But although Hamilton is much the finer man and much the sounder thinker and statesman, there were certain limitations in his ideas and sympathies the effects of which have been almost as baleful as the effects of Jefferson's intellectual superficiality and insincerity. He perverted the American national idea almost as much as Jefferson perverted the American democratic idea, and the proper relation of these two fundamental conceptions one to another cannot be completely understood until this double perversion is corrected.
To make Hamilton and Jefferson exclusively responsible for this double perversion is, however, by no means fair. The germs of it are to be found in the political ideas and prejudices with which the American people emerged from their successful Revolutionary War. At that time, indeed, the opposition between the Republican and the Federalist doctrines had not become definite and acute; and it is fortunate that such was the case, because if the opponents of an efficient Federal constitution had been organized and had been possessed of the full courage and consciousness of their convictions, that instrument would never have been accepted, or it would have been accepted only in a much more mutilated and enfeebled condition. Nevertheless, the different political points of view which afterwards developed into Hamiltonian Federalism and Jeffersonian Republicanism were latent in the interests and opinions of the friends and of the opponents of an efficient Federal government; and these interests and opinions were the natural product of contemporary American economic and political conditions.
Now, there is a lot here that I have to ignore. The entire Founding is a testament to Republicanism, but Croly views both Jefferson and Hamilton as Democrats.(I mean[and he meant] the government structures, not the parties) He goes on to write that the Federalists were in favor of a "strong central government".(which they were not) But I don't want to get hung up on these fallacies.
The word for today is "Efficient", because many if not most of us look at the Republican form of government which the Founders gave us as very efficient, precisely because it is completely limited by the Constitution to the point to where it cannot hurt us; yet progressives look at limited government itself(as Croly is writing about here) as completely inefficient. To the progressive, government must be big and within that big structure, it can be made into a sleek and efficient machine.
The fact is this: there simply is no point of compromise between big government and small government.
It really isn't any more complex than that. I could write another 50 paragraphs on it but I really don't need to. It's only one word, "efficient" yet that one word has two diametrically opposite definitions. Either America will have a big government and the progressives win, or we will have a small government limited by the Constitution. There is no middle here. A kind of big, kind of small, kind of limited, kind of unlimited government - that's not making anybody happy here in the 21st century, and it didn't make people happy in the 20th either.