Slavery itself was never widespread in the North, though many of the region’s businessmen grew rich on the slave trade and investments in southern plantations. Between 1774 and 1804, all of the northern states abolished slavery, but the so-called ‘peculiar institution’ of slavery remained absolutely vital to the South”. This meant, for the southern state to continue to grow economically, they needed their agricultural plantation but there were already some policies against slavery. If they were to have their own authority, they would work on their own and add policies benefitting their income based on slavery. At that point, America arguably wouldn’t be a united country due to the political turbulence on this issue (which evidently proved itself when the tensions began building leading to the Civil War). Jefferson also was hypocritical regarding the topic of slavery: despite saying that slavery was a “moral depravity” and a “hideous blot,” he owned over six hundred slaves over the course of his life (Jefferson’s Attitude to Slavery), as well as wrote that he suspected black people to be inferior to white people (Monticello). This aspect of Jefferson’s nature degrades him a tremendous amount, but it is also Hamilton’s policies that are much more realistic in growing America during its very beginnings which largely gives Hamilton more credibility. Jefferson’s agrarian ideals and support for states’ rights seem to have no intention of making America a bigger, grander version of what it could be.

Although both Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton did their best to lead Americans in a positive direction towards a bright future, it is evident that Hamilton’s visons were much more effective. Hamilton’s vision for America was necessary for America to thrive as a successful independent state. His support in manufacture commerce and a more centralized bank were all controversial but they all had advantageous long-term effects. The effects of being a more united nation and a depletion in debt allowed Americans to live adequately. Hamilton is still a prominent figure that we look up to and ratified the constitution with The federalist Papers containing 85 essays.

Work Cited

  1. Alexander, Hamilton. “From Alexander Hamilton to Robert Morris, [30 April 1781].” National Archives and Records Administration, Columbia University Press, 30 Apr. 1781,
  2. “Alexander Hamilton’s Financial Program .” Digital History, Digital History, 2019,
  3. Hamilton, Alecander. “REPORT ON MANUFACTURES.”, 5 Dec. 1791
  4. “Jefferson’s Attitudes Toward Slavery.” Monticello,
  5. “Monticello.” Notes on the State of Virginia,
  6. Tucker, Rich. “America’s Debt, Through the Eyes of the Founders.” The Heritage Foundation, 8 Oct. 2013,  

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