Although Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton fought bitterly over issues of constitutional interpretation in the 1790s, the policies of the Jeffersonian Republican Presidents Jefferson and Madison in the years 1801-1817 often reflected the beliefs of the Federalist Hamilton. To what extent is this an accurate statement?
The Federalist and Dem-Reps parties constantly used to debate their views of government. The Dem-Reps were argued against Federalists beliefs that were unconstitutional as shown in Document D , Thomas Jefferson stated the Federalist National Bank unconstitutional and Document C James Madison (Jefferson’s Dem-Rep assistant) the “Virginia Resolutions” ruled that limited liberties was unconstitutional. Thomas Jefferson though a Dem-Rep constantly contradicted his own views with his various actions when he felt they were necessary .Although Dem-Reps had a strict interpretation of the constitution it neared toward a loose interpretation during from Jefferson and Madison’s actions , these actions included attacking the Barbary Pirates, the Embargo Act , and the Louisiana Purchases.
Before he was elected Thomas Jefferson did not like the idea of a large military, because he believed in Republicanism. During Adams’ presidency and bid for larger armed forces, Jefferson was completely against such a notion, and he did not want a standing army. Jefferson acted against the Barbary States in Africa as shown in Document E. The pirates were boarding American ships in the Mediterranean and stealing their cargo. The pirates were harassing the American shipping industry very greatly. Although Jefferson had reason to attack the pirates, this action directly contradicted his beliefs before his presidency. Jefferson contradicted his own beliefs as well as the Constitution, because he was not legally allowed to declare war against another country without an act of Congress approving such a move.
The Louisiana Purchase is another course of action done by Jefferson known for contradicting his strict constructionistism. Jefferson believed in having a limited government but he took advantage of Napeolen Bonaparte needing money and he bought Louisiana which doubled the countries size but had accomplished this through ignoring the fact that the constitution does not mention anything about purchasing land . By purchasing land he could improve his Agrarian society but it would be at the cost of the nations money which Jefferson tried to increase, yet another contradiction.
The Embargo Act created by Jefferson in 1808 to end Britain’s impressments issues with the U.S. as shown in Document F , but the result was not kind British and it only could have been done through having a broad interpretation of the constitution . Jefferson said that the regulation of commerce was constitutional which was a contradiction to what he had earlier said . He caused the U.S. economy to fail miserably and later on the Embargo Act was reenacted by Madison , again their constitutional beliefs were twisted . Jefferson and Madison’s actions did harm the national economy and were contradictory but their actions led to the future improvement of freedom, natural rights, and nationalism.