Washington & Congress, 1789 - 1796. Partisan Politics Emerge During Washington’s Presidency . A Note on George Washington.
Partisan Politics Emerge During Washington’s Presidency
George Washington didn’t really want for this to happen. In his Cabinet, strong personalities and men of ability were brought together. Jefferson and Hamilton were frequently on the opposite side of the issues. Yet, all of the men were patriot Americans. Recognizing this, George Washington tried to project a public image of the disinterested statesman. Privately, he appears to have agreed with Alexander Hamilton more frequently than with Thomas Jefferson.
Thomas Jefferson & the Republicans
Alexander Hamilton & the Federalists
Alexander Hamilton and his Federalists were unconvinced that any rights would be better preserved by placing them in writing. Overall, they believed that the rights were necessary and proper, but they also thought that this went without saying.
Jefferson, Madison, & the Republicans
Alexander Hamilton & the Federalists
Hamilton knew exactly what he was doing when he assumed the debt of each of the states in 1789. By taking the burden of debt off of the states who still owed money to England, France, Holland or Spain, he was justifying the national government’s right to tax its subjects going forward.
Hamilton: IN FAVOR
Hamilton realized that by paying full price on the government bonds, the aristocratic, wealthy, elite would come to support the government. If a few of the “lower sort” felt they were losing power, so be it.
Alexander Hamilton was much more covetous of power – for himself and for the government. He believed that if something was not strictly forbidden by the Constitution, that the government could take action on it’s own. He believed in the “implied powers” within the Constitution.
Alexander Hamilton viewed the National Bank as a way to encourage cooperation between the wealthy, elite members of society and the government. Since this power was not specifically enumerated in the Constitution, Jefferson viewed the National Bank as a usurpation of power and mistrusted Alexander Hamilton’s motives – as always…
Alexander Hamilton believed in a nation of industry and merchant traders. His thought was that a productive society would be more profitable and influential on the world stage. Hamilton believed in republicanism, but would have restricted the vote to property owners.
Hamilton was an Anglophile, meaning that he was in favor of strong diplomatic ties with England.
This was not as popular a view, since Americans had recently fought to sever ties with England.
Hamilton agreed with John Adams that the Alien and Sedition acts were necessary infringements of the people’s rights in order to preserve the gains of the revolution. Hamilton viewed the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions as a danger to the supremacy of the federal government, since they advocated nullification and interposition.
The Virginia Declaration of Rights, by George Mason
The Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, by Thomas Jefferson
The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 was an important moment in US History. Washington personally led a group of 13,000 soldiers to successfully put down a small insurrection in Western Pennsylvania. Compare Washington’s strong response to the feeble inaction of the Congress during Shays’ Rebellion, and you can see how much more powerful the new government actually was.
Hamilton believed that the poor could not be trusted with the power of government. He viewed them as overly passionate and too much prone to self-interested decisions. Instead, he favored giving political power to the “rich, well-born, and able.”
Jefferson was a believer in agrarianism. He thought that Americans who were citizen-farmers would be the most successful leaders of the government. He thought that ordinary people would be less corrupt and willing to fight to preserve the republic.