Our Essay Answer

Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were indeed two great leaders in United States history. They both helped in many ways to shape America in their time. However, these men had very different views on issues concerning government and government interaction with the American people.

    Alexander Hamilton, a Federalist, was a firm believer in the construction of a strong central government and a broad interpretation of the Constitution. This broad interpretation would allow for more government control of the people. He also envisioned a political system run by the capable men of the aristocracy. Hamilton felt that for a government to be run efficiently, it must be run by the educated (of this period, the only ones educated were the rich who could afford the training). The role of the new government of the time was to encourage economic enterprise. Through the office of Secretary of the Treasury he was able to propose the idea of a national bank, the framework of which was based on the Bank of England. This government owned, and run, bank would help the American people recover from the Revolutionary War, regulate currency, and help to control the American economy. During the discussion of this bill for a National Bank the issue of "implied powers" concerning the Constitution arose. The principle of implied powers was that the government possessed the authority to make any laws "necessary and proper" to help and protect the American people. Hamilton felt these implied powers were necessary to run an efficient government because it would protect the people from corruption. He felt that the only way for a government to remain stable is for it to be allowed the flexibility to change and make adjustments with the times. In 1791 the bill for the development of a national bank was passed. The only problem with the issue of implied powers was that no one knew quite where the government would draw the line. In 1798 the government put into practice the policy of implied powers with the Sedition Act. "That if any person shall write, print, utter... scandalous writing against the government of the United States... then by such a person, being therefore convicted... shall be punished by a fine...and imprisonment..."
(G)
. The Sedition Act restricted the people and it showed that the policy of implied powers of the government could be taken too far.

   Thomas Jefferson, one of Hamilton's biggest opposes, was an anti-federalist. He believed that the government should follow a strict interpretation of the Constitution and that the government should not interfere more than it had to in the American people's lives. Jefferson felt that this would prevent government corruption, allow for honest representation of the people. He was for a 'poor man's' government that allowed any one to take office, not just the rich who could afford education. Jefferson's position on the Bank vastly differed from that of Hamilton's. He saw the bank as a direct imposition of the government into the lives of Americans. To Jefferson, the bank would treat the poor man unfairly and it would favor the northeastern manufacturing industry. When the issue of implied powers arose, Jefferson felt that if the government were given the power to make any laws that they deemed necessary the leaders would take advantage of this power. "The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill, have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution."
(A). He felt that the government should work for economic equality which, in turn, the bank would go against because it promoted commerce and domestic manufacturing instead of supporting the farmers.

    In conclusion, these two men both proved to be great leaders in American history and despite their sharp disagreements both showed they were strong patriots who cared greatly about the future of this country.

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