1.1. Rise of a Recklessly Idealistic Nation called America
America looked bizarre and was unthinkable at the contemporary time period. Montesquieu and Rousseau aspired after establishing an ideal world where individuals and their nations keep their peaceful diplomacy without strife by promoting an equitable trade among them. This ideal was certainly desirable, but it was seen as a reckless if it were to put into practice in the real world politics.
Great Britain has partially taken this ideal politics into practice since she expanded her international trade network. The policy of other European countries in their international relation during the modern time period was based on the extortion of wealth from their colonies as well as the other territories in the world by their military might under the command of their sovereignty. By contrast, though it was to the certain extent, Great Britain treated her colonial countries as her trade partners so that she allowed her colonies to accumulate their own wealth. Furthermore, Great Britain took an advantage of her dominance in seas in the world, and she expanded her friendly international trade relationship with the other countries and territories. She combined her military strength with her wisdom in the free international trade. Aristocrats and bourgeoisie in Britain seemed to know that they would certainly be able to extort more from both their colonies and the other trade partners after letting them grow in the free and equitable trades.
Great Britain is also the nation which has developed the modern democracy from a much earlier time period than any European nations. The notion of the equality of all aristocrats and commoners under the law since the Magna Carta was signed, of the republicanism provoked by Cromwellian revolution, and of the parliamentary democracy under the constitutional monarchy established by the glorious revolution are complementary with establishing a modern democratic nation. Both British monarchies and aristocrats (Though there were some reactionary ones who opposed to the democratic development in British politics) tolerated the freedom of speech and choice promoted by the modern democracy because it has actually produced huge profits for not only bourgeoisie, the emerging well off social class, and the commoners but also the monarchy and the aristocrats. The openness offered by the democracy encouraged various new inventions which profited the entire British nation. The competition among politicians and entrepreneurs with their voluntary will, rather than the unilateral autocratic command enforcing them to act involuntarily, was the efficient and effective way to motivate them to work for the monarchy's interest and providing the aristocratic investors with high returns.
The combination of these political notions and the wisdom of liberalism gained from the free trade have grown the modern liberal democracy ideal in practice. Great Britain took advantage of the liberal democracy, and resulted in the situation that one of her colonies increased the political and diplomatic influence. This was America. America has taken over these characteristics of Great Britain as America was once a part of Great Britain. In addition, since America became independent, America has promoted the domestic policy and the foreign diplomacy based on democracy and the international trade, which used to be seen as utterly idealistic, furthermore. America was a nation which was seen as recklessly idealistic as well as unique more than Great Britain.
There were several schools of political ideologies competing in the decision process of inducing their desiring outcomes for both the domestic policy and the diplomacy. Unlike Great Britain, as there was no hereditary monarchy who shares with his/her family, there was no strong single sovereign who had the right to choose the final choice of decision making process. The president could be seen as a sovereign, but the president was constantly replaced, and the political ideology was also frequently switched over again and again because a newly elected president often believed in and supported for a different school of political ideology from the previous one.
Before Great Britain and America emerged, all the nations believed that America's policy was unreal. The realistic view of politics at the contemporary time regarded that a strong military might commanded with one charismatic sovereign was the primary importance to secure and increase the wealth and hold an initiative in foreign diplomacy. Even nowadays, some schools of politics and foreign diplomacy still claim that there always needs to be a solid guardianship by an executive branch with a unified ethical principle. These realists assume that there always needs someone who is effective and virtuous enough to lead the others to stabilise the decision making process and derive the expected outcome. Then, they argue that it is utterly unrealistic to "expect" for spontaneously stabilising outcomes by letting all various individuals do freely. They consider that the autocratic executive branch needs to exist to stabilise the decision making outcomes and instruct citizens to follow a certain form of norm and value which the unified ethical principle suggests citizens to follow. Furthermore, they also insist to collectively plan economy to avoid the unwanted actions and outcomes instead of letting individual agents to freely choose and act. This traditional realism in domestic policy and foreign diplomacy is called the Continental Realism. America has been following to what the school of the Continental Realism describes as unrealistic at the contemporary time. None would believe that such a fragmented idealistic nation could grow so much as becoming the world most strongest nation in the future.
America seemed to be an unstable nation. However, although American politics has been administrated by fragmented groups of political thought, these groups and American people shared the common ethical in politics. Because America is a democratic republic nation without a unified political decision making code, majority of American people think their voice frequently represents American politics and American future and so actively participate into politics. Because there is neither a hereditary monarchy nor any paternalistic autocratic executive branch who would have a final say in politics, it looks like resulting in unstable outcomes where the ongoing havoc continues to takes place.
Nonetheless, even though there are more than one fragmented groups of political thought which American politicians and people belong to, majority of them share the common ethical principle which is called the natural right. When America was founded, both Christian value and the enlightenment philosophy of the natural right, most notably spread by John Locke and Thomas Paine, were introduced to be the base universal ethical principle of American nation. There was no monarchy, or no autocratic executive branch, who guides the nation to follow or refer to their suggesting principle, American nation is endowed with a nonhuman/non-manmade sovereign, and then all American have become equal under it since American establishment.
This nonhuman sovereign is called God by believers, and called either humanity or the categorical imperative by agnostics and atheists. In America, even agnostics and atheists tend to have a faith in a mystic transcendental being. Even though they challenge against the traditional faith in God, their custom of worshiping a nonhuman sovereign above all human-beings has never changed since America was founded. This characteristics of American ethics still forms American politics and influences how America as a whole nation changes over time. This aspect has encouraged Americans to share and aspire in pursing one universal moral principle, the natural right created by either God or any transcendental being.
1.2. Jeffersonian Natural Right V.S. Hamiltonian Opposition
The comparison between Jefferson's political ideology and Hamilton's is the most remarkable and the most traditional topic in American political discourse. Jefferson persisted in pursing the American ideal and the ethical principle basing it meanwhile Hamilton insisted on what are required for the national security and growing the wealth of nation in real. Jefferson argued that America should be concentrated on maturing and protecting the American born liberal democracy at home and put priority on securing this ideal politics at home over intervening to political issues outside America. By contrast, Hamilton was aware of fiscal reality and defending America from potential aggressors, and so he put emphasis on the need of the strong federal government administrating the centrally planned public finance and hold the nation wide military power. Hamilton also insisted on growing America as a wealthy nation, and encouraged to actively involve and intervene to the foreign affairs. Both Jefferson and Hamilton are right by means of talking about what America and her people need. But, their ideologies are never compatible with each other, and these two schools of American political ideology, Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian, has been disputing each other since American establishment.
1.3. Jeffersonian: The American Revolutionary
his logic and its basing ethical principle is certainly what Jeffersonians have adapted to their political ideology. Another Natural Right theorist Thomas Paine, one of the founding fathers, has never read Locke's thesis but his political ideology and ethical principle is coincidentally identical to Loch's.
The political ideology of Thomas Jefferson, called Jeffersonian, is indeed regarded as the first base ideology of America and represents the initial purpose of American establishment. Jeffersonian supports the impregnable individual rights for freedom of choice, owning and defending their property, and equality in opportunity regardless of any human category. It protests against the government intervention to their choice and extortion of their property, and then supports the government intervention only when the government collective power is required to secure these rights from the violators with a forcible intervention. Jeffersonian insists on a strong each state's right but also on the reasonable level of the federal government power in case when it becomes necessary to give a negative sanction against a state government neglecting of the duty of defending the impregnable individual rights.
Jeffersonian promotes the private sector intensive laissez-faire economy motivated by the voluntary will of individual citizens, and then strongly opposes both the government intervention into economic activities and the existence of huge public sectors financed by the tax which is an involuntary force to extort from citizens. In addition, Jeffersonian also disagrees with the existence of big corporations whose economic power is influential enough to change people's life style and monopolising the purchasing power of property ownership. It expects individual citizens to voluntarily protest against deserving for these big corporations without relying on the government sanction when it becomes necessary. All in all, Jeffersonian pursues in the truly competitive laissez-faire economy, which expects majority of individual citizens to be enlightened themselves with both the rationality to analyse cost and benefit of their choice and the voluntary spirit required for the self-governance.
Jeffersonian supports the international trade because it regards of the openness of American national economy as the virtue of American liberal democracy. America has to provide Americans with the opportunity to sell their products abroad as well as the freedom of choice to buy foreign products. She should also provide talented immigrants with the opportunity to succeed in business or any other productive activities and enjoy the luxury living standard with liberty. Furthermore, in order to thrive as a peaceful liberal democratic nation, America has to advertise herself as a beneficial trade partner whose productivity level meets foreigners' demand and whose purchasing power. Then, America would no longer need to rely merely on her military might, and then be able to hold her initiative in foreign diplomacy by attracting the other nations as the foreign customers of America.
However, it disagrees with the over expansion of it when its reliance becomes too big to violate individuals' natural rights and sovereignty. Jeffersonian national economic model regards highly of the self sufficiency which does not have to rely on importing some foreign products. When people and economy become reliant on a big scale of production and foreign products, the intervention by a government, any big public sector institute, and big multinational private corporations will be inevitable to mediate their trade, and individual people's autonomy will become too small to act on behalf of their own want and will without depending on the interest of these big institutes.
Jeffersonian is indeed a revolutionary political ideology. The establishment of the United States of America is called American Revolution, and Jeffersonians were considered to be the leading faction of American revolution. Jeffersonian politicians and citizens nowadays still aspire to establish America as the true genuine utopian nation of liberal democracy based on the Natural Right principle. This aspect is very similar to the Russian revolution in which Russians aspired to establish a genuine socialist nation enthusiastically following Marxist doctrine. Even though the characteristics of American Revolution is totally opposite from the counterpart of Russian Revolution, the quality of both revolutions is very identical and strong. As same as Bolsheviks advocated their ideal and pursued the universal moral objective, Jeffersonians believe in one universal moral objective which all humans are ought to follow and cling to creating an utopia which they imagine.
1.4. Hamiltonian: Balancing the Liberal Democratic Ideal and the Reality
Of course, as one of American founding fathers, Hamilton also supported American Natural Right principle, and he tried not to violate this principle as much as possible. So, Hamilton was sympathetic to Jefferson and his idealism at a certain extent. This characteristics differentiated Hamilton's realism from the Continental Realism, and created a new form of the realism in political science. Hamilton thought highly of American liberal democracy and the free trade, and his realism was different from the Continental Realism. His realism was considered to be an antithesis of Jeffersonian idealism, but at the same time its realism is totally distinguished from the Continental Realism. So, Hamiltonian realism can be seen as a synthesis between the liberal democratic ideal and the traditional Continental Realism, and then was born as the new political realism which can be called the economic/commercial realism.
The Continental Realism regards that increasing the power of central authority is the primary key to increase economic strength, and supports extorting individuals' property and wealth and controlling individuals' activities to cover the budget of the central authority. By contrast, Hamiltonian realism putting priority on both the power of a central authority and economic strength as both are the primary importance for a nation's initiative in diplomacy. Both Great Britain and America were the first modern nations who found that growing their economic strength is the necessary factor to invest to the public sector administrated by their central authority, and not the other way around like the Continental Realism regards. So, Hamiltonian demands the minimum optimum rate for extracting the public finance from private citizens and institutes. This extraction rate is supposed to be feasible enough to allow individuals and their institutions to enjoy the free competition encouraged by their own voluntary will, which consequently increases the aggregate public finance.
Hamiltonian imitated the political model of Great Britain which regards highly of the liberal democratic domestic policy and the diplomacy based on the free international trade, and adapted it to America's own politics. As same as British model, Hamiltonian regards that there need to be some central authorities mediating political decision making processes and economic activities, and America needs to secure her dominance in sea in order to enable her to expand her trade ties in this world. So, it insisted on having one sovereign leader and a unified federal government supervising all state governments who have the final say in political decision making processes. Furthermore, one strong national military, a navy in particular, securing national defence as well as securing America's dominance in seas expanding and sustaining the peaceful trade routes.
Hamiltonian focuses on the fiscal reality such as balancing budget under the federal government's supervision and the sufficient level of intervention to people's personal activities such as imposing taxation and regulations. When Hamilton was appointed as a secretary of the treasury, he proposed the plan called the Assumption which was aimed to clear the American national debt under the collective fiscal administration conducted by the federal government. Each state had to contribute to the Assumption by paying the tax to the federal government, and the level of each state's accountability to the Assumption was determined by the federal government owing to each state ability and responsibility. The Assumption was imposed to free America from the interest payment to the nations lending money to America and any responsibility burdened on America due to holding debt.
The tight fiscal policy like the Assumption is an essential act to provide Americans with a healthy free market economy where both their income and their activity are not restricted by the debt responsibility. Also, it provides America with the free choose of their trade partner by means of their favour without any pressure from the lending countries. Since the Assumption was put into practice at American establishment period, Hamiltonians have put emphasis on defending the tight fiscal policy which stabilises American domestic policy as well as the international diplomacy. Even though some opponents insist on increasing government expenditure for either an economic stimulus or a military campaign, Hamiltonian opposes an excess expenditure which is not guaranteed to pay off for its cost. Hamiltonian is against the speculative fiscal policy, which contains the high residual cost (E.g. Risk of the estimated variation of the cost and benefit forecast), and supports for the optimum but minimum level of expenditure for the foreign affairs.
Hamilton initially proposed the plan to unify American monetary policy among all states with a shared common currency usage. A national central bank was established to control the overall money supply level and the central interest rate, which are set to stabilise American economic indices such as the business cycle and the price inflation rate. Then, each state was prohibited from issuing its own currency under Hamilton's plan in order to avoid the possible havoc caused by the excess money supply and the interest rate fluctuation. His fellows Hamiltonians also defend his plan so that they claim for the consistent and rigorous monetary policy management under the strict supervision by the selected executive branch of the central bank.
Jeffersonian, even nowadays, is highly sceptical about Hamilton's plan of the tight centralised monetary policy because this plan contains a very high risk of violation of states' right as well as individual citizens' right. Jeffersonian suspects that the central bank may take the advantage of its control over money supply. When the right to issue only one unified currency is owned by one elitist institute, only limited number of authorised elite executives will monopolise their right to print money, and then they may start using their power to supply money to deserve their favourite groups of individuals and corporations regardless of the interest of American majority people. On the top of the monopolisation of the right, Jeffersonian also concerns about the high price inflation caused by the excess money supply which harms majority of American people's life. Nonetheless, because Hamiltonian is a fiscal realist, as long as these executive follow Hamiltonian principle, they are supposed know their primary duty is stabilising economy. The economic stabilisation consequently benefits to not only the majority people but also these executives themselves. If they violated this role to seek their own short term interests, the economic unrest resulted by their violation would depreciate their interests in the long term. Therefore, Hamiltonian claims that the moral hazard of the central bank only takes place when they ignore the rational monetary policy management originally suggested by Hamilton.
While putting emphasis on the necessity of the central authorities, Hamiltonian promotes the private sector intensive free market economy encouraging the competitive economy as well as a big entrepreneurship leading American economy. Hamiltonian admires the existence of the gigantic enterprises and the financial institutions in American liberal democratic economy. Because Hamiltonian economic model focuses on the globe rather than being restricted to inside America, it encourages many American enterprises to become big enough to expand their business abroad. Also, many foreign corporations are welcomed to America to compete with American counterparts. Hamiltonian regards highly of meritocracy which encourages all entrepreneurs and workers to have an equality of opportunity to succeed in the market competition owing to their merit.
Jeffersonian also assists meritocracy as much as Hamiltonian does. But, Hamiltonian view on meritocracy is global scale meanwhile Jeffersonian view is much smaller. Jeffersonian warned of the over stratification of social class caused by Hamiltonian favour for a big business. By contrast, Hamiltonian focuses on the high aggregate productivity growth which consequently deserves for all the citizens living in America. Hamiltonian economic model follows what Adam Smith said about the income gap, "The poorest in a richer nation is better off than the richest in a poor nation due to the high market potential to succeed in the competition, the access to education and high culture, and the free civil liberty".
Nevertheless, when the monopoly power of American enterprises becomes excessively huge and the foreign corporations start invading American economy, then Hamiltonian claims for the government negative sanction toward them in order to balance the power among all economic agents in order to maintain the free competitive economy. Whenever it comes to the government intervention to the market economy, several Hamiltonians dispute with each other. Some Hamiltonians are in favour of big enterprises leading the market as it is a healthy outcome of the meritocracy whereas the other Hamiltonians argue that constantly stimulating the meritocratic competition by avoiding monopoly is a primary objective.
Hamiltonian philosophy is considered to be Pragmatism. It aims at achieving in the philosophical objective of this idealistic nation by using the inevitably required methods of developing and defending this nation. As long as these methods are useful to deserve for the well-being of the survival of this nation as well as they are not extremely deviating from the philosophical objective, they are allowed to ostensibly violate what the natural right principle at a certain degree. Therefore, Hamiltonian policy frequently changes owing to various different principles across different times, places, and occasions so that Hamiltonian politicians policies are often significantly different from each other even though they seek the same goal.
Moreover, Hamiltonian also promotes the specialisation of industries and academic subjects in order to encourage individuals to be efficiently concentrated on putting their effort into what they are working for. Hamiltonian pragmatism has induced many industrialists to merely seek their own material profit and many academics to study merely for the approval by the authority of their belonging academic peer group. Unlike Jeffersonian who demands every citizen to be enlightened with American idealism, Hamiltonian does not pay much attention on the ideological principle of all individual citizens as long as they consequently deserve for the survival and the prosperity of America.
1.5. Jacksonian: A Populist Derivation of Jeffersonian
There was another remarkable figure who formed his own unique form of American political philosophy. This person was a war veteran, and neither was a privileged family background nor had a high intelligence. His name is Andrew Jackson, and his philosophical followers are called Jacksonian. He called himself a Jeffersonian Democrat, but Jefferson called Jackson as a dangerous man. (The Presidents of the United States: Episode 2 - 1789-1825 (History Documentary), 2013) He believed in Jeffersonian way of American revolutionary politics but did not pay attention to the ideology politics like Jefferson had a strong commitment in.
Jackson gained popularity from American people because of his heroic characteristics and his straight forward thoughts of politics which was easy for majority of people to understand. His politics was derived from the interests of ordinary American mass who were frustrated with the widening gap between them and the elite Americans, and also with the increasing power of the federal government authority and the big enterprises' monopoly over their economy. These American mass found that their life style was miserable relative to the elite members of America. Jackson proposed his aggressive popular politics which corresponded to the contemporary American mass's wish and antagonised the rich elite status-quo. Jackson was far radically opposed both the federal government and big businesses, and he even demanded abolition of the national currency. Although, majority of the modern Jacksonians are not radical as much as Jackson himself, they strongly support for a decentralised political economic model and put priority on states’ right over the federal power far more than Jeffersonians.
Most of Jacksonian believers are from the good old country sides who are willing to fight with their muscle and arms for securing their own property right, their family’s well-being, and their romanticism of American tradition. Jacksonian is a down to the earth ideology which puts priority on the slow traditional American country-side life style which detests the diversity. Even though Jacksonian shares a lot of similarity with Jeffersonian, Jacksonian politics is totally distinct from Jeffersonian. Jefferson's politics was understandable for educated and young citizens who create their logical arguments to fight for their rational ideal, but seemed to be often difficult for relatively uneducated mobs and nonacademic elderly citizens to understand. By contrast, Jacksonian ignores applying the complicated methodology of idealism and its rationale so that they tend to follow the straight forward politics.
The follower of Jackson Jacksonians can be categorised as Hobbesian realists who believe that the moral is relative, and the political stability is created and sustained by the physical power balance rather than how impregnable the political ideal of a nation and her citizens is. In Jacksonian politics is attached to neither a strong idealism, which Jeffersonians claim for, nor a solid objective principle which Hamiltonians’ action is based on.
Nonetheless, as an American born political ideology, Jacksonian is still implicitly influenced by Lockean idealism even though Jacksonians may not realise: They always claim their “rights”. Their claim for the rights is not based on an idealist rationale: Their claim is based on their realistic needs in their life. In a way, Jacksonian clings to individual right, freedom of choice, and self-governance based on citizens' voluntarism far more than any other American political ideological group. Moreover, Jackson is more radically isolationist and support more radically for decentralisation of government than Jeffersonian. For example, Meanwhile Jeffersonian supports for a reasonable size of the federal government and an existence of the common currency system, Jacksonian radically protests against both the existence of the federal government itself and sharing the common currency which, Jacksonians suspect, deserves the privileged minority elites monopolise the advantage of its usage.
Jacksonian political ideology is popular among labourers and small and medium entrepreneurs, and majority of the trade unions are Jacksonian leaning. Because American proletariats are not interested in Marxist socialism from the Continental Europe which is based on the centralised proletariat dictatorship, they tend to stick to American own traditional ways of protecting workers' right. Jacksonian is the decentralised proletariat libertarianism which is close to an Anarcho-Syndicalism which existed in Spain during Spanish Civil War. Jacksonian libertarian socialism is the private sector intensive in which all workers defend themselves rather than relying on forming a politicised collective pressure group. As many Americans detest calling themselves socialists, they avoid using the terminology “socialism” and substitute it with American State Nationalism or Civil Libertarianism.
Furthermore, Jacksonian politics assists a decentralised economic model based on self-employed and small and medium size companies. As same as Hamiltonian, Jacksonian focuses on the profit maximisation of entrepreneurs. However, meanwhile both Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian cling to meritocracy, Jacksonian entrepreneurs support more for the equality of outcome. Jacksonian interest in business is maintaining the traditional way of living in small country-sides which is opposite from Hamiltonian dynamic economic model. Rather than a competition, development, and diversity, Jacksonian economy affirms that state should be responsible to subsidise them to survive in order to maintain the traditional shape of their local life style.
Even though Jacksonian is against the welfare organised by the federal bureaucracy, it clings to the state base welfare which deserves the state own interest and maintains the traditional laid back American life. As same as Jeffersonian, Jacksonian insists on the voluntarism, the self-governance, and the small scale economy. The difference is that Jeffersonian seeks a long term idealistic goal meanwhile Jacksonian focuses on the realistic short term goal which is the survival of the ordinary majority American people.
Jacksonian is a fond of militarism as Jacksonian takes over Hobbesian realist foreign diplomatic view which regards that moral is relative, and the physical power balance among individuals and nations is only the key to stabilise the domestic policy of nation and securing the national initiative in the international diplomacy. Jacksonian characteristics is resemblance to the Continental Realism in terms of its power politics. However, unlike the Continental Realism, Jacksonian militarism is based on each state and individual citizens of America because Jacksonian detests the centralised nationwide autocracy which the Continental Realism affirms.
Jacksonian is generally the isolationist, but it demands the international intervention by temporarily allowing the federal government to be strong only when American national interest is threatened. Jeffersonian, which clings to its dovish attitude to any costly interference to the international affairs, was once very unpopular during the Cold War which constantly threatened American national interest. During the Cold War, most of Jeffersonians resisted against any costly military action, and expected all enemies would not attack if America would not show any aggression against them. By contrast, Jacksonian promoted the need of preparing for war and put emphasis on reinforcing American military might during the war crisis. So, Jacksonians gain a huge popularity among isolationist American citizens during the Cold War.
Jeffersonians and Jacksonians often form the civil libertarian alliance together in order to protest against the excessively grown federal government power except when a big war, such as American Civil War and the Cold War, breaks out. Their common opponent used to be only Hamiltonian, but the new political ideological faction, who perpetuated the growth of the federal government power more than Hamiltonian has done, emerged in American politics. This new faction has become the most dominant, politically influential, and controversial in not only inside America but also this entire world since it arose. This political ideology is called Wilsonian, which is regarded as a big rival by Jeffersonian, utterly imprudent by Hamiltonian, and the most hated enemy by Jacksonian.
* The description about these American political ideologies refers to “Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World” by Walter Russell Meade, 2002