On the whole, one would have to say that Hamilton’s vision was the one that had prevailed by the end of Reconstruction. Hamilton envisaged an America with a strong, centralized federal government, whose economic prosperity was based upon commerce, trade, and industry. The years after the Civil War were a time of increased federal power as the victorious North strengthened its control over the defeated South, in order to prevent another uprising in the future. On the economic front, industrialization advanced rapidly during this period, with the ruling Republican Party establishing for the first time a reputation as the party of big business.
At the same time, however, one must also acknowledge that the Civil War and Reconstruction did not see off the Jeffersonian vision entirely. Far from it. After Republicans in Washington effectively abandoned Reconstruction—and with it the millions of African Americans who’d benefited from it—Jefferson’s vision, with its emphasis on states’ rights, gradually began to reassert itself. After Reconstruction, southern states effectively reintroduced slavery by the back door, in substance if not in form, by passing the notorious Jim Crow laws. Although federal power was now greater than it had ever been, successive administrations and Supreme Courts alike proved reluctant to interfere in the rights of southern states to pass blatantly discriminatory legislation. In that sense, one could say that it wasn’t until the federal government systematically began to dismantle the legal apparatus of segregation in the 1960s that the Jeffersonian vision of states’ rights finally died out.