Madison Vs Thomas Jefferson Analysis

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Throughout the period of the early 1800's, Jeffersonian Democratic - Republicans believed in a strict interpretation of the Constitution; that is, the federal government’s authority is strictly limited to what is explicitly allowed in the constitution. The opposing Federalist presidents such as John Adams believed that the authority of the federal government was to be restricted by a loose interpretation of the constitution that provided the government with any authority that was not forbidden by the Constitution. Despite the boundaries of the federalists to a loose interpretation of the Constitution and the Jeffersonian Republicans to a strict interpretation, these characteristics were often impeded upon during the presidencies of James Madison…show more content…
Madison, serving as the secretary of state under Thomas Jefferson, supported the idea of an embargo against France and Britain. He believed that by creating a law that prevented American ships from sailing to a foreign port, he would be ultimately helping the United States and upholding Democratic Republican ideals; however, he did just the opposite. In creating an embargo, Madison – with support of Jefferson – impeded on the rights of the individual, ultimately leading to a rule comparable to that of Great Britain’s in exercising navigation laws. The result of such an embargo was economic depression, as illustrated by the political cartoon “OGRABME, or The American Snapping-turtle” (Document C). Such an embargo not only compromised the democratic republican ideals through impeding on individual rights, but also followed a more loose interpretation of the Constitution as nowhere did it dictate the limitations to setting an embargo on the United States. Consequentially, this contortion by the president and his cabinet was pointed out by the Hartford Convention of 1805 in which Congress could not establish an embargo for an period longer than sixty days (Document E). Jefferson began to realize these faults and tried to justify them in saying that it is impossible not to impede on certain rights of take a slightly…show more content…
With battles erupting between the United States and Great Britain and the Native Americans, The United States needed more soldiers to help protect its lands. Consequentially, the Madison Administration asserted the right of the government to protect its lands by forcing citizens to fill the ranks of the regular army, despite the fact that nowhere in the Constitution did it specifically dictates the government’s right to do so. (Document D). Here we have a direct impediment of the individual rights supposedly guaranteed by the Democratic Republican party, and, as a result, the backlash of the United States Citizens. The blatant disregard for democratic republican principals was then called out on Virginian Republican Congressman, John Randolph, in a speech to the House about the Tariff of 1816 that unjustly put more burdens on the people to favor the manufacturers. Randolph told Congress that they had been supposed to regulate commerce, not lay a tariff in the hopes of money. He declared that they had renounced the true principals of the Jeffersonian administration that had gained them their power and switched to a completely federalist view, and simply manipulated the United States citizens into thinking the Republican principals were still being upheld. It was this sort of blatant disregard of

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