Jeffersonian-Republicans

Jeffersonian-Republicans

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The Jeffersonian-Republicans (also known as the Democratic-Republicans) were opposed to the Federalists from before 1801-1817. Leaders Thomas Jefferson and James Madison created the party in order to oppose the economic and foreign policies of Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Party. The Democratic-Republicans supported the French, whereas the Federalists supported the British. Each party had its set of views. The Federalists supported a loose interpretation of the Constitution, a strong central government, high tariffs, a navy, military spending, a national debt, and a national bank (all ideas of the Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton). The Democratic-Republicans opposed all of the said ideas and fought for states' rights and the citizens to govern the nation. Originally, each of these parties stuck to their own views and ideas, but eventually would accept eachother's views and use them as their own.
Thomas Jefferson's strict interpretation not only stretched on political views, but religious views as well. Creating the Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom, Jefferson gave states the right to make those decisions, and the federal government had no say in religion (1). Politically, Jefferson was of strict interpretation, yet he did through-out his presidential terms made loose interpretations of the Constitution. This was mainly shown in the purchase of Louisana. At first, Jefferson wanted only New Orleans to keep the mouth of the Mississippi out of French possesion. If that would fail, he was even willing to make an alliance with Britain. When hearing that the United States had bought all of the Louisana Territory, Jefferson soon began to fret over whether it was unconstitutional (a loose interpretation). When Jefferson first took office, he appointed a new Treasury Secretary Gallatin, and kept most of the Federalist policies laid down by Alexander Hamilton in place. All the ideas the Democratic-Republicans were against, Thomas Jefferson kept all of them except for the excise tariff. Against war, Jefferson decided to size down the army during his administration. But the pasha of Tripoli declared an outrageous amout of money by the United States, and with the United States saying no, cutdown the flagstaff in front of the U.S. Consolate (4). Jefferson was forced to go against his views, and build up the army against the North African Barbary States in the First Barbary War (4). And last, but not least, Jefferson's Embargo Act of 1807 not only changed from strict to loose interpretations, but changed New Englanders minds as well (1)(5).

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The Embargo Act of 1807 was declared in part to force Britain to reconsider its restrictions on American trade by prohibiting American goods from being shipped to foreign ports (5). All in all, Jefferson tried to express strict interpretation and allow the state governments to govern rather than one central government (1), but with the on-going struggles during his administration, could not excute strictness as solely as he probably wanted to.
Right around the time where James Madison was elected and succeeded Jefferson, the war spirit grew in America (1), this automatically gave signs as to Madison having to compromise
his views against the public. On-going crys for war by the War Hawks finally took a toll on Madison, and he was force to declare war (the War of 1812) (2). In the document by Daniel Webster (1), it is shown very clearly that the Madison administration went against his strict views and decided to fill army ranks by using his governmental power (without the Constitution). Webster states that no where in the Constitution does it say that the adminitstation can choose to take anyone out of a household and use them for military purpose (1). The New Englanders, who opposed the war and were hurt financially due to the British blockade along the coastline (6), gathered in Hartford, Connecticut for the Hartford Convention. Through-out the convention, Federalists gathered up a serious of resolutions such as the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (2). Apparently, views of the Federalists had gone upside down as well. Federalists, during the convention, raised for states' rights and proposed that Constitution be amended to require a two-thirds vote of Congress to admit new states and declare war, as well as not give Congress the right to lay any embargo on ships of citizens of the United States for more than sixty days (2)(1). As stated in the document written by John Randolph (a Democratic-Republican), he agrees that the Madison administration became more so old Federalism than republicanism acknowledging that the government was created to give power to Congress to regulate commerce and equalize tariffs on the United States as a whole, and not just sections of the nation(1). One strict view of Madison's administration came in the vetoing of the Internal Improvements Bill. This showed Madison still had respect for the Constitution and that the success of the Constitution still depended upon the federal and state governments together (1). Also it showed that Internal Improvements were not set out by the Constitution, therefore he had no reason to sign the bill.
Ironically, if one looks at it, during Madison's and Jefferson's terms, they seemed to have incorporated more loose ideas rather than strict. Also, as much as the Democratic-Republicans were pro-French, ironically Jefferson went against French and even stated if the French were ever to take New Orleans, he would team with the British. Madison, on the other hand, declared war on the British. In the document written by Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, he states that "…laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind…" (1). What this means is, governments should be flexible (changing his views once again on strict to loose). The Elastic Clause supported by John Marshall states that laws are "necessary and proper" for Congress to exercise the power granted to it by the Constitution (7). Alexander Hamilton practiced a "necessary and proper" law when creating the Bank of the United States. The interpretation of this bill still creates controversial debates, but all in all has a sole purpose, to enact laws that are necessary and proper to that of the government and the people. Views change and other views are considered when governing a large country, and the mixture of views and ideas of both said parties made America what it is today.

Bibliography

Documents A-H

Gordon, Irving L.. American History. Second. New York: Amsco School Publications,

INC., 1995.

"Democratic-Republican Party (United States)." Democratic-Republican Party (United

States). Wikipedia. 30 Oct 2006. .

"First Barbary War." First Barbary War. Wikipedia. 30 Oct 2006.

.

"Embargo Act of 1807." Embargo Act of 1807. Wikipedia. 30 Oct 2006.

.

"Hartford Convention." Hartford Convention. Wikipedia. 30 Oct 2006.

.

"Necessary-and-proper clause." Necessary-and-proper clause. Wikipedia. 30 Oct 2006.

.


Footnotes & End Notes

(1) Documents A-H.
(2) Irving L. Gordon, American History, Second Edition, p. 163 - p. 176.
(3) Wikipedia, Democratic-Republican Party (United States).
(4) Wikipedia, First Barbary War.
(5) Wikipedia, Embargo Act of 1807.
(6) Wikipedia, Hartford Convention.
(7) Wikipedia, Necessary-and-proper clause.
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