Jeffersonian Republicans Vs. Federalists Essay

Jeffersonian Republicans Vs. Federalists Essay

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As the young colonies of America broke away from their mother country and began to grow and develop into an effective democratic nation, many changes occurred. As the democracy began to grow, two main political parties developed, the Jeffersonian Republicans and the Federalists.      Each party had different views on how the government should be run. The Jeffersonian Republicans believed in strong state governments, a weak central government, and a strict construction of the Constitution. The Federalists opted for a powerful central government with weaker state governments, and a loose interpretation of the Constitution. Throughout the years, the political parties have grown, developed, and even dispersed into totally new factions. Many of the inconsistencies and changes can be noted throughout the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

     When Thomas Jefferson entered office in 1800, he came in with lots of new ideas and goals as the president. Jefferson believed in a smaller central government with stronger state governments. He was a Republican and favored the view of strict construction. He believed that, “Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government…” (Document A). Jefferson and his Republican party believed in a government that was going to work for the people and that was going to have them at its best interests. That is why they believed in having stronger state governments, they were closer to home and to the people they were governing, therefore they knew more of what the public needed. Document B also refers to strict construction and Jefferson’s beliefs. It talks about the freedoms that were stated in the constitution, mainly, the freedom of religion. Jefferson believes that the federal government should not have any say in dealing with religion of the people. The Republicans believed that any law stated in the Constitution should be strictly followed.

     As Jefferson’s presidency wore on, the Jeffersonian Republican beliefs began drifting farther away from the original ideals they began with. Some of the decisions made by Jefferson proved to follow the loose construction of the Constitution of the Federalists. When he made the decision to purchase the Louisiana Territory, he never obtained congressional approval. He...


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...ter the country as a whole. John Randolph, a Democratic Republican of the time even suggested that the Jeffersonian Republicans were taking on the old Federalism principles during Madison’s term. Document F explains how, “this government created and gave power to Congress to regulate commerce…not to lay a duty but with a steady eye to revenue…”

     As the country grows and matures into a great nation, people realize that change is inevitable and sometimes even needed. Within the time period of 1802 to 1817, many Jeffersonian Republicans realized that their ideals and principles weren’t always best for the nation. That is why they adopted some of the ideals of the old Federalist Party. Also, during this time, the Federalists died out. As realized after the Hartford Convention, the nation did not need nor want the Federalists anymore if the Democratic Republicans could get the job done. Although people changed a great deal during this time, it seemed to be beneficial to the nation. If people had not grown and never continued to learn and aspire to what is needed, then we may have never gotten to this great nation that the United States of America is today.

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