Both Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were active founding fathers of the United States of America in different positions. Hamilton was born in 1755 and throughout his life, he was a soldier, a political philosopher, and an economist. He was also one of the first constitutional lawyers in the US and also the first US Secretary of the Treasury. Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, was born in the year 1743 and would be the third US president between 1801 and 1809. Hamilton and Jefferson both would contribute towards the development of America’s social-economic system among other key sectors. Both leaders played a significant role in the foundation of American politics. The two, however, would have different opinions and views regarding how the new government of the US was to operate by local governments and states. As it would be observed in this paper, one major event whereby the two leaders were observed to differ greatly would be the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
In the year 1786, it would dawn on the Americans that, the foundation document adopted in the year 1777 needed some amendments. Issues with the then Confederation of State would finally succeed in convincing the Continental Congress to call for a delegates convention meeting in May 1787 to revise the ailing Confederation articles. However, revision of the Confederation would be discarded at the last minute and attention would be averted to more compelling changes. The proposal for these changes was contained in two plans namely the “Virginia Plan” and the “New Jersey Plan.”
The Virginia Plan was mainly drafted by James Madison, then Virginia delegate, and was calling for a national government bearing the two branches of the legislative branch that would be apportioned by the population. This plan accorded the government legislative powers in cases where the independent states would be observed to be incompetent. The plan also offered veto power over legislatures for the state to a proposed Council of Revision. One benefit of this plan was that there would be proportional representatives to the populations of every state and in this case, everyone would be fairly represented.
Most provisions in the Virginia plan were largely opposed by delegates coming from smaller states as well as other regions having less sympathy for federal extensive authority. Come June of the same year, William Peterson, the New Jersey delegate, would present a competing plan known as the “New Jersey Plan.” This plan threatened to keep federal powers a bit limited and would form no new Congress. Moreover, the plan was advocating for the enlargement of some of the existing powers of the Continental Congress. One major benefit of this plan was that it would identify the states to be independent identities. Unfortunately, this plan was rejected by the majority over the Virginia plan. However, some of it’s would be added to the winning Plan.
Both Jefferson and Hamilton had played a strategic role in the American constitution. The two, however, had had different views and perspectives on the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention of 1787. For instance, Hamilton, representing New York at the Convention, felt that the two plans were unsatisfactorily and would therefore draft his plan that was called the ‘British Plan.’ Hamilton would present his plan to the convention but it was dejected owing to its close resemblance to the British system. Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, had the least impact on the convention since he was away serving as the US diplomatic representative in France by the time. However, a copy of the constitution would be sent to him in November of 1787, while still in France. Jefferson’s view on the document was simply that, a Bill of Rights would be necessary.
The 1789 U.S. Constitution included a provision on slave trade abolition. The provision had effectively accorded Congress the authority to prohibit slave importation and to regulate it with an importation tax on every slave. However, the constitution required a delay of this provision up to January 1, 1808. The regulation had a great impact on the overall slave trade. For example, this would pester some states to completely ban slave importation in their regions. However, the demand for slaves was rapidly heightening in the course of this period and for this very reason, the enforcement was viewed to be ineffective and the ban was doing nothing to stop the domestic trade of slaves between states.
As a citizen of the new American republic after the constitution, I would prefer Thomas Jefferson’s view on the Constitution about the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the constitution. Among other immeasurable benefits, this would help in the protection of individual human rights, rather than having to protect only members of higher political classes. On the other hand, I would favor ‘the New Jersey Plan’ over ‘the Virginia Plan’ for the constitution. This is due to the plan’s mission to safeguard the power and security of the smaller states.