McDaniel: The Demise of Constitutional Government

Source: McDaniel: The Demise of Constitutional Government


Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton were both active in the Revolutionary effort and in the founding of the United States. Later they served under President George Washington, with Jefferson becoming the first Secretary of State and Hamilton the first Secretary of the Treasury.
But from the republic’s inception, the two harbored opposing visions of the how the young country should mature.
A significant disagreement centered around the manner in which they viewed and applied the role of government. Hamilton distrusted the people, believing that popular will was flawed and that the federal government should therefore wield considerable power. Jefferson, however, had a skeptical view of centralized authority and placed his trust in the people to self-govern their own affairs. One feared anarchy and obsessed over components of order; the other feared tyranny and fought for a continuing expansion of liberty.
Both, of course, were patriots and necessary to the American experiment. Their philosophical disagreements resulted in the very first political parties of the Western world.

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