Jeffersonian Republicans Essay

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Jeffersonian Republicans

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.

Before 1801, the Jeffersonian Republicans were usually strict constructionists of the constitution. However during the presidencies of Jefferson and Madison they had to adopt some Federalist ideas. In many instances, the two parties completely interchanged their views on the construction of the constitution. During that period of time it was difficult to characterize anyone as a member of either the
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They argued that this transfer of land was unconstitutional. The Federalists said that this new land was worthless and would only put the country even more in debt. Their main reason for that was that the creation of new states would decrease their power in congress.

The Louisiana Purchase was not the only time Jefferson adopted the ideas of federalists about loose construction of the constitution. After he was reelected, war soon broke out in Europe between English and French. British needed more manpower and financial aid for the war soon began impressing American sailors and stealing their cargo. This made trade between the United States and Europe unsafe. Jefferson did not wish to go to war, so he decided to cut off al the export of goods from the United States. With the passing of this Embargo Act, Jefferson again switched to the loose construction of the Federalists.

The New England Federalists did not favor the Embargo. It completely disabled their economy and, as well as that of people in the western territory. The New England states criticized the embargo, and even wanted to part from the union because of it. The Jeffersonian Republicans of Virginia, however advocated the Embargo, even though at the same time they were supporting loose construction of the constitution.

During Madison's presidency, when the war with England broke out, the Federalists again adopted the republican
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