Which do you feel best represented the ideals of America in the early 19th century?
The Jeffersonian Democratic Replublicans or the Hamiltonian Federalists? How does this disputem continue to influence 21st century politics?
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I think that the debate between Hamilton and Jefferson is still relevant in today's political setting. Examine the fundamental rift between the Tea Party Republicans and the Democratic leadership over the Affordable Health Care Act. The Hamiltonian understanding of a large governmental action is evident in the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act. In it, there is a clear representation of large government role and extension. In many of the Tea Party Republicans, and perhaps party opposition, in general, one sees calls to Jeffersonian ideals of smaller government, less intervention, and stronger repudiation of the Affordable Health Care Act. The last Presidential election was one in which many of the Republicans wanted to reconfigure the Jeffersonian vs. Hamiltonian debate in such terms, without using the historical figures, as reference. The idea of larger government that is depicted as inefficient and a smaller approach to government that encouraged individual freedom was where the Republican leadership wanted the debate to pivot. In the final analysis, this was not as persuasive an argument and lost some steam towards the final week of the campaign with Hurricane Sandy, and an opportunity for people to see government work. Yet, I think that the debate that preceded it in terms of how government is seen is an example of the Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian view points where the Affordable Health Care Act became the centerpiece of each side's argument against the other. When outgoing President George Washington warned against factions in American government, he precisely sought to avoid the rise of Hamiltonians vs. Jeffersonians. Almost on cue, this same schism was on display in the last Presidential election between Democrats and Republicans.
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