Discussion 7/8: Hamilton vs Jefferson


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For this discussion (which will count for Discussion 7 and 8) you will consider the different views advanced by political leaders following the Revolution. In order to anchor the discussion, you will read Chapters 9 and 10 in American Promise and examine the different ideas and policies represented by Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.

Please consult the following resources to prepare. You will respond to this forum taking a position either in support of Thomas Jefferson and his policies and perspective or in support of Alexander Hamilton. In your original response, please indicate which political figure you believe had the best approach to government (given the needs of the new nation) and why. Please be as specific as possible.

Resources –

  1. Read the essay by historian Alan Taylor, The New Nation. This document will help you frame the broader partisan disagreement between the Republican Jefferson and the Federalist Hamilton. In addition, consult the following selections on Jefferson’s Republicanism, Jefferson’s Presidency, and Hamilton’s Financial Plan.
  2. Among the many debates between Hamilton and Jefferson was one focused on the establishment of a national bank (which Jefferson opposed, but Hamilton supported). View this clip from the PBS American Experience episode on Hamilton.
  3. Finally, attached here is a file containing two documents: Hamilton v. Jefferson Letters. A clear reflection of their rivalry, one letter was written by Hamilton and the other by Jefferson. The two were were members of George Washington’s cabinet.
  4. (Optional, but fun) Though historians (myself included) have been very critical of the ways in which the past is depicted in the musical Hamilton, its creativity and talent shine through. Relevant selections include: Cabinet Battle 1, Cabinet Battle 2, and (my favorite) The Room Where It Happens.

Submit your original response to this forum. You must also read and respond to the postings submitted by at least two other students by the same deadline.

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