1998 DBQ ESSAY
The origins of the Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties can be traced back to the early 1790s. Initially, the Federalists, or broad constructionists, favored the growth of federal power and a strong central government. The Federalists promulgated a loose interpretation of the Constitution, which meant that they believed that the government could do anything by the implied powers of the Constitution or that congress had the right to interpret the Constitution based on connotation. On the contrary, the Democratic-Republicans favored the protection of states’ rights and the strict containment of federal power. The Democratic-Republicans were strict constructionists and they believed only in the enumerated powers of the Constitution. Up until 1800, these descriptions of the two political parties were very accurate. However during the period of 1801-1817, the Jefferson and Madison’s presidencies reveal that these characterizations were accurate only to a certain extent. These characterizations became inaccurate when Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe stepped up in power as president and were forced to compromise their political views for the benefit of the country in the face of war, economic pressure, and threats to the Union.
In the beginning of Jefferson ‘s first term as president, Jefferson made it clear that he would do anything to uphold the Republican principles he held dear in his heart. Jefferson believed that the preservation of the Constitution was essential if Americans wanted to live in a “harmonious and solid country” (Doc. A). He believed that part of the preservation of the Constitution included keeping the power within the states, making sure they were independent. This meant that the government had no business meddling with state issues such as religious institutions, doctrines, discipline or exercises (Doc. B). The one of the very few things the federal government was allowed to...
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