Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Convention

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During the Constitutional Convention, and the years to follow, the Anit-federalists heavily disputed with Federalist Party. One of the longest and most important arguments throughout this time period were the debates between Alexander Hamilton of the Federalists and Thomas Jefferson of the Anti-Federalists. The controversial issue discussed was over the establishment of a national bank.
     Alexander Hamilton, at the time George Washington’s Secretary of Treasury, explained before the Congress that the U.S. Government’s need for a national bank was imperative for the survival of the nation. Hamilton stated that besides having “expressed” powers, it possesses “implied” powers designated into Constitution. Hamilton states in letter to Washington that “implied powers are to be equally delegated with expressed ones. Then it follows….that the erection of a corporation[such as a bank] may well be implied….it may as well be employed as an instrument….of carrying into action any specific powers….because the corporation has a natural relation to the government.” With saying this, Hamilton argues that a national bank in not unconstitutional because bank is a corporation which would regulate foreign trade, interstate commerce and government finances. One can use the implied power in this instance, because it is incident to a legislative power to regulate a thing, to employ all the means necessary is in fact legal.
     Jefferson’s arguments provide a rationale for those who believed that states could overrule decisions of the federal government. The idea of a national bank would strip those rights of a states powers and this is what Jefferson argued. Jefferson believed strongly in the Articles of Confederation, and he was not willing to let go of its ideas, thus causing great tension between he and Alexander Hamilton. During his term of vice-presidency, Jefferson anonymously wrote the Kentucky Resolutions which expressed his views of politics. In here he states that “whenever a government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force….and that the co-States, recurring to their natural right in cases not made Federal, will concur in declaring these acts void and of no force….

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     As you can clearly see from the points stated above, Thomas Jefferson’s views of the U.S. government at the time varied much differently from Alexander Hamilton’s views on government. One was in full favor of the purposely weak Articles of Confederation, while the other was in favor of the strong centralized government based upon the U.S. Constitution.
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