Jeffersonian Republicans vs. Federalists

Topics: Democratic-Republican Party, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison Pages: 3 (938 words) Published: January 22, 2014
Jeffersonian Republicans vs. Federalists
In regards to the United States constitution, Jeffersonian Republicans have been known as strict constructionists who had a narrow interpretation of the constitution following it to an extreme power. This was in opposition to the Federalists who had often followed a loose construction policy. And to a certain extent, the characterization of both of these parties was for the most part accurate during the presidencies of both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Though these parties stay pretty true to popular beliefs, with Jeffersonian Republicans being strict and Federalists being loose, at time this was proven to be in fact false.

Thomas Jefferson and the Jeffersonian Republicans had become widely known as a strict constructionists even prior to the election of Jefferson. This is shown in a letter that Jefferson wrote to his colleague, and future cabinet member Gideon Granger which shows his true support for power to the states (Doc A.) The letter states his strong feelings against the power that the federal government held because he was fearful that if the federal government gained too much power and the states had too little power, then we would almost be creating a monarchy in the United States like Great Britain had done. Another prime example of his ideas of stronger state governments were stated in his letter to Samuel Miller in 1808 (Doc B.) Jefferson firmly believed that he had no business in involving himself with religious activities as president as the Constitution had made no mention of such activities and therefore followed his strict construction principle by delegating those powers to the states. However, though Jefferson was a man who was mostly stuck to his principles of strict construction, there were often times were he would abandon his beliefs for what he believed was better for the nation. A prime example of such was during the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson had to make the final call on whether...
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