Dbq On Thomas Jefferson Strict Constructionists

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The perception that Federalists were loose constructionists and that Jeffersonian Republicans were very strict constructionists was very well founded, but not accurate 100% of the time. The presidency of Thomas Jefferson mainly supported the theory that the Jeffersonian Republicans were strict constructionists. James Madison's presidency supported that theory as well. Both presidents, however, made exceptions to their general policies when an issue was just too big to fit inside the tiny box of their shared school of thought.

Jefferson proved himself a constructionist most of the time he was in office. In August of 1800, Jefferson's first year in office, he sent a letter to Gideon Granger (document A) stating his support for the constitution
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Jefferson, for example, could not immediately abolish Adams' national bank because it would be too drastic a move for someone with his popularity, despite the fact that it was established without the Constitution granting that power to the federal government (Blum). Jefferson's most grand defiance of his strict interpretation of the Constitution was his purchase of the Louisiana Territory. Even though he was not given the power to purchase land in the Constitution, Jefferson couldn't pass up the opportunity to double the nation's size at a time of such large-scale westward movement. After his presidency (1816), Jefferson wrote a letter to Samuel Kercheval (document G) that gave his support for change to the Constitution with change to the times, which is a very far leap from claiming that nothing could be done in the national government without the Constitution granting them the power to do it. Madison is guilty of the same deviations from typical Republican strict constructionist policy. He was attacked by John Randolph (document F) for being too much like a Federalist, particularly when using the national government's power to set tariffs like the one proposed in 1816. This was not the first time Madison was attacked for his pseudo-Federalist policies. He received abundant criticisms

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