The different biased policies of which Federalists believed in interpreting the Constitution broadly, while Jeffersonian Republicans (Anti-Feds) believed it should be interpreted strictly, continued through the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. However, throughout both of their terms, both parties eventually “switched” their ideals, and followed the other party’s belief. “Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a singled government” (Doc. A) is a letter from Jefferson to Granger, then the complete opposite is written in Doc F, where Randolph talks about how the J.
Republicans abandon their original principles. This is just one example of how later the two parties ideals were “switched. ” Actions such as the Louisiana Purchase, the Embargo Act, and the establishment of the Second National Bank show this. Before Jefferson was elected, he believed the government shouldn’t assume any power unless explicitly provided for in the Constitution. The Louisiana Purchase was the purchase of 828,000 square miles of France’s territory in 1803, and the territory was named Louisiana. The U. S paid the French about 15 million dollars for the territory.
There were many questionable remarks made about buying the territory because it was thought to be unconstitutional and he was almost thought of a hypocrite. He did agree that that the Constitution didn’t contain requirements for acquiring the territory, but did anyway because he thought the pros outweighed the cons, though he wasn’t consistent to his original “philosophy” of interpreting the Constitution strictly. Another action considered being “a step in the opposite direction” was the Embargo Act. Passed in 1807, the Embargo Act was made in response to the impressment of American ships and their goods, and violations of U. S.
neutrality. At first what seemed like a good idea, backfired when Americans protested against the Act and the Act was deemed unconstitutional. In the picture in Doc. C, one can tell it was to show overuse of power by the government by establishing the Embargo Act. The Constitution didn’t provide the government with the power of an embargo, but Jefferson supported his claim with very loose connections to the Constitution to verify his reasoning for putting an embargo on Britain. Eventually the Act was ratified and the Non-Intercourse Act was enacted soon after, which allowed trade between all countries beside Britain and France.
James Madison, who was thought to be an Anti-Fed, was now thought to be Federalist or a hypocrite when he established the Second National Bank. The First National Bank was made by Alexander Hamilton, who was a Federalist, and who opposed the Jeffersonian Republicans which included James Madison. James Madison decided to make the Second National Bank, considering the First National Bank was a huge difference between both parties, which most considered complete hypocrisy. In Doc. F, Randolph is outraged with the creation of the bank because it shows the Anti-Feds are undertaking Federalist policies.
Along with Randolph, other Anti-Feds believed the Second National bank was unconstitutional, and that it benefited investors and merchants at the expense of the majority of the population. This proves that Madison, when suitable to do so, was willing to “switch” his political values. Both presidents, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, claimed to be Anti-Feds and “strictly” followed the Constitution. In fact, there are proven to be times that really have shown otherwise such as the Louisiana Purchase, the Embargo Acts, and the Second National Bank. They stated to both be loyal Anti-Feds, but history tells us otherwise.
Courtney from Study Moose
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