In the 16th century, the first two political parties emerged, The Democratic Republicans who took literal interpretation of the Constitution and wanted to preserve it, and the Federalists who had a broad interpretation of the Constitution(Document A).
The Democratic Republicans stood for a separation of church and state, supported agrarian group and farming, and believed in states rights(Document B). The purchase of the Louisiana territory, the passing of the Embargo Act, and the Passing of parts of the American System proves that Democratic Republicans did not always abide by their ideals. The Democratic Republican party focused their ideals around the constitution. When the Louisiana purchase came into order, the Democratic Republicans attempted to follow their strict constructionist ideals by requesting a constitutional amendment. However, Jefferson thought it was his duty and was for the good of the United States.
The Democratic Republican party went against their ideals and took a loose constructionist view on the purchasing of the Louisiana Territory. Nowhere in the constitution did it say that one could purchase land, so when Democratic Republican president Thomas Jefferson purchased this land, it was by the ideal of a loose constructionist. Thomas Jefferson supported his actions by saying “I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untired changes in law and constitutions… But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.
“(Document G) The Democratic Republican party also went against their political principals by passing the Embargo Act.The Embargo Act restricted trade with France and Britain because they did not respect the U.S.
neutrality. While passing the Embargo Act, the Democratic Republican party tried to stand by their beliefs. Most people of the Democratic Republican party did not want to Embargo Act passed. Searching for an alternative to war, Jefferson tried to come up with other options, but reasoned that cutting off exports was the best option. The Constitution stated that the government could regulate imports, but not exports. Although it was supposed to help the country, it required President Jefferson to have a loose interpretation of the constitution by using the elastic clause to pass the Act.
Jefferson abused the constitutional limits to what a president could do in office.(Document C) The Democratic Republican party showed a loose interpretation by the passing of parts of the American System.The American System called for three things, a protective tariff, a national bank, and internal improvements including roads and canals to be built in the west.
The Democratic Republican party followed the belief of strict constructionism by vetoing the Bonus Bill. James Madison recognized the Constitution did not say you could improve the government by raising taxes. Madison said in this message to Congress “I am unaware of the great importance of roads and canals and the improved navigation of water courses.
..”(Document H) Although Madison did not pass all the parts of the American System, he did pass the protective tariff on imported good and the national bank. This showed the Democratic Republican party did agree with some principles of the loose constructionists, because nowhere in the constitution did it say anything about a national bank or protective tariffs. John Randolph a Democratic Republican congressman said “Their Principal now is old Federalism, vamped up into something bearing the superficial appearance of Republicanism…”(Document F) The Federalists, must like the Democratic Republicans, also did not always follow their own ideals.People like John Marshall kept the Federalist party ideals alive in court cases such as Marbury vs. Madison and McCulloch v.
Maryland. However, the Hartford Convention showed that Federalists sometimes adopted strict constructionism when they viewed many objectives of the War of 1812 as unconstitutional(Document E). The Federalists demanded what they wanted to be done and instead of using the Elastic Clause, the Federalists in the Hartford Convention proposed for amendments to be past. This shows that the Federalist party utilized strict constructionism occasionally.
In conclusion, Both the Federalist Party and the Democratic Republican did not always follow their ideals of strict and loose constructionism.