Although Hamiltonian Federalists, Wilsonian Democrats, and New Dealers each wanted large government intervention in American economics, they each had different policies depending on the time period and the events that were taking place. In general, the Federalists were those who supported a stronger centralized government. The Federalist movement was motivated by the idea that the national government under the Articles of Confederation was too weak and that a new, stronger form of government must replace it.
The founder of this party was Alexander Hamilton, George Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury during his first term as President. Hamilton’s network of supporters grew into what would become the Federalist Party. Hamiltonian Federalists wanted a fiscally sound and nationalistic government that would intervene in the economy. Hamilton’s proposal toward this goal of financial stability was to assume the state debts incurred during the Revolutionary War, thus creating a national debt, and as a means of paying off this debt, the creation of the First Bank of the United States.
The main goal of the assumption of state debts was to avoid unnecessary and potentially destructive competition between state and federal governments, while at the same time allowing the federal government the opportunity for revenue for the national treasury. A major emphasis of most of Hamilton’s policies and indeed the general outlook for the Federalist Party was that the federal government was to dominate over the state governments with a strong centralized government. ’ Wilsonian democrats enacted some of the most sweeping economic overhauls the American government has ever seen.
They called their philosophy of government the “new freedom. ” What they wanted the government to do is to be more concerned about human rights than about property rights and take away power from the large corporations and banks and give it to the small businesses. They were convinced that strong executive leadership was necessary for progress, and they pushed congress further than any of political party. Wilsonian Democrats wanted the government to intervene the American economy by having the government deal with Tariff reform.
They enacted the Underwood-Simmons tariff which lowered duties on more than a hundred items. They also created a tariff commission in 1916 to study tariffs and make recommendations. Next the government was to deal with Income tax. To offset the loss in revenue from tariff reductions, a graduated income tax law was enacted as authorized by the newly adopted 16th Amendment to the Constitution. It was levied according to wealth. Then they dealt with Currency and credit reform. The Federal Reserve banking system was established, and a board of control was set up to administer the system.
For the first time in American history, finance and credits were placed under government direction. The Federal Farm Loan Act created 12 farm loan-banks to give cheap and easy credit to farmers and tenants. Finally, they wanted complete government regulation of business. The Federal Trade Commission was created, with power to forbid unfair business practices. The Clayton Act, designed to strengthen the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, defined the methods of competition that the Commission was empowered to forbid.
It made officers of corporations liable for illegal acts of those corporations, exempted labor unions from antitrust acts, and forbade the use of labor injunctions except where necessary to protect property. The New Dealers rose about during the Great Depression and supported the federal government to increase regulation of the economy. They believed the government should be economically responsible the depression and enforce the three R’s, Relief, Reform, and Recovery. That is, Relief for the unemployed and poor; recovery of the economy to normal levels; and reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression.
And they wanted the government to do this and therefore it would turn around the economy. The difference between their policies is that their interpretation of what the government should do was based on that time period and what events were taking place, because all wanted and believed in a strong, large government. Like Hamiltonian Federalists, they were just trying to create a stable government that had a strong economic base because it was during the first years of our independence. Their policies were all aimed at establishing a government that would stand strong in the future.
Wilsonian democrats, already had that economic base established and mainly aimed their policies at reforming that and to spread the wealth. Then the New Dealer policies were all basically about getting the country out of the Great Depression and making sure it would not happen again. Although Hamiltonian Federalists, Wilsonian Democrats, and New Dealers each wanted large government intervention in American economics, they each had different policies depending on the time period and the events that were taking place.