JEFFERSON, HAMILTON, AND
The extent to which special pleading has altered American historical reality cannot be better exemplified than by what has happened to the popular images of Jefferson, Hamilton, and Washington.
Jefferson is today considered to have been radical; Hamilton, conservative. This reverses historical roles. Social evolution was during their lifetimes moving away from the old aristocratic power structure based on the ownership of land to such a business society as Hamilton prophesied and that we have today. Jefferson wished that the money men then in Congress could be prevented, while agrarians and slaveholders voted freely for their own interests, from having any vote on fiscal matters.
Regarding cities as dens of iniquity, Jefferson tried to sink the beautiful plan for the national capital, designed by Pierre Charles L'Enfant with the backing of Washington, because it envisioned a metropolis rather than an enlarged rural village, like Virginia's capital, Williamsburg. However, legend assumed that Jefferson, as an acknowledged architect, was responsible for the extensive beauties of Washington, D.C.
Jefferson is considered the godfather of the New Deal and the other governmental social programs that followed. Actually, Jefferson would have been horrified by such accretion of federal power. He believed that the better the government, the less it interfered with how people conducted their lives, and that federal authority should rigidly respect states' rights. It was Hamilton who argued that the activites of the people needed to be controlled for their own good, and who advocated such a domineering federal government as modern "liberalism" has built.
Jefferson's eloquent expositions of the rights of man (as a slaveowner he did not include slaves) and his advocacy for the agrarian majority made him a popular hero in his lifetime. Hamilton's deification came after he was dead when businessmen took over the lead in American