Sample History Questions on Hamilton vs. Jefferson

Sample History Questions on Hamilton vs. Jefferson

Question 1

In the early 17th century, the American political scene was characterized by conflict between two major first political parties.  Alexander Hamilton was the pioneer of the Federalists whereas Thomas Jefferson led the Republicans, also referred to as Democratic-Republicans (Bowers 4).  Hamilton and Jefferson often had different political, economic, and social views, a scenario that made their schools of thought an intriguing concept to evaluate.

Federalists firmly believed in commerce and trade, which they considered the pillar of a progressive world.  According to Federalists, establishing a central government would be a crucial step to facilitate public finances and stabilize the economy.  On the other hand, the Republicans’ primary interest was in agriculture, unlike their counterparts who believed in trade.  Jefferson had little faith in bankers, commerce, and manufacturing.  The Republicans believed that freedom and democracy thrived in a society full of independent farmers.  Besides, they had no interest in centralizing the government because they perceived it to be a platform for oppression. Therefore, they strongly stood by the state’s rights.  Hamilton’s objective was to have a stable central government, as he feared anarchy disorganization. Conversely, Jefferson feared tyranny and was attracted to freedom.

When it came to the need for the Bill of Rights, Hamilton thought of it as unnecessary and dangerous.  He perceived the rights to have several exceptions to legitimate powers, which would lead to good pretexts to acquire more power.  For instance, Hamilton saw no point in attributing liberty to the press under no restraint while no such power was given. Hence, their philosophy required individual rights such as freedom and speech to be sometimes limited. On the other hand, Jefferson believed that having the Bill of Rights was essential to every government and every citizen was entitled to the rights. According to the Federalists, all men were created equal and were born with special unalienable rights of liberty, life, and the quest for happiness.  Therefore, to maintain these rights, the government must establish the Bill of Rights because laws must protect liberties.

Furthermore, the two men had different views concerning the support of the affluent in the society or the great mass of the people.  For instance, Jefferson distrusted special privileges whereas Hamilton viewed people as chaotic and rigid to change. He saw the society to be divided into the rich and the mass of the citizens.  According to him, handing over the power to the rich was necessary because the ordinary people acted foolishly an implication that the greatest error made by individuals is trusting humanity.

There is agreement with Hamilton’s points of view especially when it comes to the structure of the government. Having a central government represents an organization and is highly likely to protect the rights of his citizens. Besides, having a living rather than a strict constitution was favourable to the state. One of the advantages that arose from these conflicts is that new and important interpretation of the Constitution was established.  In one way or the other, the two agreed on paying the national debt by placing the credit on the government.

Question 2

The revolutionary conflicts and divisions between the federalists and republicans set the pace for the successive history of the United States.  The concepts of liberty and patriotism were not left behind in the party conflicts and civil debates. The two counterparts and the founders of the constitution initiated conflicts about freedom and patriotism.  A majority of Americans who fought for their rights, as well as the growth of the country, were perceived to be patriotic.  Their principles originated from the love they had for their country. According to many American citizens, patriotism does not mean sharing our principles concerning freedom of other citizens. However, it refers to engaging fellow citizens on productive matters that do not involve physical violence.  The conflicts that may arise from these engagements act as channels of achieving liberty and happiness in life (Chittick 7).  Hence, true patriotism demands the citizens to overcome these conflicts as well as any political turmoil.

Liberty is the backbone on which the United States was built, and it defines Americans. Unlike the beliefs in patriotism, liberty is worth fighting for, because without it there would be no patriotism. More often, the tensions between patriotism and liberty arise from their principles. For instance, patriots believe in their ideals and not the place. According to them, nothing is interesting about a country lacking ideals. Conversely, liberty is all about mentality whether one’s country is right or wrong. Liberty tends to fight for the freedom of the people.

In most cases, patriots are considered mechanical nationalists who lack serious critics concerning their country or government. It will always manifest hatred to other citizens who have different opinions. Hence, in many governments across the world, it is most likely to find conflicts arising between freedom fighters and patriotic citizens. Even though there have been tensions between the two concepts, it is rational to acknowledge that they have helped in the transformation of the constitution as well as the interpretive enhancement disputes.



Work Cited

Bowers, Claude G. Jefferson And Hamilton The Struggle For Democracy In America.       Kessinger Publishing, 2004.

Chittick, Kathryn. The Language of Whiggism: Liberty and Patriotism, 1802–1830.           Routledge, 2015