Hamiltonian or Jeffersonian...which vision fits the U.S. today?There is no doubt that these two men had a vision for our nation; the question lies somewhere between what that vision was and what we...

Hamiltonian or Jeffersonian...which vision fits the U.S. today?

There is no doubt that these two men had a vision for our nation; the question lies somewhere between what that vision was and what we have become.  I see aspects of both Hamilton and Jefferson in our nation. ( a topic for my next post ) I wonder what these men would conclude given the opportunity to evaluate our history.  Comments???

Asked on by dbello

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timbrady's profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

First, I don't think we have (m)any people the character of these two men in our present society.  The confluence of leaders who gave birth to our country was a rare thing ... their ability to compromise and their obvious interest in the good of all seems to have disappeared.  Our present leadership would have trouble organizing the constitution for a boy scout troop (I know, pretty harsh).

That said, I think there is a lot to be said for Hamilton's vision based on a kind of economic realism, even though it sometimes feels dirty.  I suspect that our success as a country is really based on our economic blessings rather than our ideas of freedom ... when we speak of the lost American Dream, the conversation is usually about things and not ideas.  Our general prosperity makes it possible for us to devote ourselves to the ideals of Jefferson.  

That said, Jefferson's insistence on a democracy's being a moral society and an educated one, and the fact that he had his role in the U of V memorialized on his tomb and not the fact(s) of his Presidency, says a lot for him.

Amazing men.  Amazing times.  Sadly, "joltin Joe has left and gone away."  (if you're old enough to catch the reference :))

sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree that both Hamilton and Jefferson appear today.  We have the representative government that Jefferson so supported, but we also have the economic empire that Hamilton so desired (even if the dollar has declined!).  I think our current president would much prefer Hamilton in his corner than Jefferson.  He has consistently chosen his view for the American people and avoided paying attention to polling data and the words of Congress. 

With the elections in November, I would love to see a Jeffersonian vision rise up again.  Perhaps we can tame the work of special interest groups and the influence they have over legislation?? 

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