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Thomas Jefferson or Alexander Hamilton -- whose vision has won out?Both Jefferson and...

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normag9 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:20 AM via web

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Thomas Jefferson or Alexander Hamilton -- whose vision has won out?

Both Jefferson and Hamilton had a definite vision of what American society should become. Does today's United States resemble more of Hamilton's or Jefferson's ideas? 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:41 AM (Answer #2)

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Both.  Economically, we are definitely a society that resembles what Hamilton would have wanted.  We are certainly not an agrarian society like Jefferson envisioned.  But we do have much more political and social equality than Hamilton would have wanted.  Jefferson wanted an agrarian society so we could all (at least all white men) be equal.  We seem to have, for the most part, achieved the equality even though we are far removed from a society of small farmers.

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mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted August 24, 2012 at 3:04 PM (Answer #3)

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Hamilton wanted a stronger federal government, while Jefferson was more of a states' rights champion. So, since the depression, you might say that we've become more Hamiltonian concerning the increase in federal power. However, Hamilton probably would not approve of the fact that this federal power is primarily exerted in creating and maintaining entitlements. Come to think of it, Jefferson probably wouldn't like that either. He saw the common man as independent and able to take care of himself, but in many ways that is not the case today. America brought this probably on herself through slavery.

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truthseekah | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted August 28, 2012 at 3:06 PM (Answer #4)

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Hamilton wanted a stronger federal government, while Jefferson was more of a states' rights champion. So, since the depression, you might say that we've become more Hamiltonian concerning the increase in federal power. However, Hamilton probably would not approve of the fact that this federal power is primarily exerted in creating and maintaining entitlements. Come to think of it, Jefferson probably wouldn't like that either. He saw the common man as independent and able to take care of himself, but in many ways that is not the case today. America brought this probably on herself through slavery.

I would take it a step further and say that Jefferson was a champion for civil liberties.  He knew the threats of tyranny that all governments had an inclination toward and ultimately felt the power should not be taken from the people. Jefferson said, "A government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have….The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.” and “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.” I believe his fears have become reality.


Hamilton, on the other hand, was a champion for the bankers and a stronger federal government.  Although, I think even Hamilton would have repented his sins if he saw the level to which our federal government has risen and grown.  Then again, when he spoke of a limited federal government, it could have been rhetoric to apease opposition.  In regard to bankers, whether Hamilton was a conscious tool of them or not, his vision of a centalized bank for this country is stronger than could have been imagined.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 1, 2012 at 3:03 AM (Answer #5)

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I think that Jefferson won.  Think about it:  Which of these two men is more famous?  Whose ideas are respected more?  Some people do not even know who Alexander Hamilton is, but every first grader knows who Thomas Jefferson is.

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