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What were Alexander Hamilton's views on federal government?

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Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804) wanted the United States to have an extremely powerful central government. His brilliance and ambition helped shape America, but his pride led to his death in a fatal duel.

Hamilton served on George Washington's staff during the Revolutionary War. His service as an aide and French interpreter...

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Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804) wanted the United States to have an extremely powerful central government. His brilliance and ambition helped shape America, but his pride led to his death in a fatal duel.

Hamilton served on George Washington's staff during the Revolutionary War. His service as an aide and French interpreter were valuable to Washington. Hamilton strongly believed America's war effort against Britain was hampered by its feeble and feckless central government. That government, which was set up under the Articles of Confederation, was replaced when the US Constitution was ratified in 1788.

Hamilton served as Secretary of the Treasury under President Washington. He used his position to strengthen national power at every opportunity. His tariff policy helped manufacturing and hindered agriculture. Under his direction, the national government assumed responsibility for debts incurred by states during the war. Hamilton was the driving force behind the establishment of a national bank.

His political opponents wanted a weaker central government. They favored rural, agrarian interests. They also criticized Hamilton's debt scheme because it benefited speculators rather than the lower classes. His opponents also argued that the Constitution did not allow for the establishment of a national bank. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison led the opposition, and these two men would serve as the third and fourth American presidents.

Although Hamilton never became president, his views generally became a reality.

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Alexander Hamilton believed that the country should be run by a strong federal government that had more power than the states. He thought that by creating a national debt and the Bank of the United States, the federal government would interest the elite (who held government bonds) in the welfare of the federal government. He also believed that the federal government had a strong role to play in creating national infrastructure and in encouraging domestic industry. To protect domestic industry, he believed in high tariffs, or taxes on imported goods.

In general, Hamilton's support came from the elite classes, particularly in the northeast. Those who disagreed with him often sided with Thomas Jefferson, who believed that states should possess more power than the federal government. Unlike Hamilton, who wanted to pursue a policy of industrialization supported by the federal government, Jefferson and his followers wanted to create a system of agrarianism in which yeoman farmers were largely able to be self-sufficient.

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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. 

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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. 

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