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Strict and Loose Constructionism in America

            As the United States of America changed and became more powerful, so did the interpretation of the Constitution change and develop various strong beliefs. The Jeffersonian Republicans and the Federalists were two groups that both proposed somewhat contradictory views on this topic, but as times changed, their actions showed that their views changed with it. Although their ideas did not completely change, the actions that each side took seemed to be contradictory to their beliefs, showing that they had not remained completely true to the titles that they had. Jeffersonian Republicans were generally characterized as "strict" constructionists because of their exact and technical interpretation of the Constitution before the election of 1800. They showed such an interpretation through the actions that they supported or opposed. A primary example of this is Jefferson's opposition to the national bank. He believed that it was wrong because the Constitution gave this power to the states, not the government. Such standpoints made the Jeffersonians become known as "strict" constructionists because of their opposition to any acts that were not given in the Constitution.
             Despite his belief in strict constructionism, Jefferson eventually seemed to desire acts that favored more loose constructionism. When the controversial Louisiana Purchase was proposed, Jefferson seemed to abandon the beliefs that he had previously defended by supporting it. The Constitution said that the government did not have the power to make such huge territorial expansions without Senate's consent, but Jefferson still supported the Purchase. Another example of the Jeffersonian' self-contradictory actions was their support of the Embargo Act, which sought to help settle some of the conflict with Britain by halting trade with it. Jefferson would have previously gone against the Embargo Act because the Constitution did not give the government the power to pass it- the states and the people should instead have this right instead (they were the ones that would have to deal with the Act after all).

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