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Hamilton v. Jefferson


  • Thomas Jefferson - Secretary of State

  • Alexander Hamilton - Secretary of the Treasury

  • Henry Knox - Secretary of War

  • Edmund Randolph - Attorney General




  • Make U.S. a major commercial power

  • By imposing tariffs (Tariff of 1789)

  • And giving government subsidies to industries.

  • Creating U.S. reputation as a credit-worthy nation

  • By assuming state debts ("assumption")

  • And creating a national debt that the U.S. would slowly but reliably pay off.

  • Confederate Congress owed $40 million to American citizens and $11.7 million to France, Spain, Netherlands.

  • Continental dollars had dropped in value - Federal government redeemed them at full value (which favored speculators who had bought the bonds from desperate veterans and farmers for pennies on the dollar)

  • Create a national Bank of the United States

  • The bank would be owned by private investors who would then have a stake in America's economic stability.

  • Justified by the "necessary and proper" clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8)

  • "loose constructionist" interpretation - "implied powers"

  • Said a national bank was necessary to collect taxes, regulate trade and provide for common defense (all duties enumerated/listed in the Constitution)

  • Tax producers of whiskey and other spirits (Taxed in 1791)

  • Excise tax paid by producers rather than consumers.

  • Making U.S. a military power

  • By creating a national army to deal with domestic uprisings like Shays's Rebellion



  • Opponents mostly from agricultural South

  • Supported by Jefferson and Madison

  • Opposed protective tariff because helped New England and hurt farmers (who had to buy manufactured goods)

  • Anger over payment of bonds at full value

  • Which favored speculators and unfair to original buyers of the bonds.

  • Upset because Northerners owned most of the bonds.

  • Anger over assumption

  • Some states (like Virginia) had been taxing Virginians to pay off state debt.

  • Now they would pay more to pay off debts collected from other states.

  • Anger over bank

  • Jefferson believed in "strict constructionist" interpretation of the Constitution (bank not in Constitution)

  • Anger of Whiskey Tax

  • Farmers in West used whiskey as currency

  • Easiest way to transport grain to Eastern markets was to convert it into whiskey.

  • Spanish had closed the Mississippi River

  • Whiskey Rebellion 1794

  • Western Pennsylvania

  • Farmers terrorized tax collectors, stopped court proceedings (like Shays's Rebellion)

  • Proved democracy in hands of ordinary citizens was dangerous

  • Washington sent 15,000 troops to successfully crush rebellion.

  • Showed federal government stronger than Confederate Congress.

  • But harsh treatment of U.S. citizens worried people.



  • French Revolution officially began July 14, 1789 (Storming of the Bastille)

  • Became radical by 1793

  • King Louis XVI guillotined.

  • Sparked war with European monarchs (Prussia, Austria, Russia, Great Britain)

  • Prussia, Austria and Russia subdued by Napoleon leaving only Great Britain.

  • U.S. involvement

  • George Washington had declared American neutrality

  • ​Said U.S. not strong enough to get involved with foreign wars.

  • But, U.S. had made an agreement with France in return for aid in American Revolution

  • but felt culturally and economically closer to Great Britain.

  • Federalists supported Britain

  • Democratic-Republicans supported France

  • Jays Treaty



  • Jefferson agreed that southerners would accept Hamilton's plan in exchange for national capital to the South

  • South objected to a capital in New York

  • South objected to a capital in Pennsylvania because of gradual emancipation.

  • New capital would be placed at the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia

  • Named after George Washington ("Washington," District of Columbia)

  • The capital would temporarily move from NY to Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

  • Capital was designed by Pierre-Charles L'Enfant in 1791

  • Designed so troops could be stationed around the city in case of an attack.



  • New political parties

  • Supporters of Jefferson gathered as the Jeffersonian-Republicans or Democratic-Republicans (Republicans)

  • Supporters of Hamilton became Federalist Party

  • Expanding the public sphere

  • Revolution and political discussions deepened democratization

  • Because of debates, more people began gathering and discussing politics

  • Democratic-Republican Societies formed from 1793-94

  • Said political liberty not just voting but involvement in public affairs.

  • Increasing number of newspapers.

  • Women

  • Women began to take part in the political discussions and read newspapers

  • Called for better education for women.

  • Mary Wollstonecraft (wrote "Vindication of the Rights of Women")

  • Judith Sargent Murray (wrote "On the Equality of the Sexes," 1790)

  • Said women are as intellectually capable as men and should have economic independence.

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