What were Alexander Hamilton's views on federal government?

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piratejaime eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Alexander Hamilton was a member of the federalist party. Despite the name, Federalists  were nationalists. Although the name Federalist seems to imply a belief in a loosely governed, decentralized form of government, the Federalists believed in a system of government that had a strong central government to rule over the states. Hamilton believed in a loose interpretation of the Constitution. This means that he believed that the central government should be allowed to make any laws and use its power in any way that is not expressly forbidden by the Constitution. Because of this loose interpretation of the Constitution, Hamilton believed that the central government should be a strong body capable of forming treaties with foreign powers, establishing a national bank, regulating commerce between states, creating and maintaining armed forces, coining money, and declaring war.

These beliefs were in direct conflict with the beliefs of anti-federalists such as Thomas Jefferson. Anti-federalists believed in a strict interpretation of the US Constitution. They believed that the central government should be weak and limited to only the powers expressly given in the Constitution. 

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Alexander Hamilton had strong views on the role of the federal government. Alexander Hamilton believed the federal government should be strong and should play a major role in our country. Hamilton believed the federal government should be able to do many things. He believed that unless the Constitution specifically prohibited the federal government from doing something, it should be acceptable for the government to do that activity. This belief is based on a loose interpretation of the Constitution. Therefore, Alexander Hamilton believed it was acceptable to have a national bank. He believed it was acceptable to develop a national plan to deal with our country’s debt. Those who believed in a strict interpretation often fought against Hamilton’s ideas. However, eventually the courts ruled that a loose interpretation of the Constitution was legal. 

scisser | Student

Hamilton and Jefferson had very different views. Hamilton preferred order, but Jefferson wanted liberty, the complete opposite.

Hamilton- Order

  • He did not trust the people because he did not think they could judge right.
  • Feared democracy
  • He wanted a strong central government that would be dominated by the educated elite
  • Loose constitution
  • Strong military force
  • Balanced economy