The final paper for my current grad class required an expansion, via literature review and inclusion of additional primary sources, of a previous paper. My expanded paper is taken from Alexander Hamilton and “Vigorous Government.”
Often neglected amidst this pugilism between American titans is a corollary conflict between Alexander Hamilton and a third titan of American history, though oft overlooked – James Madison. In fact, the rupture between Hamilton and Madison is arguably more significant in that, while Jefferson was the Hamiltonian and Federalist nemesis almost from the beginning, the estrangement between Hamilton and Madison is schismatic in nature (at least from Hamilton’s perspective) and thus personal for Hamilton and there is no disagreement as that between brothers and comrades in arms. This schism turned upon Alexander Hamilton utterly misinterpretating James Madison’s philosophy undergirding the purpose of a powerful national government.
Read the rest here.
As always, you can read my graduate work here.
Antifederalists and Federalists found common cause in comprehending human nature. That said, each faction responded to this comprehension in widely conflicting ways, establishing an unassailable gulf over the vision of America’s future, the scope and scale of the national government, and conceptions of virtue and vice. Where Antifederalists sought to enforce virtue by establishing an Agrarian Nation and providing for increased yeoman membership in the House of Representatives, Federalists preferred to harness the vices in human nature. By exploiting vice, Federalists dreamt of an expansive, diverse, and formidable America that enticed only the best and most deserving into government service.
Read the rest here.
As always, see my graduate work here.
The Sedition Act is generally acknowledged as a low point in the otherwise remarkable history of the Federalist Party of the United States, referred to by historian Peter Onuf as a “repressive” piece of legislation.1 “Repressive” in the opinion of Onuf and most historians because the Act (seemingly) curtailed freedom of speech and an independent and free press. Yet, for all the talk of “[immobilizing] the Republican opposition,”2 the Federalist “misstep” of the Sedition Act is not indicative of a Marxist or Fascist-like maneuver to silence the opposition, nor is it a counter-revolution to turn “the government over to antirepublican hands”3; rather, the Sedition Act was a specific response to a specific historical time and place alien to our own.
Max Edling’s wonderful essay “‘A Mongrel Kind of Government’: The U.S. Constitution, the Federal Union, and the Origins of the American State” completely turns on its head the popular perception the Constitution of the United States is a drastic departure from the Articles of Confederation. Perceptively, Edling demonstrates the Constitution is simply the next logical step from the Articles, with only one fundamental difference between the two charter documents. Both the Articles and the Constitution limit the federal government to international and “intraunion” matters while leaving all else to the respective states. As such, the federal government was designed to “complement, not compete with, the states.”1 More pointedly, the Constitution is so similar to the Articles, Edling notes, the document merely allows “the national government to better exercise the powers it already possessed.”2