What were Hamilton's, Jefferson's, and Madison's visions of America?

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Alexander Hamilton was George Washington's Secretary of the Treasury. He would become the leader of the Federalists. Thomas Jefferson, Washington's Secretary of State, would eventually assume leadership of the opposing Republicans. James Madison was another leader of the Republicans. Both Jefferson and Madison later served as presidents. During the presidency of Washington (1789–1797), these two contrasting views repeatedly clashed.

Hamilton served on Washington's staff during the war, and he was his favorite aide. Hamilton's vision for the new nation was an ambitious one. He admired England and wanted the new nation to be just as powerful. First, he had debts repaid. The bonds sold easily and America had a secure credit rating. Next, he established the Bank of the United States. Also, he encouraged manufacturing through the imposition of tariffs and financial incentives for entrepreneurs. Hamilton's plan led to solid economic growth.

Madison and Jefferson favored states' and individual rights over national power. They agreed that the debt should be repaid, but they did not want rich investors to benefit the most from it. They opposed the national bank on the grounds that the Constitution did not authorize it. Madison and Jefferson favored a strict and limited interpretation of the Constitution. They opposed the whiskey tax on farmers. In general, they favored agrarian over rural interests. They were in favor of close relations with France. Jefferson served as Washington's Secretary of State and the tension between him and Hamilton in the cabinet was palpable.

These two contrasting views for the new nation quickly led to the development of political parties. The emergence of political parties had not been foreseen by the Founding Fathers.

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