The book written by Noble Cunningham seeks to illustrate some of the contrasting ideas that featured in the making of America as a nation. Richard Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson employed much of these ideas while they were perusing to form and build America. The book offers an analysis and in-depth insight, which surrounded their perception on how the nation was supposed to be governed. It also captures thematic excerpts from the two compositional writings that make readers and researchers understand as well as appreciating their points of views surrounding several issues of planning, implementation as well as the murky issues that surrounded the period of 1778-1805. In fact, Cunningham says, By studying the excerpts bearing the ideologies contained in this document, read gain new insights into the important formative years of the American republic (p.46). Hamilton had differing ideas as compared to Jefferson. His ideologies were centered in finding solutions by employing and promoting new approaches to the economy as well as advocating for the urban mercantile interest. He championed for a stable central government in the in the formulation and promotion of new economic policies that he deemed viable to improve industries and commerce. At the same time, he was advocating for the support of the credit, which was to be boosted by adequate planning. On the other hand, Thomas Jefferson is seen as anti-federalist who always sought to advocates for the rights of the states. Despite the fact that both actors adhered to the application of a central government concerning foreign affairs, Thomas refuted and never recognizes it as an application in other domestic and state matters. Contrary to this, the main argument between the two encompassed the creation of the central bank to inject the necessary resources within the States. Cunningham, however, argued, Jefferson viewed that as a means of centralizing the power of decision making from the states to the central government (p. 65).
According to Wisnewski (91), the two individuals certainly had differing opinions and ideologies concerning the foundation of the American economy. Having left the military, Hamilton served as one of the lawyers in the New York and commenced his political career where he represented New York in the national congress in Philadelphia. At the Philadelphia convention, he attended many meeting, but he did not participate in the drafting of the new constitution. In his perspective, Cunningham asserted that there was the need for a new and much stronger central government to correct the mistake of the previous administration based on the division that had occurred between communities (p. 49). Hamilton asserted this to gain momentum for the idea that he had proposed. When George Washington ascended to power as the first president of USA, he appointed Hamilton as the first secretary of the treasury. In his position, he wrote five key reports that helped to establish the American economy. In one of his reports, he argued that the US government ought to assume the debts of entire state governments. He argued that America still had an infant industry. Nonetheless, Cunningham mentioned that the Congress to pay the interest that the country owes by practicing these principles (p. 48). Hamilton believed that American economy was in the right direction of achieving stability and credibility to the American economic system and therefore required adequate support of public credit (p. 48). In one of the reports, he suggested that the US should shift the bulk of its economy from agricultural industries to manufacturing cottages and sectors to bring more money to the economy.
Named the first secretary of state by George Washington, Jefferson accepted the post an expediently moved to New York City, which was the temporary capital. He tried to incorporate his policies agenda, which languished due to hard times posed by the French revolution. His foreign policy objective, however, went unaddressed despite participating and serving in the cabinet of Washington (Wisnewski 95). When he got another chance to participate in policy discussions, he thought it the best opportunity to incorporate and air his new ideas about democracy, thus shaping the government policies. The fight between the two, however, was less about their personalities but competing for the government visions. Jefferson had imagined a stable government with centralized policy, but he held off the idea, as it relied on domestic matters. According to Cunningham, Jefferson he became more suspicious of anything that could compromise individual self-sufficiency (p. 67). This vision precisely, he shared with Hamilton, and he hoped to use the treasury to make the ideas become a reality.
The contrasting views of the government has held by Thomas and Hamilton presented two different understandings of American people and power. For Hamilton, the American economy and the strength lied in the commerce; America was supposed to be the center of business, entrepreneurship, financing, and bankers. This would mean the government had to help these cadres of people to compete in the global market, as it was national government role to do that. Jefferson, on the other hand, shared the same ideologues with Hamilton for the American commercial might. However, he had just come from Europe where he negotiated free trade treaties. Nonetheless, he disagreed with Hamilton on the basic make-up the American economy and her people. He claimed that Hamiltons financial policies were parasitic commercial entities. Jefferson believed the government should help the farmers and inject economic power to the people; this translated that he championed for a decentralized agrarian republic. However, Cunningham recognized the need for stable central government in other foreign relations but despised it in other aspects (p. 65).
Throughout the excerpt, Cunningham presented words of both Jefferson and Hamilton painting them as people with different personalities since each ascended from the diverse background. Jefferson came from a wealthy heritage while Hamilton rose from the low-income family and many times, he was forced to provide for himself. Nevertheless, they both found themselves struggling from the new emerging young nation. Both made significant contributions to the development because Jefferson drafted the declaration of the independence while Hamilton became one of the leading personalities who advocated for the proposed constitution of the US. In fact, Cunningham put it, as Hamiltons vision was directly and far different from that of Jefferson (p. 71). The Virginian had laid a lot of emphasis on the expansion and preservation of peoples freedom as well as independence. Hamilton emphasized on wellbeing and nations strength. It is evident that Jefferson may not have spent substantive time at the Valley Forge, but the tenure he enjoyed in the diplomatic circles in the Europe strengthened his belief in democracy and civil emancipation, the views, which were not shared by Hamilton. Conversely, Hamilton had faith in capitalist ideas he was exposed to the military in his formative ages a way that Jefferson detested. The differences that emanated from the two created the first two political parties. Jeffersons ideas culminated to Democratic Party while Hamiltons views lead to creation created the national side (Wisnewski 97). The two parties institutionalized their personal and political differences as well as disagreements. Their political opinions spat the country asunder and possibly set America on the political ideologies it still follows right up.
Cunningham, Noble E. Jefferson vs. Hamilton: Confrontations That Shaped a Nation. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. Print.
Wisnewski, J. Review Journal of Political Philosophy Volume 11. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. Internet resource.
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