In the 1790s, a conflict aeddle between the first American political parties. Indeed, the federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, and the Republicans (also known as Republican Democrats), led by Thomas Jefferson, were the first political parties in the Western world. Unlike loose political groups in the British House of Commons or the pre-revolutionary American colonies, both had relatively consistent and principled platforms, relatively stable popular supporters and permanent organizations. By the time George Washington`s government began, the two sides formed during the constitutional debates – groups known as federalists and federalists – had not yet consolidated into parties. But differences of opinion on the direction of the nation are already eroding any hope of political unity. In May 1792 Jefferson expressed his fear of Hamilton`s policies in Washington, calling Hamilton`s allies in Congress a “corrupt squadron.” He expressed concern that Hamilton would want to move away from the republican structure of the Constitution towards a monarchy inspired by the English Constitution. That same month, Hamilton confided to a friend: “Mr. Madison, who works with Mr. Jefferson, is the leader of a political group resolutely hostile to me and my government, and… Peace and the happiness of the country are dangerous.¬†Disagreements are not of concern to President Washington.

They could even be useful until in 1792 he realized that the differences between two members of his cabinet, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, were very personal. Another confrontation between them shortly after Jefferson took office as Foreign Minister gave rise to a new and extremely important interpretation of the Constitution. When Hamilton introduced his national bank bill, Jefferson, who spoke for those who believed in state rights, argued that the Constitution explicitly listed all the powers of the federal government and retained all other powers to the states. Nowhere has the federal government been allowed to set up a bank. How did the debate between Jefferson and Hamilton shape the political system of the United States? Thomas Jefferson, first speech, 1801. Contributions from Thomas Jefferson, Ed. Princeton University Press, 2006. 33 : 148-152. Ron Chernow, pulitzer prize winner of biographies of Alexander Hamilton and George Washington, talks about the first presidential cabinet.

Jefferson believed in a pastoral ideal of small-scale peasants, representing the interests of landowners in the south, while Hamilton represented the merchants of the east coast. Hamilton responded that because of the mass of details required, a broad range of powers had to be involved in general clauses, and one of them authorized Congress to “enact all laws that must be necessary and proportionate” to carry out other powers that were specifically granted.

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