Therewas a difference between the Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian conceptions of whatAmerica should be. Who should we thankfor the constitution that we have today? Many people would approach thatquestion differently. Long time ago in 1789, GeorgeWashington became President of the United States and there wereno political parties at that time. But they first emerged during Washington’sfirst term in the office with the Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Party, whichwas in 1791 and in the following year, the formation of the Anti-FederalistParty or Democratic-Republicans under the leadership of ThomasJefferson. The two political parties formulated their views ofhow government ought to operate in the new republic.
Which were the Federalistparty and the Anti-federalist party. They emerged because the articles of confederationweren’t strong enough to keep America strong. During the Constitutional Convention, therepresentatives analyzed, argued, and debated of the new Constitution.
GeorgeMason begged with the fifty-five delegates for the inclusion of a list of guaranteedrights. Mason or how some called him “father of the Bill of Rights”, wanted thenew Constitution to guarantee freedom of speech, press, and religion, and theright to a fair jury trial. By 1783, all thirteen colonies had some version ofa bill of rights. “I rejoice that liberty…now finds an asylum in the bosom of aregularly organized government; a government, which, being formed tosecure the happiness of the French people, corresponds with the ardent wishesof my heart, while it gratifies the pride of every citizen of the UnitedStates, by its resemblance to their own” said George Washington,(Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1931–1944).George Washington hated political parties because they divided the nation andthat they evoked hatred towards other people who were on the side of theopposing political.
He wanted peace and unity, not division and anger. Parties tended to promote their own interests instead of looking forwhat is best for the country. But on September 1787, Mason proposed thata bill of rights should be added to the Constitution. However, the idea wasturned down. George Mason, along with Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and otherAnti-Federalists, opposed ratifying the Constitution. But, upon the promisefrom George Washington and other Federalists to add a bill of rights, theConstitution was ratified by nine of the thirteen states.Underthe articles of confederation, the United States were not fully structured as agreat nation but upon the upcoming of federalism and anti-federalism thecountry became even more politically divided.
Americans basically had to choosea side whether to have a strong central government or have individual stateshave all the power. The Americans who lived in rural areas well supported theanti-federalist while those living in urban areas went alongside thefederalists. Americans faced the dilemma of not having the powers and rightsgiven to them benefit everyone but only a select area. The topic becamecontroversial under the presidency of George Washington but the federalistparty only stayed in power until about 1815. Although both parties no longerhad power when looking upon our governmental structure now and how it wasduring the 1700s through early 1800s it is shown that Hamilton’s vision forAmerica has maintained the greatest longevity.
To this day, the federalist’sviews of having a strong federal government are still a part of what we havetoday which is called “the era of balanced federalism”. Some historians have used theHamilton/Jefferson dichotomy to explain American history even into the 20thcentury. The arguments between theFederalist and Anti-Federalist party basically spun around the ratification ofthe Constitution. The Anti-Federalists did not favor the ratification of the Constitution,they simply wanted a change with some basis of the Articles of Confederation. Onthe other hand, the Federalists were not an aggressive party, they just triedto have all the answers to the Anti-Federalists complaints, their goal wassimply to establish a Constitution that’s fair. But the main problems were thatthe power and the lack of human rights were unbalanced.
The state governmenthad way too much power, and trials were not even close to be fair. WithHamilton’s financial plan, and the ideas and concerns of the Anti-Federalists,a fair Constitution was created.Thesedifferent perspectives challenge conventional oppositions between concentratedpower and democratic legitimacy and between popular participation and effectivegovernment. They also illustrate how republican forms of accountability canserve conflicting agendas. “These different perspectives challenge conventionaloppositions between concentrated power and democratic legitimacy and betweenpopular participation and effective government. They also illustrate howrepublican forms of accountability can serve conflicting agendas. Drawing fromthese debates can help clarify challenges faced today by those seeking tocreate global governance institutions that are both effective and legitimate”( Craig T.
Borowiak HaverfordCollege).Drawingfrom these debates can help clarify challenges faced today by those seeking tocreate global governance institutions that are both effective and legitimate.Both Hamilton and Jefferson haddifferent point of views on who should govern, on the structure of thegovernment, on economics and on the foreign policies. Each of their viewpointsseem workable. Jefferson had a deep faith in the common people, especially thefarm workers. He distrusted special privileges and wanted to lower the votingqualifications.
He favored the weak central government, but strong stategovernments. He referred to a more democratic government. The Jeffersonian, theDemocratic-Republican Party, was made up of artisans, shopkeepers, frontiersettlers and small farmers, basically the lower classes.
They were strong inthe south, southwest and on the frontier. Wanted to reduce the number offederal employees. He believed that individual liberties must be protected bylaws. “You say that I have been dished up to you as an antifederalist, and askme if it be just. My opinion was never worthy enough of notice to merit citing;but since you ask it I will tell it you.
I am not a Federalist, because I neversubmitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of menwhatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where Iwas capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradationof a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, Iwould not go there at all. Therefore I protest to you I am not of the party offederalists. But I am much farther from that than of the Antifederalists” saidThomas Jefferson. (Letter to Francis Hopkinson 13 March 1789).Meanwhile Hamilton believed thatthe common people often acted foolish, and that the rich were educated andwellborn and they should be the ones who should rule.
Had the total oppositethought from Jefferson and wanted to raise the voting qualifications. They werethe federalists party and were consisted of bankers, manufacturers, merchants,professional people and the wealthy farmers. They had the most support in NewEngland and along the Atlantic coast. Because they supported Britain which wastheir parent country. They thought that the American government should bemodeled the same as the British system, therefore, wanting to increase thenumber of federal employees. The very idea of federalism was best put in thewords of James Madison, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative,executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many,and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronouncedthe very definition of tyranny” (James Madison,Federalist Papers).
True independence, is not only the absence of physical restraint and control,but also the flourishing of an autonomous and free character.The argument of the Federalistsand Anti-Federalists made our Constitution today. When opportunities foradvancing, liberty arise, the United States is entitled to make prudentdistinctions about commitments relative to our interests and sovereignresponsibilities, including the larger cause of liberal democracy.
” Every manwho loves peace, every man who loves his country, every man who loves liberty oughtto have it ever before his eyes that he may cherish in his heart a dueattachment to the Union of America and be able to set a due value on the meansof preserving it”( James MadisonTheFederalist Papers Federalist No. 41). The principal duty this nation hastoward the world is to remain strong and independent so that the United Statescan maintain the freedom to advance and, when necessary, defend freedom in theworld.