‘The Cabinet Battle 1’ is where the heated debate between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton took place during their Cabinet Meeting.
“A Cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the top leaders of the executive branch.”
In summary, Hamilton’s “plan [was to] to assume state debt and establish a national bank.” He believed that the 54-million-dollar debt America was under should all be paid by the states by taxes. Hamilton believed a national bank was necessary in order to “to stabilize and improve the nation’s credit.” Also, having the bank would improve the start-up of, and handling of financial businesses. Hamilton also believed establishing a bank would help the 13 colonies get out of debt and create a standard form of currency used throughout America.
In this song, Thomas Jefferson had just got back from his multiple year long stay in France, when Madison explains the situation to Jefferson, and how Hamilton wants to assume state debt and establish national bank. Jefferson heads to NY to attend the first official Cabinet meeting and urge the President, George Washington, to not sign off to Hamilton’s plans. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison persuasively argued that establishing a national bank was unconstitutional since the Constitution did not specifically give Congress the power to create the national bank. Jefferson also argued that it would deprive the common person from having their voice heard in legislation. Thomas Jefferson didn’t think it to be fair that states such as his own, Virginia, had already paid off their debt but now Virginia would have to keep paying taxes in order to remove the debt placed on all of America.
In Summary, Hamilton is an orphan born with little to no power, but his writing skills help him achieve greatness. At the time of the Cabinet Battle 1, Hamilton was the Treasury Secretary, and also pronounced one of the five founding fathers.
- Hamilton Wants:
- To assume national state debt
- To create a national bank
- For Jefferson to be open-minded, to compromise more
- Hamilton Fears:
- People will side with Jefferson
- That he will lose his job if he doesn’t get congressional approval
Jefferson was one of the five founding fathers and was Washington’s Secretary of state during this Cabinet meeting.
- Jefferson Wants:
- Each state to pay for the own debt they have
- His state Virginia, to not pay for other state’s debt since they were now debt free
- Hamilton to have less power
- Jefferson fears:
- His state will be taken down under because of the other state’s debt
- That the way of thinking under the ‘Declaration of Independence’ will be put aside because of Hamilton’s new views/ideas
George Washington (President):
- George Washington wants:
- Dispute to be settled calmly
- Hamilton to keep his job, and most likely win the conflict or ‘to find a compromise’
- Wants Hamilton to “figure it out” and step up himself without hurting himself politically (Hamilton).
- Washington Fears:
- The decision made will be the wrong decision for his country
- (possibly) that Jefferson will win
- James Madison wants:
- Jefferson to win against Hamilton
- Wants Hamilton to have less power
- Wants to be conservative, keep America the same as how it was when it’d just declared independence
- Jefferson will lose
Connections to Historical Elements:
“Cabinet Battle 1” relates to the American revolution as a whole because it clearly represents the conflicts and controversy that arose after the colonies declared independence from Britain; between the decisions of how to get rid of America’s debt, and why or why not they should establish a national bank. This song represents the uncertainty of what to do next once the revolution had ended. Should we keep establishing a secure independent country and keep evolving it, or stand by the exact proposals stated in the ‘declaration of Independence?’
“His plan would have the government assume state’s debts
Now, place your bets as to who that benefits
The very seat of government where Hamilton sits”
Here, Jefferson is implying that Hamilton’s proposals will mainly benefit himself. He’s saying that there is no other logical reasoning why Hamilton would like to assume state’s debt if it wasn’t for the positive affects it would have on Hamilton himself. By making the government responsible for the country’s financial matters/future, and by establishing a bank, it would “vest more power in the Department of Treasury;” the department Hamilton was head of. Jefferson’s attempt to demean Hamilton’s motives stood out strongly here.
“Look, when Britain taxed our tea, we got frisky
(Imagine what gon’ happen when you try to tax our whisky”)
Thomas Jefferson here, is mentioning past controversial events, in order to try and justify his statement/argument. This is a reference to the ‘Boston Tea Party’ that was a big contribution to the spark of the American Revolution. In short, the British began taxing the Americans for the tea that the Americans were provided. It was called the tea tax. A group of Americans known as the Sons of Liberty dumped all of the imported tea into the Boston harbor, on the day that the tax money was due to be paid. This was one of the few huge events that introduced a whole new ideology of independence as the 13 colonies, now known as America.
Emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events:
Hamilton’s newfound ideology that establishing a bank and assuming state’s debt to better stabilize America’s economic and political platforms introduced a new idea and way of life to the American people. Hamilton influenced America greatly by establishing a national bank that very much helped America grow as a country. Also, by Hamilton proposing that each state gets taxed in order to pay off the 54 million dollars in debt America acquired, I can infer that he also brought forward the idealogy of working as one. Though, states like Virginia and Maryland had no debt needed to be payed off by them specifically, other states and America as a whole still had a ginormous debt. Proposing the states all equally contribute to the debt needed to be payed off, proposes that even though America had declared independence from Britain, the 13 colonies still needed to work together and build up their country as a team.
(Look, when Britain taxed our tea, we got frisky)
Imagine what gon‘ happen when you try to tax our whisky
This line is a reference to the Whiskey Rebellion which occurred later in 1791. Hamilton’s advocacy for a whiskey tax came in part from wanting to reduce alcohol consumption in the U.S. In Summary, there was a huge uprising of farmers and distillers in Pennsylvania. They were protesting the whiskey tax enacted by the federal government, as they did not see it to be fair for them to pay taxes for it. In part of Hamilton’s plan to pay off America’s debt, he wanted to impose the Whiskey tax to raise more money for the national debt and to also “assert the power of the national government” onto the American citizens. In these lines Jefferson was singing, we can see that he is almost foreshadowing the events that will take place later.
We almost died in a trench
While you were off getting high with the French
In these two sentences said by Hamilton above, he is criticizing Thomas Jefferson and referencing a period of time where Jefferson was not present and involved in parts of process of the American Revolution. In July 1784, Thomas Jefferson arrived in Paris, France, and surprisingly stayed there until September 1789; coming back a whole five years later. Because of this, Jefferson missed much of the combat among other events of the revolution. Hamilton called Jefferson out on this, and possibly implied that Jefferson’s opinion should not be of much importance concerning state debt and establishing the national bank, since he was not actually present in the 13 colonies while revolutionary acts and events occurred.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, We fought for these ideals we shouldn’t settle for less
These are wise words, enterprising men quote ‘em
Don’t act surprised, you guys, cause I wrote ‘em(ow)
In these lines, Thomas Jefferson is referencing the ‘Declaration of Independence’ which Jefferson contributed to writing along with four other men. “Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were the three main points recognized in this declaration and still hold major value in America today (Hamilton). In the Declaration of Independence, it also states “unalienable rights” are to be given to “all humans by their creator.” The declaration justified American citizen’s rights to revolt/rebel against a leader thought to be corrupt and that did not guarantee them their natural rights. In summary, the Declaration of Independence stated ideologies and values that the colonists believed were essential for America’s success in the long run. By Jefferson mentioning his contributions in writing this declaration, he is also implying his significance and importance in shaping America; therefore, his ideology opposed to Hamilton’s, should be much more valued and respected by the President.