Parties Siding with their Constitutional Interpretation Essay

Submitted By estibesty
Words: 1051
Pages: 5

Esti Freud 11/22/14
The constitution of the United States has two interpretations the Jeffersonian Republic and the Federalists, or the Hamiltonians. The Jeffersonian Republics claimed to have followed the strict construction that if the Constitution does not say directly you can do something, than you cannot do it. In contrast, Federalists, or the Hamiltonians, are referred to as the loose constructionists. They believe if the Constitution does not say you cannot do something, than you can do it. To what extent do these political parties follow through their interpretations of the Constitution? Do their claims and actions follow through?
In some cases each political party follows through with their own views of the interpretation of the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Gideon Granger. In the letter Jefferson, a strict constructionist, talked of the Constitution and the principles on which it stands, saying it should be followed as it is written: “…on which it was known to be received…” Jefferson said that if the Federalists continue to follow by loose construction it would drive America to a monarchy. The document is written in the year 1800, during the presidential elections with Jefferson running opposite John Adams. In the years leading up to 1808, a law was passed that on Thanksgiving of each year all American citizens must fast and say prayers. The Jeffersonian Republic saw this as going against the Constitution, for it says nowhere that the federal or state government may pass any laws concerning religious customs, such as fasting and praying. President Jefferson in a letter to Samuel Miller, stated his discontent of the religious law that had been passed. This followed through with Jefferson’s interpretation of the Constitution. The year 1817 aroused new problems in America, which tested the beliefs of the Jeffersonian Republics and the Federalists to stand firm with their original views. Congress had passed a law that the Federal income would now contribute to the improvement and the construction of canals and roads. This act came to be known as the Internal Improvements Bill. The Jeffersonian Republics were bothered by this law for nowhere in the Constitution does it state that Congress may pass laws using federal funds to support the upkeep of roads or canals. President Madison, a strict constructionist, tried writing a letter to Congress trying to veto this law; for this situation President Madison is staying consistent with his party. These documents may be considered biased, for they do not talk about the Hamiltonian party and their consistency with the loose interpretation.
Although in some cases, the two parties are seemingly consistent to their interpretations of the Constitution, there are many cases on which they are not consistent. In the year 1808, America was faced with international conflict, mostly concerning England and France. Out of the concern for war, President Jefferson passes an act, known as the Embargo Act. The Embargo Act restricted American traders and manufacturers from conducting international trade, thus shutting down all trading ports. America’s economy was ultimately harmed by the lack of trade, but the country was saved from the heavy prices of war. The act of Jefferson passing the act conflicted with his political outlook. It is not written in the Constitution that the President may shut down trading ports. Many Federalists strayed from their loose construction views to strict views, because their businesses were being harmed by the lack of trade. The political cartoon of Alexander Anderson portrayed the dissatisfaction of the Federalists. In the year 1814, America was involved in the War of 1812. The federal government called for a draft of soldiers. Daniel Webster, a Federalist, stated in a speech on a conscription bill, that the draft for soldiers was unconstitutional; for the Constitution does not say that the government may draft soldiers. This goes to