To understand America, you have to know its origin and Constitutional law, especially the separation of powers, its three great provinces: the legislative, executive, and judiciary; and the privileges and powers of the different legislative branches. For a range of views of constitutional theory, (see 2004, Russell Hardin) a typical reason for having a constitution is to place limits on government. Among the early advocates of limited government are Locke, Hume, Adam Smith, Wilhelm von Humboldt and Mill. Locke and Sidney argued against the those who advocates with Hobbes, absolute power for the sovereign.
Hume generally supposes that the reason for the scheme of justice is to serve our interests. To achieve justice and social order we must design institutions or norms to bring about just resolutions (deliberately by design or by unintended consequence of various actions taken for other purposes). Hume´s task therefore is largely to show that government officials can be constrained to act for the general good. Why? In part because they act on general principles that do not directly affect their own interests.
Virtually all constitutions are ostensibly designed to secure democratic government and development. Advances in the “science of politics” and skill in the science of government had fostered principles that ensured that abuses of power could be prevented, such as the division of powers, legislative “checks and balances”, an independent judiciary, and legislators that were represented by electors. Constitutional democracy can manage the chaff of political conflict and these disputes over policy alternatives, but it cannot mange really deep conflict between large party groups.
In US political history, the problems of Federalist led by the Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, against the Jeffersonians, represented by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson in U.S. have helped to spur changes in the electoral and therefore in the governmental process.
Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804) was a founding father of the United States, chief staff aide to General George Washington, one of the most influential interpreters and promoters of the U.S. Constitution, the founder of the nation’s financial system, and the founder of the Federalist Party, the world’s first voter-based political party. His plans for money, banking, taxation, trade, manufactures, and control of the public debt set the course of American prosperity forever.
Alexander Hamilton became the leading cabinet member in the new government under President Washington. Facing well-organized opposition from Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Hamilton took the lead in the funding of the states’ debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain.
Hamilton was among those dissatisfied with the weak national government. He led the Annapolis Convention, which successfully influenced Congress to issue a call for the Philadelphia Convention, in order to create a new constitution. Founded the Bank of New York and successfully argued that the implied powers of the Constitution provided the legal authority to fund the national debt, assume states’ debts, and create the first government-owned Bank of the United States.
Hamilton argued that “the propose of the constitution was to put in place a workabal government”. He argued that the sovereign duties of a government implied the right to use means adequate to its ends.”…all menans requisite and fairly applicable to the attainment of the ends of such power… not precluded in to the constitution and not contrary to the essential ends of political society”
Washington agreed with Hamilton´s argument and signed the act February 25, 1791. A government-owned Bank for commercial USA
As a penniless and illegitimate immigrant who rose to the highest positions of statesmanship, he is an especially fitting symbol of the American dream, representing the aristocracy of talent and hard work—not of birth. No one was more responsible for the calling of the Constitutional Convention, or for defending its work during the struggle for ratification. James Madison wrote two of the most celebrated of the Federalist Papers, but Hamilton originated the project and wrote most of the essays, including those on the presidency and the judiciary.
He almost single-handedly led the charge for ratification of the Constitution in New York, where anti-Federalist sentiment ran high. “If New York had not ratified, it is hard to see how the Union could have come into being.” writes Michael W. McConnell, a professor at Stanford Law School and director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Alexander Hamilton, whose picture appears on the $10 bill, is the worthiest and most appropriate person to honor in this way. It is not an exaggeration to say that, without Hamilton, there would have been no Constitution.
The Diplomacy of the Early Republic.
Almost all of the debate around the adoption of the U.S. Constitution supposes that representatives are to represent their own communities. Unfortunately, this is again a collective action problem. In a sense, what we ordinarily describe as democratic politics is merely the chaff. It is the surface manifestation, representing separated ideas and partisan political conflicts. And what was George Washington worried about as he left office?
The problem of The Federalists supported the development of a strong international commerce and, with it, the creation of a navy capable of protecting U.S. merchant vessels. The Jeffersonians favored expansion across the vast continent that the new republic occupied. The Federalists and Jeffersonians also disagreed over U.S. policy toward political events in Europe. After the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, the Federalists distrusted France and encouraged closer commercial ties to England, while the Jeffersonians preferred to support the new French Republic.
Following the end of the American Revolution, the United States struggled to define its foreign policy, to determine how to implement it, and to maintain necessary commercial ties with Europe without becoming embroiled in European conflicts and politics. A major issue splitting the parties was the Jay Treaty, largely designed by Hamilton in 1794. It established friendly economic relations with Britain to the chagrin of France and the supporters of the French Revolution. Hamilton played a central role in the Federalist party, which dominated national and state politics until it was overthrown by Jefferson in 1800.
Jefferson recast Washington’s warning against passionate attachments by setting out his new administration’s governing foreign policy principle: “ . . . peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none. What’s striking about the latest recitation of the Farewell Address—a tradition followed in the Senate since 1896—is how little has changed in U.S. foreign policy since Washington wrote farewell address.” Lovingly preserved today in The New York Public Library, the first president’s 32-page handwritten “Letter to the American People” printed and reprinted after its first appearance on September 19, 1796 in Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser (a Philadelphia newspaper).
Political parties and coalition
The prevailing view of political parties, and especially the two major parties in the United States, is that they are coalitions. Both parties clearly have ideological cores, but party coalitions need not coincide with ideological clusters at all.
Political parties are coalitions of actors who have interests that differ and who want very different things from politics ( here for some evidence data).
Partisan voters may diverge from the coalitions from time to time and force party leaders to react in some way, but the coalitions themselves are shaped by political elites—the party leaders and activists who sort out and articulate the issues around which the parties coalesce. The eventual nominee will, in some respects, stand in for the terms of the party’s coalition.
It can be useful to think of the members of these coalitions, being shaped during presidential nominations, as different elements of the party back different candidates, but the most traction comes from viewing them as comprising different social groups.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the Republican Party included protariff businessmen, those with free-silver mining interests, and blacks. These interests were often wildly in conflict with one another, necessitating clever maneuvering by party leaders to hold the party together. In the 1940s and 1950s, the New Deal coalition of the Democrats brought together the northern union members, Catholics, Jews, and ethnic whites, but also southern white segregationists. Republicans included those with business interests as well as Protestants, women’s rights groups, and groups on both sides of the emerging conflict over civil rights.
In the twentieth century these coalitions brought together the interests, ideas, and policy preferences that we today associate with liberals and conservatives. Liberals favor government economic intervention to encourage equality and labor interests; policies that advantage ethnic, religious, sexual, and racial minorities and disadvantaged groups; women’s rights; a multilateral and often less militaristic foreign policy; and a collection of many other positions. Conservatives favor free markets, business interests, a color-blind approach to race and ethnic issues, traditional religious and sexual norms, a foreign policy informed by American exceptionalism, and a number of other positions.
It also makes sense to think of these ideological movements as coalitions because they bring together potentially diverse actors, cementing their bonds with appeals to shared principles, values, and even symbols. But, as “American” there has to be common ground in the area of American Constitutional law and Separation of Powers, on which the type of authority granted and to whom it was granted, in order to govern.
As general principle that one branch of government (e.g. the legislature) may not “delegate” or give up its constitutional responsibilities to another branch of government (e.g. the executive branch), an administrative entity, or a private entity; to do so would be a violation of separation-of-powers. An examination of the history of those powers reveals how far separation-of-powers jurisprudence has departed from the original meaning of the Constitution.
What DON’T you know about Alexander Hamilton?