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The Building of a Hamiltonian America - Essay Example

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The commonwealth system that characterized the late 18th century had created an economy based on the ability of private business to use political power to create wealth for all the people. Nearly all political factions, both Federalists and Republicans, agreed that a strong economy was in the best interests of everyone…
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The Building of a Hamiltonian America
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Download file to see previous pages Hamilton viewed the country as as an integrated system that needed a strong Federal government and expansive national programs. By 1820, America was still largely rural and had an agricultural based economy. However, 1820 also ushered in the vision of Hamilton's America due to the country's common interests, the industrial revolution, and the close-knit nature of the New America.
There was general agreement that using state governments to grant corporate charters was a benefit to the economy and the people. Hamilton had worked for a national banking system since the late 18th century and in 1816 President Madison signed a bill creating the Second National Bank (Nash et al. 261,262, Henretta, Brody and Dumenil 250,251). This was a common interest that was shared by the people in an effort to develop a common form of commerce. The War of 1812 also served to create a common goal across the country. At this point, people were just beginning to view America as a nation. The war had been viewed as a national problem and initiated a surge of postwar nationalism that was followed by a period of "national unification and economic development" (Nash et al 320). The era of national pride and the banking system were two common interests that set the stage for further development.
The national banking system and Hamilton's ideas on debt financing had come to be an important part of the industrial revolution. By 1820, Jefferson's view of rural America was beginning to change. There was greater trade and greater productivity. Mechanization had begun to stimulate the economy. Between 1790 and 1820, the average income for Americans rose by 30% (Henretta, Brody, and Dumenil 293). Agriculture was mechanizing and changing the face of the rural South. Though there was still a philosophical split between the North and South, the feelings of nationalism and a strong federal presence were being felt throughout America that was being fueled by the industrial revolution.
The industrial revolution and the complexities of a national banking system required that there be close association between the people of the country. This was made possible by improvements in transportation and communication. The national investment in roads had cut travel times between major cities in the East by half by the early 1800s. By 1818, the trip from Cumberland Maryland to Wheeling West Virginia on the Ohio River had been reduced from 8 to 3 days (Nash et al. 321). In addition steamboats were traveling the Mississippi and Ohio taking cargo and passengers around the country. This intermingling of trade and ideas further strengthened Hamilton's picture of America. The people were also brought together by the proliferation of the printed word. In the 1790s fewer than 100 newspapers were published, but this number ballooned to over 1000 by 1830 (Nash et al. 322). The ability to mix trade, thoughts, ideas, and the printed word formed the basis of a strong federal union.
In conclusion, both Jefferson and Hamilton have formed today's America. Americans treasure their independence and individual freedom as espoused by Jefferson. American's are also dependent on the strong federal system that promotes unity and cooperation among the states. By 1820 and the establishment of the Second National Bank, America was beginning to look like Hamilton's vision. The nationalistic spirit ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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