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Alexander Hamilton vs. Thomas Jefferson

AP United States History
by

Steve Hartnett

on 18 July 2011

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Transcript of Alexander Hamilton vs. Thomas Jefferson

Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson
A Feud Between Founding Fathers Opening Activity/Bell Ringer

Recall yesterday's lesson on the opinions held by the Federalists and Antifederalists. Using your notes from yesterday, please fill in the chart pertaining to the political views of the two political parties. Alexander Hamilton
"The Arrogant Aristocrat" Hamilton was born in the West Indies and raised on the Caribbean island of St. Croix. Hamilton and lowly origins
(conceived out of wedlock) When Hamilton was 13, a devastating hurricane struck the island. Hamilton wrote a vivid description of the storm that impressed all who read it. A few St. Croix leaders arranged to send the talented teenager to New York, where he could get the education he deserved. With no money or family connections to help him rise in the world, Hamilton made his way on ability, ambition, and charm. George Washington spotted Hamilton’s talents early in the Revolutionary War. Washington made the young man his aide-de-camp or personal assistant. Hamilton possessed an "out of my way style"... He never
looked back or waited for stragglers
-Ellis, pg. 60 With the help of John Jay and James Madison, Hamilton wrote the Federalist Papers... a defense for the newly proposed Constituion. Hamilton wrote 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers, under
the name Publius Federalist 84- Hamilton argues that there is no need to amend the Constitution by adding a Bill of Rights. He states that the various provisions in the proposed Constitution protecting liberty amount to a bill of rights.

Federalist 78- also written by Hamilton, lays the groundwork for the doctrine of judicial review.

Federalist 70- presents Hamilton's case for a one-man chief executive. President George Washington appointed Hamilton as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury on September 11, 1789. He left office on the last day of January 1795. In the next two years, Hamilton submitted five reports:

* First Report on the Public Credit
* Operations of the Act Laying Duties on Imports
* Second Report on Public Credit: Report on a National Bank.
* Report on the Establishment of a Mint
* Report on Manufactures Following an exchange of three testy letters, a duel was scheduled for July 11, 1804, along the west bank of the Hudson River. Hamilton vs. Burr A letter that Hamilton wrote the night before the duel states, "I have resolved, if our interview [duel] is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire," thus stating an intention to miss Burr.
-Ellis, pg. 37 Hamilton's shot broke a tree branch directly above Burr's head. Burr's shot, however, hit Hamilton in the lower abdomen. Hamilton died on the following afternoon, July 12, 1804 Thomas Jefferson
"The Sage of Monticello" At the beginning of the American Revolution, Jefferson served in the Continental Congress, representing Virginia. He then served as the wartime Governor of Virginia, barely escaping capture by the British in 1781 Jefferson was born in Virginia to an wealthy and respected family. One of ten children, he was gifted with many talents. As a boy, he learned to ride, hunt, sing, dance, and play the violin. two one With land inherited from his father, Jefferson set himself up as a Virginia tobacco planter. Once he was established as a planter, Jefferson entered Virginia politics. Jefferson served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress beginning in June 1775. When Congress began considering a resolution of independence in June 1776, Jefferson was appointed to a five-man committee to prepare a declaration to accompany the resolution.

Jefferson was not regarded as a great public speaker, however the words he put on paper were widely respected. The Declaration would eventually become Jefferson's major claim to fame, and his eloquent preamble is an enduring statement of human rights. three 1st United States Secretary of State, (1789–1793). In 1784, he entered public service again, in France, first as trade commissioner and then as Benjamin Franklin's successor as foreign minister.
According to Joseph Ellis, Jefferson was quick to accept the position in France because of his wife's premature death during childbirth (pg. 67) He was the second Vice President, (1797–1801) under President John Adams. Winning on an Democratic Republican platform, Jefferson took the oath of office and became President of the United States in 1801. Perhaps the most notable achievements of his first term were the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803 and his support of the Lewis and Clark expedition. His second term, a time when he encountered more difficulties on both the domestic and foreign fronts, is most remembered for his efforts to maintain neutrality in the midst of the conflict between Britain and France; his efforts did not avert war with Britain in 1812. Although Hamilton and Jefferson were
both founding fathers, the two men
held conflicting political philosophies
during the 1790s. Human Nature Hamilton’s view of human nature was shaped by his wartime experiences. All too often, he had seen people put their own interests and personal profit above patriotism and the needs of the country.

Most Federalists shared Hamilton’s view that people were basically selfish and out for themselves. For this reason, they distrusted any system of government that gave too much power to “the mob,” or the common people. Such a system, said Hamilton, could only lead to “error, confusion, and instability.” (Milligan, pg. 138) Jefferson’s view of human nature was much more hopeful than Hamilton’s. He assumed that informed citizens could make good decisions for themselves and their country. “I have so much confidence in the good sense of men,” Jefferson wrote when revolution broke out in France, “that I am never afraid of the issue where reason is left free to exert her force.”

Jefferson had great faith in the goodness and wisdom of people who worked the soil – farmers and planters like himself. “State a problem to a ploughman and a professor,” he said, and “the former will decide it often better than the latter.” (Milligan, pg. 137) Federalists believed that the country should be ruled by “best people” – educated, wealthy, public-spirited men like themselves. Such people had the time, education, and background to run the country wisely. “Those who own the country,” said Federalist John Jay bluntly, “ought to govern it.”

Federalists favored a strong national government, they believed in loose construction, a broad or flexible interpretation of the Constitution. They hoped to use the new government’s powers under the Constitution to unite the quarreling states and keep order among the people. In their view, the rights of the states were not nearly as important as national power and unity. Best Form of Government Democratic-Republicans had no patience with the Federalists’ view that only the “best people” should rule. To Democratic-Republicans, this view came close to monarchy, an idea many of them fought against during the American Revolution.

Democratic-Republicans believed that the best government was the one that governed the least. A small government with limited powers was most likely to leave the people alone to enjoy the blessings of liberty. To keep the national government small, they insisted on a strict construction, or interpretation, of the Constitution. The Constitution, they insisted, meant exactly what it said, no more and no less. Any addition to the powers listed there, was unconstitutional and dangerous. Ideal Economy Hamilton’s dream of national greatness depended on the United States developing a strong economy. In 1790, the nation’s economy was still based mainly on agriculture. Hamilton wanted to expand the economy and increase the nation’s wealth by using the power of the federal government to promote business, manufacturing, and trade.

In 1790, Hamilton presented Congress with a plan to pay off all war debts as quickly as possible. If the debts were not promptly paid, he warned, the government would lose respect both at home and abroad.

Hamilton’s plan for repaying the debts was opposed by many Americans, especially in the South. Most southern states had already paid their war debts. They saw little reason to help states in the North pay off what they still owed. Like most Americans in the 1790s, Jefferson was a country man. He believed that the nation’s future lay not with Federalist bankers and merchants, but with plain, Democratic-Republican farm folk. “Those who labor in the earth,” he wrote, “are the chosen people of God, if ever He had a chosen people.”

Democratic-Republicans favored an economy based on agriculture. They opposed any measures designed to encourage the growth of business and manufacturing. Of the political philosophies that
Hamilton and Jefferson disagreed on,
the economic questions held the most serious
political implications for the new nation. 1. Should the new federal government of the United States assume the debt incurred during the war by the states and Constitutional Congress?

2. Should the federal government establish a central or National Bank?

3. Should the nation attempt to promote manufacturing or remain an agrarian economy? 1. Should the government assume the debt?

During the Revolutionary War, the United States and the various states had paid soldiers and suppliers with paper money and with certificates of debt. After the war, there was considerable concern over whether the debt would be honored and many people sold their certificates at reduced rates (as low as 15 cents on the dollar) to speculators. One of the first questions facing the new government was whether to honor the debt of the Congress and even some of the states. Primary Sources
"Report on Public Credit" (Hamilton)
"From The Writings of Thomas Jefferson" 2. Should the Nation establish a Bank?

The new nation needed financial capital to operate government and develop its economy. The old sources of capital in England were, at least temporarily, reluctant to provide funds. While some argued that private banks could provide the necessary services, the parties debated whether it should have a central �Bank of the United States�. This argument hinged on economic and constitutional conceptions of the role of the new Federal Government. Primary Sources
"Opinion on the Constitutionality of the Bank of the United States" (Hamilton)
"Opinion on the Constitutionality of the Bank of the United States" (Jefferson) 3. Should the Nation promote manufacturing?

Hamilton�'s "Report on Manufactures" (1791) was the capstone of his policies. Should the federal government play an active role in developing the economy, or should it play a passive role? Should it encourage manufactures or agriculture? Primary Sources
"Report on the Subject of Manufactures" (Hamilton)
"Notes on the State of Virginia" (Jefferson) Alexander Hamilton Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler, the daughter of a General and wealthy businessman from one of the most influential families in the state of New York . "O Burr, O Burr, what has thou done?
Thou has shooted dead great Hamilton.
You hid behind a bunch of thistle,
And shootd him dead with a grat hoss pistol"

-New York newspaper, 1804 Summative Chart of the
positions of Hamilton and Jefferson So Why Do We Care?

According to College Board.com, 45% of multiple choice questions can come from the time period we are discussing.... Meaning you will probably be asked a question about the political events of the 1790s. “People all the time are debating what’s constitutional and what’s unconstitutional. To me the Constitution is a guardrail. It’s for when we are going off the road and it gets us back on. It’s not a traffic cop that keeps us going down the center. And what our politics are about – politics are about conflict. There was no people who argued more about defining principles of America than the framers of the Constitution. They argued both sides of the most powerful issues in American history – slavery, states’ rights, central government. So to say that what did the framers want is kind of a crazy question"

-Time magazine editor Richard Stengel Current Issues of Constitutionality 1. Libya

The Congress shall have power ... To declare war.'
Article I, Section 8

The president shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.'
Article II, Section 2 2. The Debt Ceiling

The Congress shall have power ... To borrow money on the credit of the United States.
Article I, Section 8

The validity of the public debt of the United States ... shall not be questioned.
14th Amendment, Section 4 3. Immigration

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

14th Amendment, 1868 Concluding Activity

On an index card, answer one of the following:

1. List three things you have learned today.

2. List three things you have questions about.

3. List three things you would like to learn more about. Hamilton's "Report on the Public Credit" estimated the total debt reached $77.1 million. Of this total:

$11.7 million was owed to foreign governments
$40.4 million was domestic debt (dated from the American Revolution)
$25 million was state debt (Legacy of the war). Essential Question #1
Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson had very different upbringings, but each man would eventually be seen as a founding father. Do you believe that their upbringings shaped their political views and opinions? Why or why not? At this point, read your assigned document and find specific examples of the corresponding political system using the chart provided. Essential Question #2
Do issues of constitutionality still affect us today, or were these problems only relevant to our founding fathers? Objectives
Students will compare and contrast
the political ideologies advocated by Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

Students will analyze and interpret primary source material written by Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.
Full transcript