Constitutional Characterizations of Federalists and Democratic Republicans

Topics: Thomas Jefferson, United States, Strict constructionism Pages: 3 (792 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Constitutional Characterizations of Federalists and Democratic Republicans Throughout time, in reference to the constitution, Jeffersonian Democratic Republicans have been stereotyped as strict constructionists, while Federalists as lose interpreters. The true test of these assumptions is revealed throughout the presidencies of Jefferson and Madison, two leading figures of these two political parties. Although Jefferson advocated strict interpretation of the Constitution in his speech his actions proved otherwise, while Madison was at times a lose interpreter of the Constitution and in other situations a strict one. This is revealed throughout specific circumstances during their presidencies, such as the issuing of the embargo act and the Louisiana Purchase in Jefferson’s terms, and the issuing of a military draft and the Tariff of 1816 during Madison’s terms. Jefferson’s theories supported a strict interpretation of the Constitution, however, his issuing of the Embargo Act and his purchase of Louisiana from Napoleon demonstrated his support for lose interpretation of the Constitution as he saw fit for the nation. Jefferson issued the Embargo Act in 1807, forbidding the export of all goods or materials from the United States. The overuse of power by the federal government is evident through the embargo act (Document C). It denies states’ rights regarding foreign policies. Jefferson also believed that states should only be able to act according to the dictates of the Constitution (Document B). Nowhere in the Constitution is he given the right to issue an embargo, regardless he implemented this in our relations around the world (Document E). Secondly, Jefferson displays his loose interpretation of the Constitution through the Louisiana Purchase. Because of Napoleon’s failure to reconquer Santo Domingo, his need for money in his war with Britain and his opposition to the idea that America would fall into the arms of Britain is Britain should gain...
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