Tea Party-Two Party

Celebrity Barfight: Hamilton v. Jefferson

February 13, 2010
Hamilton v. Jefferson

Showdown! Throwdown! A battle of epic proportions!

This feature was inspired by our beloved AP US History teacher, who often contemplates historical and not-so-historical throwdowns between some very interesting individuals. Thus, we present our first installment: Alexander Hamilton vs. Thomas Jefferson (or, as we like to call them, dear old Hammie and Jeff-o). As writers, we’re going to try to convince you why one might be better than the other.  Sorry about the length this time – we’ll cut it down in the future. As dear readers, you get to vote for which one gets a big, gaudy belt to tote around. Here goes!

FLORIN: Let’s start out with the fact that Hamilton never drove the US into an economic depression, unlike a certain someone who passed a certain Embargo Act of 1807 that basically said American merchant ships couldn’t go trade in foreign ports without presidential authorization. Then later, he “intelligently” said that no exports to foreign nations or trade in foreign ports was allowed. Brilliant idea right there, Jeff-o.  Contrastingly, Hamilton pretty much built the US economy. The U.S. Mint, the first national bank, and more efficient manufacturing standards were all his babies. Also, Jefferson is on the two-dollar bill. Not only is Hamilton worth five times more, no one even uses two-dollar bills. Leaving the money side of things alone, Hammie basically secured the ratification of the Constitution with his work on the Federalist Papers. Finally, he was a total gentleman, willing to put aside little differences with Jefferson to take on Aaron Burr (which, coincidentally, he did in an epic duel of epic proportions that sadly ended in Hammie’s untimely demise). It so happens that Jefferson was never really man enough to go and duel – clearly he would lose in a deathmatch. As the ultimate example of federalism, Hamilton built this country and built it well.  Guilder is going to try to convince you that he was a tyrant, but our first Secretary of the Treasury was a Founding Father who knew the direction that the US should take. Instead of a splintered nation of violently objecting states, a federal coalition was Hamilton’s greatest dream and achievement. We are unified because of him. What more can I say, except that Alexander Hamilton is the Sexiest Man on US Currency and Thomas Jefferson isn’t?

GUILDER: First off Florin, let’s cut the crap. Don’t try to use the fact that Hamilton set a historical precedent of epic failing in death matches to show that he would win a death match with someone who was 10x more of a BAMF than Aaron Burr.  Jefferson was the intellectual force behind the American Revolution. A true freedom fighter, Jefferson advocated violent rebellion every twenty years or so (“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”) Alexander Hamilton was a megalomaniac power-monger who would have crowned George Washington king if he had his way. And despite his authoring of the Federalist Papers, he was so extremely authoritarian that even James Madison, his former ally, turned against him, siding with Thomas Jefferson in George Washington’s presidency. It is only because of the work of Jefferson and his Anti-Federalist followers that we have today’s Bil protecting l of Rights, US citizens from an overreaching government that is nowhere near held back by the checks and balances of the Constitution to the extent preached by Hamilton. Not that he’d have a problem with the Patriot Act, or anything. Don’t even get me started on his enslavement of the states to burgeoning federal power, setting a precedent for the one-size-fits-all external style of government that dominates us today, rather than advocating individual states’ choices on touchier issues. And while TJ may have been caught up with War Fever and advocated the Embargo Act, doing so did set the precedent of using trade sanctions as a diplomatic means of achieving goals. And as far as the economy goes, don’t drink Florin’s Koolaid about the National Bank. By creating the money monopoly monstrosity that was the first Bank of the United States, Hamilton set our Republic on the path to enslavement through governmentally-empowered-banker-induced boom and bust cycles.  So all Hammie has to show for is his advocating for extreme government power, whether infringing upon your social or economic liberties. Maybe that’s good for Florin, but I’ll take empowerment over enslavement.

What do you guys think? Vote in the poll below.


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Two schools of thought. One intellectual barfight. Contact us at teapartytwoparty[at]gmail[dot]com.