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Strict Vs. Loose Constructionists

            During the period of 1801-1817, the clash of the Republican views on the constitution were argued against the opinions of the Federalist. The Republicans believed in interpreting the constitution strictly, meaning that Congress or the President define the constitution as is- word for word, while the Federalist party held the opinions of broad constructionists, that Congress or the President had the right to interpret the constitution based on connotation. The Jeffersonian Republicans are usually characterized as strict constructionists who were opposed to broad constructionism of the Federalists. During the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, this characterization is only true to a certain extent because despite their opposition against broad constructionism, they both found the need to follow the Republican path when stepping up to power as President.
             There is proof that Jefferson can be verified as a strict constructionist. In document B, Jefferson states to Samuel Miller that, "I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institution, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises- Jefferson believed that certainly no power should decree any religious action, or to assume authority in religious discipline. Jefferson believed that the President of the U.S. had no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents. .
             Thomas Jefferson had the characteristics and beliefs of strict constructionists, but he also needed the help of broad constructionism. For example, when Jefferson was president, his two basic political doctrines were strict affiliation to the letter of the Constitution and severe economy in spending public money. However, events in Europe caused him to stretch the Constitution as he had never thought would be necessary, and at one stroke to spend more money than any Federalist had dared.

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