How did the debate between Jefferson and Hamilton mark the political system of the United States? When George Washington`s government began, the two camps that had formed during the debates over the ratification of the Constitution – the groups known as federalists and antifederalists – had not yet consolidated into parties. But disagreements over the direction of the nation were already undermining any hope of political unity. In May 1792, Jefferson Washington expressed his fear of Hamilton`s policies, calling Hamilton`s allies in Congress a “corrupt squadron.” He expressed concern that Hamilton would want to move away from the republican structure of the Constitution to a monarchy inspired by the English Constitution. That same month, Hamilton confided to a friend that “Mr. Madison, who is with Mr. Jefferson working together, is the leader of a group that is resolutely hostile to me and my government, and. “dangerous for the Union, the peace and happiness of the country”. Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, May 23, 1792 and Alexander Hamilton to Edward Carrington, May 26, 1792 to Jefferson vs. Hamilton: Confrontations that Shaped a Nation, hrsg. by Noble E. Cunningham, Jr Boston: Bedford St. Martins Press, 2000. Although the two men participated in revolutionary efforts and the founding of the United States, Jefferson and Hamilton did not work together until Washington appointed Jefferson first secretary of state and Hamilton first secretary of the Treasury.
From the beginning, the two men had opposing visions of the path of the nation. Jefferson believed that America`s success was in its agricultural tradition. Hamilton`s economic plan depended on the promotion of manufacturers and trade. While Hamilton was suspicious of the will of the people and believed that the federal government must exercise considerable power to lead a successful path, Jefferson trusted the people as governor. Perhaps because of their disagreements, Washington has made these men its closest advisers. Jefferson warned Americans against the central banking system. “If ever the American people allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first through inflation and then through deflation, the banks and corporations that grow around them will deprive people of all possessions until their children wake up homeless on the continent conquered by their fathers.” Jefferson believed in a pastoral ideal of small farmers, he represented the interests of southern landowners, while Hamilton represented east coast traders. Hamilton`s economic plan for the nation included the creation of a national bank, as in England, to maintain the solvency of the public; consolidation of the debt of the Länder under the Federal Government; and the introduction of protective tariffs and government subsidies to encourage U.S. producers. All these measures have strengthened federal power to the detriment of the Länder. Jefferson and his political allies opposed these reforms.
Francophile Jefferson feared that the Bank of the United States represented too much English influence, and he argued that the Constitution did not give Congress the power to create a bank. He did not believe that the promotion of factories was as important as supporting the already established agricultural base. Jefferson regarded “those who work on earth” as the “chosen people of God . . . Whose breasts he deposited in a special way for a substantial and real virtue. He advised his compatriots to “let our workshops stay in Europe.” Thomas Jefferson believed in a small government, while Halmiton wanted a larger central government.