The Jeffersonian democracy, so named after Thomas Jefferson, is a political philosophy supporting a federal government with greatly constrained powers and advocating a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Jeffersonian philosophy also called for state and local governments to safeguard the rights and property of citizens. Jeffersonians recognized both private and common property. This philosophy dominated American politics in the years 1800-1820s. It is contrasted with Jacksonian democracy, which dominated the next political era, and Federalism, a contemporary political theory advocating a strong federal government. The most prominent spokesmen of this political philosophy included Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Albert Gallatin, John Randolph of Roanoke, and Nathaniel Bacon.
In its core ideals it is characterized by the following elements, which the Jeffersonians expressed in their speeches and legislation:
* The core political value of America is representative democracy; citizens have a civic duty to aid the state and resist corruption, especially monarchism and aristocracy.
* The yeoman farmer best exemplifies civic virtue and independence from corrupting city influences; government policy should be for his benefit. Financiers, bankers and industrialists make cities the cesspools of corruption, and should be avoided.
* Americans had a duty to spread what Jefferson called the "Empire of Liberty" to the world, but should avoid "entangling alliances."
* The national government is a dangerous necessity to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation or community; it should be watched closely and circumscribed in its powers. Most Anti-Federalists from 1787-88 joined the Jeffersonians.
* The wall of separation between church and state is the best method to keep religion free from intervention by the federal government, government free of religious disputes, and religion free from corruption...