Comparing Strict And Broad Constructionism Essay

929 words - 4 pages

Comparing Strict and Broad Constructionism

It was 1800, when vice president Jefferson succeeded Adams in the role of president. Jefferson stressed republican virtues of independence and equality and his belief in a frugal government. With his inauguration, the transfer of power to the Republican from the Federalists intensified a political conflict between the two political parties. Even though Jefferson stated in his inaugural address that "we are all Republicans, we are all Federalists," the Federalists and Republicans continued to doubt each other, especially on the issue of the Constitution.

With Jefferson leading the way, Republicans took on the position of a strict interpretation of the Constitution, which did not allow the federal government to take any action that was not specifically addressed by the Constitution. The Federalists, however, advocated by the ideas of Hamilton, remained steadfast to the approach of broad interpretation, which permitted the government to do anything, not expressly prohibited by the Constitution. However, both parties were quick to stray to their political ideologies. Republicans and Federalists adhered to their bureaucratic philosophies in political addresses and speeches, yet both parties varied with cause, straying from their own civic principles.

In various political addresses, Jefferson was seen as inseparable with strict interpretation and a contender for state rights. He tried to affirm the belief that domestic policies should be decided by the states and fears that the Federalists will change the Constitution (docum. A). By the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, Jefferson and Madison asserted that states were the foundation of the nation and therefore had supreme power. The federal government had no right to exercise powers not delegated to it by the Constitution. Jefferson also remained unwavering to strict construction by declaring that the states had the power to determine the matters of religion and not the federal government (docum.B) Madison asserted his contribution to Republicans by vetoing the Internal Improvements Bill, a proposal that would allow Congress to make changes in the Constitution (docum. H)
On the other hand, Jefferson seemed to favor loose construction and believer of a strong federal government on notable occasions. The Louisiana Purchase was one of the circumstances, where Jefferson was on the side of the Federalist's loose construction. On April 30, Monroe and Livingston signed the Louisiana Purchase with France, acquiring 827,000 square miles of land for 15 million dollars. However, the Constitution did not authorize the president to acquire new territory and incorporate it into the nation. Jefferson proposed a constitutional amendment to allow the purchase, stating that he was exercising the president's implied powers to protect the nation. Furthermore was the embargo act, which was intended to prevent confrontation between American...

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