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Adoption of the Constitution

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After the adoption of the Constitution, two political parties emerged to dominate America's newly founded democracy. Being third and fourth presidents, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison undoubtedly had a severe impact in the evolution and principles of the Constitution. Needless to say, the Jeffersonian Republican Party and Hamilton's Federalist Party greatly differed in their socio-political views. The characterization of these parties portrayed the Federalists as being strict constructionists and the Democratic- Republicans as having a fairly loose interpretation of the Constitution. This thesis is well based and supported, however, it is not entirely pertinent to certain situations during Jefferson and Madison's presidencies.

Most of Jefferson's presidency adhered to the strict interpretation of the Constitution. In August of 1800 Jefferson wrote a letter to Gideon Granger not just stating his intention to follow the constitution, but that it is a necessity to obtain the majority in the congress for his party. He says that the federalist views opposed the constitution and that "...[the country] can never be harmonious and solid while so respectable a portion of its citizens support principles which go directly to a change of the federal Constitution, to sink the state governments, consolidate them into one, and to monarchise that", (Document A). Jefferson also demonstrates this in a letter to Samuel Miller in 1808, encouraging the separation of religion and government. He saw that there was no authority to control the religious practices of any people in the United States as President (Document B). Jefferson even believed that the National Bank should not have been formed, since it was not written in the constitution.

Being more loosely bound to the constitution, the Federalists encouraged certain funds to be separated and used for improvements within the country. However, sticking to his firm opinions, Madison vetoes the bill, stating that it is unconstitutional and would require, "...an inadmissible latitude of construction and a reliance on insufficient precedents", (Document H) to ratify it. Another example of this would be when John Randolph accuses the current government as having federalist actions, proving that the Republicans are straying from their strict constitutional beliefs and that the two parties weren't entirely separated with regards to internal affairs such as the tariffs imposed on the whole of the United States (Document F). Daniel Webster, a Federalist, also argued that it was completely unconstitutional for Congress to draft militiamen into the U.S. Army (Document D). This contradicts the notion that the Democratic Republicans were strict constitutionalists and Federalists were completely liberal.

Exceptions were made in both political parties regarding their political views. The Embargo Act prohibited trade with other foreign nations because of

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