Ideological Differences In George Washington's Cabinet

932 words - 4 pages

In the following essay, based on my knowledge of history and historical data, I will prove that the ideological differences that emerged in Washington's Cabinet not only fanned the flames of factions, but influenced the future of American politics. After George Washington took oath as president of the United States in 1789, he and his cabinet were faced with a state of financial crisis. The federal government had no money and had inherited war debts to the French and also to its own citizens.These questions concerning finance were the first significant issues faced over the Constitution and also for the first political parties. Alexander Hamilton, who was Secretary of Treasury of the United States, had a plan for dealing with the nations financial problems. He proposed that the federal government pay of war debts and assume the debts of the states, protect the nation's industries and goods, and create a national bank for depositing government funds. Also, according to this plan, paper money will be made by the bank, which would create a stable currency. Hamilton strongly believed that his views would make the United States a wealthy and economically stable nation.Hamilton wanted the United States to assume the state debts and since there was no permanent capital yet, Hamilton provided Jefferson with a offer which said that he would have his followers vote to have the capital located in Philadelphia for 10 years and then move it to the Potomac River. In return to this, Madison had to allow the government to assume state debt. This was called the Assumption Plan.Hamilton was part of the Federalist Party, which also included John Adams. They represented the manufacturers and commercial interests. They had a loose interpretation of the Constitution.Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were part of the Democratic Republican Party, who had a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Madison opposed Hamilton's plan because he did not consider the bank necessary and proper and that the Constitution did not give Congress power to create a bank.Thomas Jefferson opposed the bank and believed that the many farmers of America, who were "the chosen people of God," did not want their land to become a land of cities and factories. Jefferson, along with Madison, told the President that the creation of a bank would be unconstitutional. This argument became a "strict construction" of the constitution. They argued that the President or Congress had no power to do anything that wasn't states in the Constitution, in words.Hamilton argued that Congress had the right to do anything necessary and proper. He said that the bank was necessary and proper because it made a way to borrow money and make a currency. This was known as a "broad construction" of the Constitution. Washington believed the nation was in need of banks and signed the bill on February...

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