Hamiltonian Administrative Theory and Jeffersonian Administrative Theory

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Differences between Hamiltonian Administrative Theory and Jeffersonian Administrative Theory

Usually theorists consider Hamiltonian Administrative Theory and Jeffersonian Administrative Theory as the basis of the constitutional system of the US. Federalists led by Alexander Hamilton sought to create a strong central government that would consider national interests as the major priority. Their opponents supported the idea of restricted governmental power, strengthened power of states and local self-government, as they were afraid that concentration of power would lead to the replacement of democracy by the power of aristocracy. The leader of anti-federalists was Thomas Jefferson. The federalist and anti-federalist ideas have subsequently led to the creation of two major parties in the US. The dispute between federalists and republicans, in fact, related to the future development of the United States and the search of the new model for the republic. Whereas federalists stood up for the rights and freedoms primarily for the owners of property and defended the English model of the state, Jefferson supported the idea of democratic development of America.

Both Hamilton and Jefferson voted in favor of the principle named “government of the people” . They viewed republic as essential form of state for advancing to higher level of security and general welfare. The key difference in their approaches consisted in different views on the role of government in the US. Jefferson regarded government by the people as the governing principle of the republic, while for Hamilton the key political principle was government for the people .

Hamilton developed his views under the decisive influence of the theory of separation of powers by Montesquieu. He considered this theory as a necessary basis of the Constitution. At the same time for Hamilton, an ideal political system was Monarchial England. Moreover, he suggested creating authoritarian government, which the elected president should head. In fact, the president would have unlimited authority similar to power of the head of state in the dualistic monarchy. According to Hamilton, the powers of president had to include opportunity to control representative legislative body, which could make any decisions under the pressure of voters. Hamilton’s proposal to let the president instead of the parliament appoint the ministers is the expression of such an idea . In fact, his intention was to protect the republic from imprudence of democracy and to protect interests of minority of the population from encroachments of the majority.

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Hamilton considered that high property qualification was the basis for conducting the elections. He believed that only rich people should have the right to participate in the highest state authority, as they were capable to provide stability to the political system. In addition, Hamilton believed that granting an opportunity to participate in public affairs to all people would inevitably lead to mistakes and delusions because of unreasonableness of the masses, what would weaken the state .

In contrast to Jefferson, Hamilton did not believe in the goodness of human nature. However, both Jefferson and Hamilton adhered to the idea of republican government. At the same time, Hamilton considered that people who showed an ability to manage their personal affairs should guide the government . In addition, unlike Jefferson, Hamilton thought that the main role of the government consisted in establishing the plan for the development of nation, and not for the protection of personal freedom or development of people through education. The Bill of rights, which presented the first ten amendments to the basic law containing guarantees of the fundamental civil liberties, among which were freedom of conscience‚ meetings‚ gatherings‚ inviolability of the home, was the expression of Hamilton’s ideas.

Jefferson believed that, as all people were equal, they should have some inalienable rights, including the right to life and freedom. The idea of natural equality of people did not coincide with the idea of the class privileges of feudalism, as well as inalienable rights with feudal lawlessness. According to Jefferson, people establish governments for protection of natural human rights . Therefore, its power depended on the consent of the people to obey it. While consistently developing the idea of people’s sovereignty, Jefferson concluded that people should have the right to change or destroy the existing form of government if it was striving for despotism.

Jefferson also argued that not only the rights of a person and of the people, but also the rights of different generations of people were the basis of the Constitution. He considered all individuals forming society as the people. Jefferson suggested considering each generation of people as a separate society, which could accept certain norms of life by will of the majority. However, the previous generations did not have the right to bound subsequent generations with the laws or contracts. Thus, each new generation of people should reconsider the Constitution of the country in order for them to live in accordance with their own laws, which should be the expression of their own will, but not of the will of their predecessors . He believed that people should have the right to correct errors of past generations and not to repeat them, living in accordance with the requirements of the time. Thus, Jefferson recognized only inalienable rights of people as something constant that Constitution could not change.

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In accordance with Jeffersonian administrative theory, recognition of the people as storage of the power is the basis of democracy. By saying that the aristocracy did not recognize the people’s power and wished to delegate the power to the highest classes of society, Jefferson declared that actually preservation of freedom depended on the people, but not on wealth. Jefferson considered the republic as the government of citizens, who acted according to the rules, which the majority established, and a place where citizens personally solved problems of which they were competent .

Jefferson supported the idea of people’s division into parties. He considered them as essential elements of democracy because they could present contradictory views of people. Jefferson also voted in favor of republic, where separation of power between executive, judicial and legislative organs should exist. He believed that additional division of legislative power into two or three branches depending on the society and nation should be the fundamental principle of the Government.

Speaking about Jefferson, it is worth mentioning that his idea consisted in decentralized, participatory democracy where every citizen would have the right to participate in the administration of affairs in the state, since he believed in better qualities of people. Although Jefferson did not oppose the use of executive powers, he did not consider them as necessary in democracy unless in cases of emergency. At the same time, he was an antagonist of bureaucracy, government by appointed judges and the administrative state. In addition, Jefferson voted in favor of decentralized republic of small farmers. He regarded them as the real representatives of the great American people‚ with agricultural industry being the main virtue.

Jefferson believed that strong local government supported the best government that had the smallest level of governance‚ because in that case the government served for the people in the state. Whereas Hamilton saw only negative sides of people, which the force of the state had to restrain, Jefferson argued on innate sense of justice and on moral feeling which needed to be lifted, cultivated and supported. Jefferson believed that the natural aristocracy, which was the aristocracy of creative mind and creative abilities, should be the elite of society, while Hamilton regarded financiers and businessmen as the leading class.

Thus, the key difference between administrative theories of Hamilton and Jefferson consisted in their different views on the role of government in the society. Whereas Hamilton considered human nature negatively, he believed that government should be the main regulator of relations in the society. Thus, he entitled it with the setting-rules functions and regarded highly authoritative government as the ideal. In contrast, Jefferson adhered to the idea of goodness of people and their ability to infinite improvement. Therefore, the role of the government was not as crucial for him as in the case of Hamilton. Moreover, he supported the concept of decentralization of power with limited interference of government in the areas where its presence was not necessary.

One of the central elements of the federalist theory consists in the idea that good administration is the basis of good government. Many federalist ideas remain relevant today, as they participate in the development and continued progress of democratic institutions in the US. Public administration considers the constitutional approach as its main basis in many ways, what means that the Constitution of the US matters and creates the ground for the further development of the entire sphere of public administration.

Why does a constitutional approach to American public administration matter?

The administrative theories of Hamilton and Jefferson laid basis for the emergence of further theories in the sphere of public administration. Therefore, in subsequent years such theories to the public administration as ‘managerial’, ‘political’ and ‘legal’, which represent different views on the constitutional separation of powers, have emerged. Therefore, the combination of the above-mentioned ideas presents the constitutional approach, the importance of which this part of essay will discuss.

First, constitutional approach to public administration matters because it stresses the idea that “the legitimacy of the administrative state is found only within the nation’s constitutional heritage” . Second, constitutional approach to public administration matters because it combines different approaches and thoughts concerning the Constitution’s influence on the administrative theory and practice. In addition, constitutional approach matters, as it emphasizes the role of Constitution in permeating intellectual dimensions of the theory of public administration, paying attention to such spheres as public policy, organization theory, law, and ethics.

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According to Overeem, “the main concern of constitutional approach consists in considering position and legitimacy of public administration in the constitutional order” . Therefore, constitutional approach to public administration suggests that the role of constitution consists not only in its establishing and empowering governments but also in limiting them with the help of the power of law. At the same time, constitutional approach is highly normative and willing to regard modern institutions of constitutional democracy as just.

In order to understand one should consider constitutional approach, as a combination of managerial, political and legal approaches to public administration. In fact, constitution reflects legal bonds of political and managerial functions of public administration, what leads to the conclusion that constitutional approach is the mixture of three approaches to public administration. Managerial approach views the role of public administration through the prism of its effectiveness, efficiency and economy. Thus, it emphasizes the role of public administrators who “make rules (legislation), implement these rules (an executive function), and deal with questions in relation in view of their execution (a judicial function)” .

On the other hand, the political approach, which is also the constituent part of the constitutional approach, stresses such categories of public administration as “the values of representativeness, political responsiveness, and accountability through elected officials to the citizenry”2. Thus, they are crucial elements for achieving constitutional democracy. Another important characteristic of the political approach described through the prism of constitutional approach is the fact that it is rooted in the political pluralism, which is an integral part of public administration. In turn, the legal approach primarily emphasizes the importance of judiciary in the protection of the individual rights through the well-established process and equity.

What makes government (the public sector) different from the private and nonprofit sectors?

Western society generally accepts the suggestion that people are selfish. Thus, classical economic models usually follow the thesis that material self-interest is the main principle and driver of people. However, political theories assume that the main goal of people is maximization of their power . Those two approaches present different views on the main driver in social life through the prism of private and public sectors respectively.

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At the same time, according to Raadschelders, “there is no difference between public in private realms” . This thesis relates to the fact that both public and private sectors consider efficiency, as an important characteristic of their activities. In addition, public sector’s task consists in incorporating its values in the activity of private sector. Another important idea is that public and private sectors do not simply coexist but also share the responsibility for the development and explication of valuations. In such case, public sector’s role is to always regard and protect the societal and democratic values, while the role of the private sector consists in designating ways of development in accordance with managerial values.

As for the public sector, it is, as a part of society, controlled by national and local governments. This sector has the task of providing universal services, such as national defense, homeland security, taxation, and social programs necessary for the general welfare of the given society. The main difference between government or public sector and private sector consists in their different goals. Whereas the aim of the public sector is welfare of all members of the society, private sector focuses on gaining profit.

Public and private sectors should cooperate in order to maximize the effectiveness of government activities in different fields. Thus, public sector in some cases can coordinate its work with the work of the private sector in the producing or providing certain goods and services for the people. The extent of such coordination designates the ways of development of the particular country depending on the economic model to which it chooses to adhere. Usually the task of the public sector consists in government or local authorities providing goods and services for the members of the society. Hence, public sector’s goal is to benefit the public as a whole. Furthermore, another designating difference between public and private sector is namely the the role of profit. Whereas public sector does not perceive gaining profit as the main goal, for the private sector it is the ultimate goal.

As in the case of the dichotomy of public and private sectors, which lies in the role of profit, the above sectors seem to have many commonalities because they both direct their activities at creating stable and fair society. Although public and non-profit sectors are similar in many ways, they have some key differences. The public sector depends more on policy changes than the nonprofit sector, because the priorities of government change when there are political shifts. In view of these shifts, government programs may not be as long as non-profit sector’s programs are. Thus, the key difference between public and non-profit sector lies in the realm of their level of independence, which is relatively bigger than in case of non-profit sector.

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