SENN HIGH SCHOOL
HAMILTON VS. JEFFERSON
For Hamilton: The Federalists-led by Hamilton, Adams, Jay, Marshall, and Pickering; including merchants, urban upper classes and conservative clergy.
For Jefferson: The Republicans-led by Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Burr; including farmers, Westerners and urban craft workers and tradespeople.
ISSUE # 1: Loose or strict construction. Should the Constitution be interpreted loosely to grant implied powers to the federal government?
Federalist Hamilton: “The means by which national exigencies are to be provided for, national inconveniences obviated, national prosperity promoted are of such infinite variety, extent, and complexity, that there must of necessity be great latitude of discretion in the selection and application of these means. If the end be clearly comprehended within any of the specified powers, and if the measure have an obvious relation to the end, and it is not forbidden by any particular provision of the constitution, it may safely be deemed to come within the compass of the national authority.’
Republican Jefferson: “I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground-that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, or to the people. To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.”
ISSUE #2: Manufacturing versus agriculture. Should urban commerce and manufacturing be promoted as much as agriculture?
Federalist Hamilton: AThe spirit of enterprise, useful and prolific as it is, must necessarily be contracted or expanded, in proportion to the simplicity or variety of the occupations and productions which are to be found in a society. It must be less in a nation of mere cultivators, than in a nation of the mass of less in a nation of mere cultivators, than in a nation of than in a nation of cultivators and merchants; cultivators and merchants; less in a nation of mere cultivators, artificers, and merchants.
Republican Jefferson: “Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue....Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example.... Generally speaking the proportion which the aggregate of the other classes of citizens bears in any state to that of its husbandmen, is the proportion of its unsound to its healthy parts....The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body.
ISSUE #3: Should the common people be trusted with government?
Federalist Hamilton: “All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well born; the other, the mass of the people. The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second; and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government.”
Republican Jefferson: “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; wherever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them right.”
“I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom.
“The mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.”
ISSUE #4: The French Revolution. Should the United States view the French Revolution with sympathy and approval?
Federalist Hamilton: “The cause of France is compared with that of America during its late revolution. Would to heaven that the comparison were just. Would to heaven that we could discern in the mirror of French affairs the same humanity, the same decorum, the same gravity, the same order, the same dignity, the same solemnity, which distinguished the cause of the American Revolution. Clouds and darkness would not then rest upon the issue as they now do. I own I do not like the comparison.”
Republican Jefferson: “I still hope the French Revolution will end happily. I feel that the permanence of our own leans in some degree on that; and that a failure there would be a powerful argument to prove there must be a failure here.
“My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause, but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated; were there but an Adam and Eve left in every country, and left free, it would be better than it now is.”
ISSUE #5: The National Bank. Should the USA have a National Bank?
Federalist Hamilton: “It is not denied that there are implied well as express powers, and that the former are as effectually delegated as the latter.”
“…that as a power of erecting a corporation may as well be implied as any other thing, it may as well be employed as an instrument or mean of carrying into execution any of the specified powers,”
“The proposed bank is to consist of an association of persons, for the purpose of creating a joint capital, to be employed, chiefly and essentially, in loans. So far, the object is not only lawful, but it is the mere exercise of a right which the law allows to every individual.”
“Accordingly, it is affirmed, that it [the bank] has a relation, more or less direct, to the power of collecting taxes; to that of borrowing money; to that of regulating trade between the States…”
“And in the last place, it will be argued, that it is clearly within the provision which authorizes the making of all needful rules and regulations concerning the property of the United States, as the same has been practised upon by the Government.”
“For the simplest and most precise idea of a bank is, a deposit of coin or other property, as a fund for circulating a credit upon it, which is to answer the purpose of money.”
“To deny the power of the Government to add this ingredient to the plan, would be to refine away all government.”
Republican Jefferson: “I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That "all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people." To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.”
“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.”
“To "regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the States, and with the Indian tribes." To erect a bank, and to regulate commerce, are very different acts.”
“It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.”
“The second general phrase is, "to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers." But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank therefore is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase.”
“All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and the well born; the other, the mass of the people. The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second; and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government.
Can a democratic assembly, who annually [through annual elections] revolve in the masses of the people, be supposed steadily to pursue the public good? Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy. Their turbulent and uncontrolling disposition requires checks.” (1787)
“I have an indifferent [low] opinion of the honesty of the country, and ill forebodings as to its future system”(1783).
“A firm Union will be of the utmost moment to the peace and liberty of the states, as a barrier against domestic faction and insurrection.” (1787)
“A state government will ever be the rival power of the general government.” (1787)
“As to the destruction of the state governments, the great and real anxiety is to be able to preserve the national [government] from the too potent and counteracting influence of those governments…As to the state governments, the prevailing bias of my judgment is that they can be circumscribed within bounds consistent with the preservation of the national government, they will prove useful and salutary.” (1792)
“A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.” (1781)
“If all the public creditors receive their dues from one source…their interest will be the same. And having the same interests, they will unite in support of the fiscal arrangements of the government.” (1791)
“Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue.” (1784)
“Men…are naturally divided into two parties. Those who fear and distrust the people…Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe…depository of the public interest.” (1824)
“The mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, not a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.” (1826)
“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers…alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” (1787)
“I have a great confidence in the common sense of mankind in general.” (1800)
“I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive. It places the governors indeed more at their ease, at the expense of the people.” (1787)
“If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruptions.” (1822)
“Our country is too large to have its affairs directed by a single government.” (1800)
“…No man is more ardently intent to see the public debt soon and sacredly paid off then I am. This exactly marks the difference between Colonel Hamilton’s views and mine, that I would wish the debt paid tomorrow; he wishes it never to be paid, but always to be a thing wherewith to corrupt and mange the legislature [Congress].” (1792)