Strict vs. Broad Interpretation

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Strict vs. Broad Interpretation

During both Jefferson’s and Madison’s presidential term, both the Republicans’ and the Federalists’ ideals did not always stay consistent to their previous, more defined beliefs. Jefferson felt it necessary during his presidency to restore the states’ rights that the Federalists previously took away, but he also considered what was good and beneficial to the nation, even if a few of the ideas were not strictly constitutional. During Madison’s presidency, while most Republicans still believed in the states rights, Congress desired a slightly looser interpretation of the Constitution, and created another Bank of the United States and protection tariffs, giving more power to the federal government. Also, although the Federalist Party was failing and they still did for the most part desire a broad interpretation of the Constitution, the New England delegates from the Hartford Convention showed that they now did not appreciate all of the power that Congress currently possessed.

In the beginning of Jefferson’s presidential term, the two American parties had very defined political views. The Democratic-Republicans believed in a strict interpretation of the Constitution and in limiting the power of the federal government, while the Federalists supported a broad view of the Constitution and wanted to give as much power to the federal government as possible. So while Jefferson was president, he promptly removed Hamilton’s excise tax and created the Naturalization Law of 1802. He said to Gideon Granger in 1800, “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, to sink the state governments, consolidate them into one, and to monarchise that.” (Doc A) However, Jefferson was known to be “consistently inconsistent”. The Louisiana Purchase, as well as the war and peace treaty with Tripoli, proved that he was willing to...
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