Constructionism during the presidencies of Jefferson and Madison
During the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans (J.R) both displayed levels of strict constructionism and broad constructionism.
Jeffersonian Republicans were firm believers of strict constructionism. They believed that all of the federal government’s powers were expressly given in the Constitution (Doc A, B, H). However there were some cases where they used policies of broad constructionism if it suited there needs (Doc F, G). The Bonus Bill (H) is a perfect example of the J.R. using strict constructionism. After the charter for the first Bank of United States (BUS) was not renewed the second BUS was given a 20 year charter in 1810. John Calhoun suggested that the revenue generated from the second BUS be used for federal transportation projects. Better transportation was needed in America. However, Madison did not sign the bill into law because he believed that it wasn’t constitutional even though it would desperately help the United States.
Federalists believed that the Constitution was open to interpretation and used the Elastic Clause to support their beliefs (Doc D). During one of the numerous wars between the British and the French the federal government imposed the Embargo Act (Doc E) to cease the trade between both countries to show America’s neutrality. This act harmed the United States more than helped because in New England, which contained mainly federalists, there main way of life was through trading with Europe so they had an economic down turn for as long as the war was going on. During the War of 1812, the Federalists held the Hartford Convention (Doc E) because they were against the war because they were again struggling to trade with Europe. This convention made the Federalists look terrible in the eyes of the American public because they were meeting at the same time as the Battle of New Orleans was taking place....