Jefferson vs. Madison

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  • Topic: United States, United States Constitution, Federalism
  • Pages : 3 (1044 words )
  • Download(s) : 392
  • Published : October 1, 2006
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During the presidencies of Jefferson and Madison, Republicans, such as Jefferson were seen as strict constructionists of the Constitution while Federalists, like Madison, were generally looser with their interpretations of the Constitution's literal meaning. While the constructionist ideas were part of what separated the two parties from one another, Jefferson and Madison are both guilty of not adhering to these ideas on many occasions. Jefferson writes in a letter to Gideon Granger expressing his idea that the United States is too large to have only one central government, and the states should receive more power, which goes against the fact that the Constitution was created in order to unite a new country. Also, when passing the Embargo Act, Jefferson demonstrates the federal power over the people, which goes against his Republican belief of allowing the states to have more power. As Madison prepares for his term in office, the citizens of the United States were most likely expecting him to be more open to suggestion in his interpretations of the Constitution. However, during a speech by Daniel Webster, a Federalist speaking on behalf of the entire Federalist Party, and a veto on internal improvements, Madison proves that he truly is not a loose constructionist as his party would have preferred him to be. Both Madison and Jefferson are guilty of frequently going against the general ideas of their parties in order to meet their needs at a certain time.

In Jefferson's letter to Gideon Granger, a future member of his cabinet, he speaks of giving the states more power, which goes against the reasoning behind the drafting of the Constitution; to unite a new country. As a true Republican, Jefferson should have stuck close to the Constitution and remembered that its purpose was to have one central government versus many smaller state governments. Although Republicans preferred more power to the states, as President, Jefferson should have kept the county's...
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