If you have not heard yet, the 2016 campaign has taken a strange twist since this past Tuesday. Both Ted Cruz and John Kaisch have dropped out of the race! No, Trump didn’t deport them. However, this paves the way for Trump become the presumptive nominee barring any convention chaos. One of my very first posts was on Trump, a polarizing and controversial character. Now Donald Trump is a businessman and a successful politician. He seems to have accomplished something that everyone thought was a joke. He also has marketed his “business mindset” better than his predecessor Mitt Romney in 2012. I predicted that Trump’s media coverage would probably propel him very far in this presidential race. Trump is not your typical republican, because he uses the News Media as his second party helping get the nomination.
However, the real challenge for Trump is yet to come. Hillary is a veteran politician and has been on many campaigns including her own senate races, 2008 presidential bid and her husband’s presidential campaigns. For now, I will wait til to primaries are over to start breaking down the general election. As of right now, its pretty clear who the candidates will be. This post is not going to be all about Trump and Clinton. This post will combine some modern politics with those of Alexander Hamilton’s time. I started this amazing book named after our first Treasurer, Alexander Hamilton. I realized that Hamilton was a great founding father with today’s democratic values in terms of government power. I couldn’t believe it. Let me explain.
Alexander Hamilton was a part of the federalist party before and after the signing of the constitution. As a federalist, Hamilton believed in a strong central government that had control over the states. The federalist beliefs were pitted against the much less organized anti-federalist. The face of this group was by far, Thomas Jefferson. Anti-federalists, as the name indicates are against an strong central government. They believe that the states should hold most of the power and that the central government should be weaker. If you paid attention in history class you might recall the federalist papers. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison were the authors of this series of newspaper articles meant to help ratify the constitution.
Now let me explain the beliefs of both republicans and democrats in 2016 politics. Then I will make a nifty comparison bound to blow you away. In 2016, the democrats believe that the central government should be strong. Just look at how Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders supports government programs to help people. Obamacare is another example of government power. When they want to raise the minimum wage or make federal education curriculum that makes for a strong central government. On the flip side of that Republicans typically want less government (OK its a little flawed, actually libertarian beliefs are closer to anti-federalist beliefs) with looser regulations on business, no minimum wage, privatized education and healthcare. So like I was saying Hamilton would be kinda of democrat…just look at this:
Federalist and Democrat believe in strong central government
Anti-Federalist and Republican* believe in a weaker central government that gives power to the states.
That is just crazy to think about that one of our smartest founding fathers had today’s democratic values. Then again maybe its not crazy because thanks to the federalist, we have the great constitution that we have today. I think its important to realize how our government came into being.This is just one small facet. Many of our founding fathers drew on the classics like Machiavelli, Cicero, Aristotle, Adam Smith, and Locke. Our government was not just made up out of thin air. It’s actually strongly based in Roman political theory and enlightenment economics.
You may be asking yourself why does this federalist and anti-federalist even matter. Well, it matters for two reasons. One of George Washington’s warnings in his farewell address was to avoid political parties. The federalist party and anti-federalist were formed right after he left office against his will. As for the issue of the power of government would never go away. In fact, it lead to the bloodiest war on American soil, the civil war. Before I talk about how the Civil War was actually issue of government power, I need to discuss the colonial times.
You may know the before the colonies became states they fought in a revolution against England. In the colonial days, each colony was considered its own separate entity under the British Monarchy. The colonies had their own economies, their own money, their own laws plus the laws that the King passed. This tradition of being independent did not just magically disappear when they won the revolution and signed the constitution. It is evident even before the signing of the current constitution that the states wanted to keep their independence. The Articles of the Confederation were used for a few years until a new constitution could be written. The Articles of Confederation did exactly what the Anti-federalist wanted. It made a weak central government with strong states. The problem was that the states could never agree on anything. It became a similar problem to when you and your group of friends try to pick a place to eat and who’s gonna pay. One person wants Mcdonald’s because their cheap, another person wants Chinese, another person wants steak. You can almost never decide because everyone’s intentions and motivations are different.
Fortunately for us, the federalist did win the day with the constitution. It settle those pesky problems with the states independence. It equaled out the balance of power with size and population using compromises. Now let’s fast forward about 60 to 65 years from the signing of the constitution in 1789. This brings us to the civil war. The main issue of the Civil War was slavery. However, the deeper issue which causes many historians to debate is that of state’s rights. This time it was the southern states trying to claim their right to keep slaves. The question of the time was whether or not the southern states had the right to keep slaves or did the federal government have the right to outlaw it? History decided it with a war, as Abraham Lincoln put it to keep the Union together. Lincoln maintained that he would rather keep the union together by freeing all of the slaves, none of them or some of them. He didn’t care which one.
In end, the 13th amendment to the constitution was passed that outlaw slavery in the United States. The southern succession proved to be an error because the union had the economic and population advantage. States rights play a big role because the war wasn’t just to keep slaves but about the right to keep them. The odd thing is that slaves actually hurt the southern economy. Slaves often put poor whites in poverty. The slaves only helped produce an overstock of cotton to be sold to Europe. Unfortunately for the south just producing cotton wasn’t enough to win against an industrialized North.
Today states rights usually appears in the politics of education because of government legislation like common core or No Child Left Behind. The same fight still exists partly because of the interpretation of the constitution and partly because deep down the states will always feel like they need to have a say.
I hope you enjoy this post. Thanks for reading 🙂
*(More accurately Libertarian because we believe in no federal taxes and minimal regulation)