Jefferson vs. Hamilton Assignment

Part I.  Read the intro to Jefferson vs. Hamilton: Ideas that Shaped a Nation and the introductions to each chapter.  Then skip around and read at least five of the documents in the book.

Part II.  Write a page (at least three solid paragraphs) answering these questions.

How were Jefferson and Hamilton similar in their perspectives?  How were they different?

What do you think were the most significant conflicts between Jefferson and Hamilton?

How did the ideas from these two leaders help shape our country?

Part III. Identify five documents that you found especially helpful for giving us insight into Jefferson and Hamilton.  Identify the documents by author, title, and date.  Tell why the document is significant.  For each document, provide two quotes that you think are valuable.  Tell what you think the quotes mean.


Alexander Hamilton, Report on a National Bank, December 14, 1790

In this document Hamilton argues that a national bank will help the country grow economically.  He also argues that the bank can help the government finance important projects.

Hamilton explains why it is preferable to have people put money in banks, rather than simply hanging on to it until they want to buy something:  “It is evident…that the money, which a merchant keeps in his chest, waiting for a favorable opportunity to employ it, produces nothing until that opportunity arrives.  But…if he either deposits it in a Bank, or invests it in the stock of a Bank, it yields a profit, during the interval…” (46)

Part IV.  Conclusion.  In one or two paragraphs, explain how you see the significance of the confrontations between Jefferson and Hamilton.

You might consider some of these questions:

Do you think the conflict between the two leaders was helpful or harmful to the country?

Do you think it was helpful to Washington to have such contrasting views in his administration?

What can we learn from the experiences of these two leaders?

How do you see the debates between Jefferson and Hamilton continuing today?

Part V.  Share your perspective in class.

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