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1994 #3 Essay

838 words - 3 pages

The period following the Revolutionary War marked an era of unprecedented turbulence for our newly constructed nation. The Constitution was beginning to come into effect, and a united administration under George Washington was suddenly split into two dueling parties following two of the most influential leaders in history "“ Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Domestic issues began to faction the country and soon the "federalists" under Hamilton and the "republicans" under Jefferson began to take form. Foreign conflicts such as the French Revolution further deepened the split, posing a serious challenge for the Constitution, testing its strengths as well as its weaknesses. Additional problems such as the Native Americans and settlement of western lands also came into play during this era, setting it apart as a major turning point in American history. The most direct challenges and most significant changes were seen at home. Alexander Hamilton emerged in this time to be the leader of the Federalist Party, elected Secretary of the Treasury under Washington. As a policy he distrusted people and feared their purposes. Hamilton was determined to promote the country's growth through government efforts to foster domestic manufacturing and goods. To achieve this he set proposed a series of taxes, including the highly disputed Whiskey Tax. Many fought the Whiskey Tax, but it most importantly led to the revolt of a group of Pennsylvania farmers against the tax, commonly called the "Whiskey Rebellion." Hamilton was politically conservative, though he believed in what is called "loose construction" of the Constitution, deeming actions such as the Whiskey tax "necessary and proper" for the nation's growth. Also included under the "elastic clause" was Hamilton's plan for repaying war debts that included the establishment of a national bank to control the nation's financial issues. Hamilton also wanted the federal government to assume state war debts to stabilize finances, build credit both domestic and foreign, and build a sense of confidence in the newly united states. With all of this drastic action came much controversy. Hamilton's main opponent both politically and socially was Thomas Jefferson, who held a much stronger faith in the competency of the people. Jefferson wanted the country to become an agricultural republic based on the farmers, who the nation lived off of. Jefferson and his followers were strongly opposed to a national bank, fearing that it would give too much unlimited power to the...

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