Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton did not see eye to eye on many things. Jefferson, together with James Madison, assembled the Democratic-Republican Party “…as a means of opposing Hamilton and the Federalists.” (Cummings, 155) Clearly the two did not get along and it was because they both had strong, opposite-thinking opinions.
Hamilton believed in a strong central government. He believed that the economy could be helped and boosted by more government intervention. “Hamilton had stood ready to make conscious and deliberate use of government wherever it could be a useful instrument for advancing commerce and…for serving the interests of the business people, financiers, and incipient manufacturers whose success Hamilton so desired.” (Cummings, 143) Hamilton sought to improve the national wealth and promoted the national bank. This was very far from Jefferson’s view.
Jefferson was an avid supporter of civil liberties and the rights of the individual. When he was president he constantly fought to decentralize. “Jefferson saw Hamilton’s policies as enriching the wealthy through paper profits and speculation rather than through productive effort.” (Cummings, 154) Jefferson fought for the rights of the individual. Though Jefferson clearly did not think all people, whether that be race or gender, were created equal, he at the very least understood that the right of the individual was more important than the power of the government. Jefferson certainly had his faults, but he had the right idea.
This debate still goes on in today’s politics. Some prefer a strong central government, yet others prefer a decentralized government with more power in the hands of the individual. I think that a decentralized government with with more power in the hands of an individual is by far the best way. Nothing is more important than individual rights, our freedom is everything.