United States Constitution and Madison

Topics: United States Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison Pages: 2 (624 words) Published: July 26, 2008
DBQ Essay
The United States Constitution is without a doubt the most monumental document of our country’s history. From the time it was released there have been different thoughts on how the Constitution was meant to be interpreted. The Republicans thought of the Constitution as a code of strict guidelines there were to be followed by all citizens over which it stood. The Federalists on the other hand thought that the Constitution was more of a basis on which to act and that its rules could be broadened. During the time when Jefferson and Madison resided as president the views on the Constitution changed do to issues at the time. Both presidents found that there original stand points on the Constitution were beginning to change and they found themselves on middle ground. With respect to the federal Constitution, the Jeffersonian Republicans are usually characterized as strict followers of the Constitution and opposed the broad constructionist of Federalist presidents. In the time frame of 1801-1817, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the Republican presidents of the time demonstrated the differences of the Republican Party in several aspects involving the interpretation of the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson dreamed of a nation of independent farmers living under a central government that exercised a minimum of control over their lives and served merely to protect the individual liberties granted by the Constitution. Jefferson, in his dialog with Presbyterian minister Samuel Miller, demonstrated that the government will only be ruled by the Constitution, and not even God would have a say. (Document B) However this didn’t come to pass as Jefferson watched over a nation that was growing more industrial and urban. Madison also categorized himself as a close follower of the Constitution. When a bill for constructing waterways and roads was proposed, Madison went against it stating that, “Such a power is not expressly in the Constitution.” (Document H) However...
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