With respect to the federal Constitution, the Jeffersonian Republicans are usually characterized as strict constructionists who were opposed to the broad constructionism of the Federalists. However, during the presidencies of Jefferson and Madison this characterization of the two parties was not so accurate. In the years of 1801 to 1817, both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, while supporting a strict construction of the constitution, addressed to loose interpretation of the constitution during their presidencies, while the Federalist, originally supporting a broad view, countered the Democratic- Republicans with a literal definition. The presidents both found their original beliefs on the constitution were beginning to change and they found themselves on middle ground. Primarily, the Jeffersonian Republicans had a traditional way of viewing things. This meant the Jeffersonian Republicans stuck to the strict non-lenient interpretation of the Constitution. On August 13, 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Gideon Granger, a future member of Jefferson’s cabinet, stating “…it(our country) can never be harmonious and solid while so respectable a portion of its citizens support principles which go directly to a change of the federal constitution..” (Document A) Jefferson believed that the Constitution should remain unchanged and affairs that are not given the power to be regulated by the Congress should be regulated by individual states. “Our country is too large to have its affairs directed by a single government” (Document A) He believed that majority of the legislature of the U.S. must preserve the federal Constitution and states must preserve the rights they are granted. In a letter to Samuel Miller eight years later, he states “Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in religious discipline”(Document B) Jefferson show his support for the Bill of Rights by making it clear that the federal government has no power to change...
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