Federalists and Democratic Republicans

Start Free Trial

Alexander Hamilton Political Views

What were Alexander Hamilton's political views?


Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

 Hamilton understood that the government set up under The Articles of Confederation had serious flaws which would undermine the stability of the new nation. As a result he was instrumental in the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution advocated federalism, which divided power between the federal and state governments. It gave specific powers to the federal government, and certain powers reserved for state authority. Known as a 'Federalist' Hamilton along with John Jay and James Madison wrote a series of articles under the pen name of 'Publius' to argue their political position. These essays are now recognized collectively as The Federalist Papers and are considered the finest example of Hamilton's political views on ratification of the Constitution, as well as, a comprehensive overview on his politics.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the day, Hamilton was considered to be a Federalist, who sought to expand national governmental power, whereas Jefferson and his followers were considered Anti-Federalist, who sought to keep political power local and individual.  Hamilton, in attempting to demonstrate federal power to pioneers at the edge of the frontier, got Congress to pass a levy tax on distilled whiskey, not to raise revenue, but to anger frontiersmen.  They of course revolted in the Whiskey Rebellion, when they refused to pay the tax, and which the federal government then put down with its troops.  On a more positive note, he believed in the Freedom of the Press when he argued the Zenger case (1735) and a National bank to stabilize United States Currency.  He also promoted the full payment of government debt, and Protective Tariffs which allowed American business to grow, but which caused higher prices for imported goods.  Overall, his ideology tended to severely constrain through higher prices and taxes the small farmers whom Jefferson represented, and tended to benefit the already wealthy.

Rise of the American Nation, 1972

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial