Early political parties came to be mostly due to two influential government figures voicing their disagreements. Alexander Hamilton, a soldier and a lawyer had determination and a vision to build a more stable economy for America. He had great influence in producing programs with Congress and George Washington such as the Bank of the United States and other debt plans (Ripper, 125). Hamilton believed that America’s government and people should focus on building its economy in manufacturing and larger-scale trade (Ripper, 125).
These policies angered Thomas Jefferson, the secretary of state. Jefferson strongly believed that promoting trade and manufacturing ultimately promoted corruption and deterioration of America’s foundations. “Jefferson referred to Hamilton and ‘Monarchial federalists,’ likening them to kings and the supporters of kings, a pack of vampires set on draining the blood of goodness from the nation” (Ripper, 126). Jefferson didn’t want to disturb the country’s unity, but that was completely unavoidable at this point.
Social wars broke out amongst these two men through their newspaper essays.
They both used newspapers as an outlet to let their opinions be heard loud and clear. They also used their articles to attack those who didn’t agree with them as well as start rumors about each other (Ripper, 126). It was today’s equivalent of a Twitter bashing.
The animosity between Jefferson and Hamilton and their strong, and tough dedication to making their opinions known is what led to the formation of political parties. Hamilton’s ideology of wanting a bigger manufacturing and trade economy became known as Federalism.
Jefferson’s efforts to keep things the way they were and to keep the country unified became known as the Democratic-Republican. It wasn’t until everyday people began joining and forming the parties.
It was easy for people to pick a side because there was already social tension and separation due to the Constitution disputes and disagreements. (Ripper, 126). People from the north and middle states clung to Hamilton’s programs while people of the south despised his programs and sided with Jefferson. As Hamilton began to act and impose taxes, it motivated people to join Jefferson’s cause. Hamilton’s beliefs led him to create the liquor tax, which led to warrants being sent out to those who chose not to pay the tax. “He believed that this martial display of force was exactly what the federal government needed to be able to do (Ripper, 127). Hamilton was all about promoting and advancing the government, and his taxes was a way to get this done.
Jefferson’s beliefs were put into play when he wanted to put trade relationships and money at risk to fight against the Barbary States and demand their crew’s release (Ripper, 148). This was hindered though, by John Adams (who was a Federalist). Adams didn’t want to fight, but instead, he wanted to improve the United and Morocco’s trade relationship more than he wanted to save the captured ships. Just in these few examples, we can see time and time again how the beliefs and values of each political party have thoroughly influenced their political decisions. This then, leads to my question, through the impact each party made, which one (Federalist Democratic-Republicansans) do you think was more beneficial for America in the long run? Or did they both contribute equally?