Jacob BachmeierAPUSHDBQ Ch 8 And 9With Essay

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Jacob Bachmeier
DBQ Ch. 8 and 9
“With respect to the federal Constitution, the Jeffersonian Republicans are usually characterized as strict constructionists who were opposed to the broad constructionism of the Federalists. To what extent was this characterization of the two parties accurate during the presidencies of Jefferson and Madison?”

By the end of John Adams’ presidential administration in 1800, two political philosophies with opposite views of the constitution began to surface. As the Democratic-Republicans began to take office in 1800, Presidents Jefferson and Madison found it necessary to adopt Alexander Hamilton’s financial system. Jefferson and Madison both expanded on the “Elastic Clause” in order to protect national security. The Federalist resorted to the literal powers of the Constitution in order to create opposition to the Democratic-Republicans. Philosophically, Jefferson and Madison advocated a strict interpretation of the Constitution, but in practice both men resorted to a loose interpretation; meanwhile, the Federalists took a strict view, while originally advocating a broad interpretation of the Constitution. Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans, especially towards the end of his administration, began to take a loose constructionist view with the adaptation of Hamilton’s financial plan. Jefferson stated in his letter to Samuel Kercheval, “I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions… But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.” (Document G) Although Jefferson allowed the repeal of the Excise Tax and expiration of the Alien and Sedition Acts, he allowed other programs to continue that were not exclusively mentioned in the constitution due to the fact that the programs were effective. Jefferson used the Elastic clause to place an Embargo in order to protect the United States from getting involved in British and French affairs (Document C.) Jefferson further bent his “strict” interpretation of the Constitution when he made the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson may have been a Democratic-Republican, but in practice displayed a loose interpretation of the Constitution.
President Madison has a history with a loose interpretation of the Constitution as well. John Randolph accused Madison of being like John Adams in regard to his broad viewed approach on raising revenue. Randolph stated, “We have another proof that the present government have renounced the true republican principles of Jefferson’s administration on which they raised themselves to power, and that they have taken up, in their stead, those of John Adams….” (Document F.) In Document D, Daniel Webster explains Madison’s change from a strict view of the Constitution to a Federalist approach of broad interpretation. Daniel Webster states, “The {Madison} administration asserts the right to fill the ranks of the regular army by compulsion… Where is it written in the Constitution….” Daniel Webster is arguing that Madison is abandoning the traditional republican view of a strict interpretation and thus is being…