Question #2: Using the respective arguments of the Jeffersonians and the Federalists, take a position arguing that either “strict construction” or the “elastic clause” is the most protective of the rights of Americans.
The followers of both Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton experienced a lengthy battle in the year of 1791. This conflict involved the National Bank being established and the Jeffersonians and Federalists going head to head. Hamilton proposed a Bank of the United States, taking the Bank of England as his model. In this bank the central government not only would have a convenient strongbox, but federal funds would stimulate business by remaining in circulation. The bank would also print the needed paper money and provide a stable national currency. Jefferson argued against the bank and he insisted that in the Constitution, there was no specific authorization for such a bank. He believed that all powers not specifically granted to the central government were reserved to the states, while Hamilton was convinced of the opposite. Jefferson concluded that the states, not Congress, had the power to charter banks. Believing that the Constitution should be interpreted literally, Jefferson and his states’ rights followers embraced the theory of “strict construction.’’ In contrast, Hamilton believed that what the Constitution did not forbid it permitted, yet Jefferson generally believed that what it did not permit it forbade. Alexander Hamilton then presented a brilliantly reasoned reply to Jefferson’s arguments to President Washington. He explained the clause of the Constitution that states that Congress may pass any laws “necessary and proper’’ to carry out the powers vested in the various government agencies. Hamilton also argued that establishing a national bank would be not only proper but necessary, as well. He and his federalist followers supported the theory of “loose construction’’ by invoking the “elastic clause’’ of the...
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