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250Brief 3 - Dr Welch Political Thought in America...

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Dr. Welch Political Thought in America 5/4/2007 Important Ideas in America from 1787-1865 Coming out of the period following the American Revolution and signing of the U.S. Constitution into practice, Americans began to evaluate their life. Is this what they had fought for? Is this what they had bled for? They began to examine and attempt to understand their purpose in the world. Americans began to perfect their governmental style. In trying to do so, they began to coalesce into factions, or parties. Different factions arose, died off, and were reborn again. Representing the Federalists was Alexander Hamilton. The Federalists favored a “strong central government, forceful executive leadership, and an active role for government in promoting economic growth through tariffs, credit, and internal improvements.” Jeffersonian-minded politicians tended to go against more of what the Federalists preached. They were in direct opposition of each other. They tended to be strict constructionists, and were very worried that government could get out of control with its power. Anything “that is unauthorized by the Constitution” was unthinkable to a Jeffersonian. Eventually the parties evolved into a Democrat versus Whig battle. Representing the Democrats, Andrew Jackson and his like are the direct descendants of the Jeffersonians. Going by the strict letter of the Constitution, Jackson’s views can be summed up by his view that “It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often
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bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes.” They represented the little man in government, and tried to fight for him. The Whigs on the other hand represented the businessmen. Daniel Webster wrote a treatise explaining their stance on various issues, and where exactly they stood. They flourished, since the new America was driven by capitalism. Their main focus was economics, and the trickle down theory. But “had it not been for the slavery issue, the Whigs might have survived as a legitimate conservative party.” They were driven apart by the same issue that divided the nation, slavery.
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