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Foreign Policy Conflict Between Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians in 1790's - Term Paper Example

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The politics of the early American republic provide a framework for understanding modern public policy issues, including foreign policy. It is appealing, for instance, to seek answers for America’s problems today in the writings of the Founding Fathers…
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Foreign Policy Conflict Between Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians in 1790s
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Foreign Policy Conflict Between Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians in 1790's

Download file to see previous pages... In this environment, the two positions were antithetical and their opposition extended into the darkest corner of every issue, foreign policy included. Thomas Jefferson, the most well known proponent of Anti-Federalism, along with Alexander Hamilton, the most well known proponent of Federalism, often made their views clear in letters written to friends and associates. From these first-hand accounts, historians can piece together the political divides that fragmented early American politics, placing them in context and measuring the relevance of what they had to say to today’s heated discussions. Indeed, any study of 1790s American politics will reveal a deeply polarized discourse. In fact, one historian has remarked that today’s polarized politics is “mild by historical standards” (Rawls 89). Indeed, from its inception, American democracy saw the rise of fundamentally opposed political parties, in particular the Federalists and Anti-Federals. Just from the names ascribed to these political groups, one can tell that their beliefs were opposites on many levels. Deeply opposed convictions spurred vicious trading of barbs between politicians and newspapers, which we highly critical of their opponents (Daniel 6). However, as historians today note, the strength and productivity of American democracy “also comes from the parties” (Rawls 95). ...
Anti-Federalists strongly opposed to the Constitution, believing that it gave too much power to a central governmental institution—a federal government. The president, whom they branded as a “military king,” they believed, would become a tyrant who would rule over “the lives, the liberties, and property of every citizen of America” with “uncontrolled power” (Marshall 251). This fear was based primarily on the ideal that liberties should not be swallowed up to build a more powerful, glorious nation. In arguing for a stronger federal government, the Federalists relied on two powerful arguments in favor of the Constitution: first, that Congress had no leverage against the empires of France, Britain, and Spain because it could not regulate foreign commerce, and second, that restrictions on Congress interfered with its basic duty to provide for a national defense (Marshall 234). Both of these arguments are germane to a nation’s foreign affairs, which places the topic of foreign affairs central to the debates between Federalists and Anti-Federalists raging in the 1790s. The most visible face of Federalism in the United States during this period was Alexander Hamilton, who took part in organizing a forceful defense of the Constitution in The Federalist Papers, a collection of 85 essays designed to convince the people of New York to ratify the new Constitution. After the Federalist movement, which was intended primarily to see the Constitution ratified (which it was in 1789), the Federalist Party emerged—guided by the policies of Hamilton in the early 1790s (Berkin 208). John Adams, the second President of the United States and only President elected from the Federalist platform, took office in 1789. The election of Adams and the rising ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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