Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in Virginia; his father was a prominent man who owned over 1,400 acres of land. His mother came from one of the famous families in Virginia. As such, he had a very comfortable childhood devoid of any financial constraints. Alexander Hamilton on the other hand was born in Nevis as a second child of a union between James and Rachel Hamilton. His mother had separated with her first husband before settling with Mr. Hamilton. Soon after the father disappeared leaving him with the mother who passed away a few years later. Unlike Jefferson, Hamilton had difficulty during his childhood. He however struggled hard to attain proper education with the help of a friend. The events that followed the American Revolution were a defining moment for both Jefferson and Hamilton.
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Harvie, January 14, 1760
In this letter, Jefferson intends to convince his guardian why he should join College. It should be noted that it was this particular letter that opened a myriad of opportunities for Jefferson. He convincingly argues his case stating that an opportunity to join college will make him get “…more universal acquaintance which may hereafter be serviceable to me… (Cunning, 5).” According to Jefferson, his study in College of William and Mary was an amazing transforming experience in his entire life: “It was my great fortune and what probably fixed the destinies of my life… (Cunning, 5).”
Alexander Hamilton, Letter to Edward Stevens, November 11, 1769
This was a letter that would change Hamilton’s life for the best. In the letter, he stated why he wanted to pursue education. “… I am confident Ned that me youth excludes me from any hopes of immediate preferment….but I desire to prepare the way for futurity… (Cunning, 6).” In my opinion, it was his desire to succeed academically that made him who he was. He did not allow his ugly past to affect his future no wonder he plans for his future success.
Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Constitutionality of the Bill for Establishing a National Bank, February 15, 1791.
In this letter, Jefferson seeks to convince on the importance of establishing a National Bank that is not inconsistent with the constitutional provisions regarding the establishment of the same. He states the powers given to the state among them “… A power to lay taxes for the purpose of paying the debts of the U.S…”and "... to borrow money... (Cunning, 55)". He goes ahead to justify how important the National Bank will be to both the state and the citizens. He argues that “...a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes… (Cunning, 57).” This opinion paper led to many developments in the U.S treasury among them the establishment of a National Bank that played a major role in making U.S a super power. All taxes were easily collected by the bank hence reducing the expenses on every state thereby improving the economy of the U.S. This quote made a lot of sense to me since a government entirely depends on taxes; therefore coming up with an easy and secure way of collecting taxes was a sure way of improving a country’s economic bargain.
George Washington, Letter to Alexander Hamilton, July 29, 1792
After being appointed to the Treasury during President George Washington’s era, Hamilton had the duty to ensure that the country’s economy does not fall. In this letter however, the president highlights various intriguing issues that Hamilton should respond to. These two issues got me thinking about how U.S would be today had they not been addressed, “That the public debt is greater than we can possibly pay before other causes of adding new debt to it will occur…(Cunning, 83).” In my opinion, this statement means that the state had the immediate duty to reduce public debt in order to have a stable economy. The second quote “…That it has furnished effectual means of corrupting such a portion of the legislature, as turns the balance between the honest Voters which ever way it is directed… (Cunning, 85).” This implies that the government is corruptible and unless the Treasury took a firm standing, the economy and the government of the time were bound to fall.
Alexander Hamilton, Letter to George Washington, September 9, 1792
In this reply to the president, Hamilton states that :
“…But when I no longer doubted that there was a formed party deliberately bent upon the subversion of measures, which in its consequences would subvert the government… I considered it as a duty to endeavor to resist the torrent, and, as an effectual means to this end, to draw aside the veil from the principal actors…(Cunning, 96).”
This shows his readiness to take action against those people in the government who wanted to taint his reputataion brfore the president. Albeit with a lot of dishonesty; the issues articulated in the president’s letter to him- Hamilton argues that “…As long as I saw no danger to the Government, from the machinations which were going on, I resolved to be a silent sufferer of the injuries which were done to me…(Cunning, 97).” This was in relation to the accusation by the president that he knew the government was running at a debt yet he never mentioned to the president. This implies that he was a man of moral integrity since he took his time to unveil the masks behind his perceived issues with the president.
Hamilton and Jefferson totally changed the political landscape in the United States having worked hard to ensure that they left a legacy. Despite their regular confrontations on different issues, they remain a great inspiration to many politicians in the world today. They remain admirable political icons in the U.S with their bodies buried in the heart of country’s states.