The first report dealt with the funding of the national debt.  As late as the 1790's there was still debt from the Revolutionary War that was unresolved.  One of the reasons that people were always willing to give credit to British merchants was that the British always paid.  This was a principle that dated back to at least the 1720's.  Hamilton wanted the United States to enjoy such solid credit.  His report proposed that the national government fund all of the federal debt that had accumulated since the Revolution.  He would end the speculative market that traded colonial paper money and certificates of indebtedness.  The national government would pay off all of the old debt with interest.  This report was accepted.

Hamilton's second report dealt with the state debts. Some of the thirteen states were more fiscally sound than others.  Rhode Island, rather cleverly, had printed its own paper money and then passed legislation that said that people doing business in Rhode Island had to accept the Rhode Island currency.  Hamilton proposed that the federal government take on the debts of all of the states on a one-time basis.  All states would thus have a clean slate.  This report was accepted.

Hamilton's third report dealt with the creation of a National Bank.  The Bank would be a semi-governmental entity that would help to stabilize credit and lending for both government and businesses in the same way that the Band of England worked in Great Britain.  This report too was accepted.

The one report that was not accepted was Hamilton's Report on Manufactures.  In this report Hamilton argued that the future of the country was in commerce and manufacturing.  Hamilton said that the national government should aid both.  This report was not acted upon.

Thomas Jefferson held an opposite view on commerce and manufacturing.  He argued that farming was the basis of the country's wealth and that farming and the attendant ownership of land would be the key to national wealth and prosperity for many years into the future.  Moreover, Jefferson believed that the virtues of self-reliance and sound judgement were necessary for good government.  These virtues were fostered in agriculture.  Farmers had the virtues necessary in good government and would help the nation when they somewhat reluctantly stepped forward to assume the burden of elective office.

For many years in our history Jefferson was correct.  As late as the 1880's about 75% of the jobs in the United States had some sort of a connection to agriculture.  That is not the case today.  At most 3% of the United States' population is connected with the growing and processing of food.  Deep into the nineteenth century workers could not be found for factory jobs because families would leave because what they really wanted was a farm:  land of their own.

Who was right?  Demographics say that Hamilton won the quarrel.  What would either man say about the service occupations and the knowledge industries of today?  the agrarian society and perhaps the agrarian virtues envisioned by Jefferson had run their course by the end of the 1800's.