Loose/Strict Constructionist DBQ
By both definition and widespread perception the Jeffersonian-Republicans were strict constructionists, meaning they closely followed the framework of the Constitution. On the other hand, the belief was that Federalists, who thought the Constitution was open for interpretation, were loose constructionists. Although both the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (Democratic-Republicans) mainly supported these theories, they, like other politicians of the time, often made exceptions to their “policies.”
During Jefferson’s Presidency, he often conveyed his strict constructionist stance regarding certain issues; therefore he followed the ‘defined’ ideals of the Democratic-Republican Party. After just entering office (August of 1800), Jefferson sent a message to Gideon Granger (Doc. A), a future cabinet member. His letter depicted his opposition regarding the idea of a strong, “single” centralized government in America (a Federalist-minded view). For example, one of the most noteworthy things Jefferson did during his political career was outwardly oppose Hamilton’s plan for a National Bank. This truly demonstrated Jeffersonian-Republican opposition (before 1800) towards any sort of Federalist ideal. Throughout his political career, he also portrayed his belief in the Constitution as it was written, rather than accept views of the Federalists (which, he implied, would lead to a monarchy). During his last year in office (1808), Jefferson is shown to have written another letter (Doc. B), this time to a Mr. Samuel Miller. Here, he re-asserted his desire for a government to follow the ideals of the Constitution, and thus make sure there will be a full separation between church and state (first amendment rights).
James Madison, also being a Democratic-Republican, supported, for the most part, the same principals Thomas Jefferson did. As shown by Document H, Madison is depicted as to standing firm on his Republican...
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