DBQ Constitution Interpretation

DBQ: Constitution
The Federalists versus the
Step 1: Think on the Prompt
• “With respect to the federal Constitution, the
Jeffersonian Republicans are usually characterized
as strict constructionists who were opposed to the
broad constructionism of the Federalists. To what
extent was this characterization of the two parties
accurate during the presidencies of Jefferson and
• What is the descriptive word in the prompt?
– “to what extent” is similar to “analyze” which means to break the
topic into parts and explain the parts.
• What is the topic? Interpretation of the Constitution
between the Federalists and DemocraticRepublicans
• Brainstorm for 30 seconds
Read and Make Notes on the
Doc A: Can be used to support strict construction with states rights, however says
“united as to everything respecting foreign nations” which can be used to justify loose
Doc B: Supports 1st Amendment, strict construction, separation of church and state,
uses the word “delegated”
Doc C: Embargo and Non-Intercourse Acts, Loose construction for J and M with
commerce compromise. Federalists with England major trading partner…strict
Doc D: “Mr. Madison’s War”, Strict construction for Federalists, leads to Hartford
Doc E: State delegates at Hartford “people of each state”, new states concern…vote
Democratic-Republican? Against Embargo Act, Limitations on definition of
commerce compromise.
Doc F: Insult to be called a “John Adams” with federalist idea of protective tariff,
dem-rep called “old feds”, violation of X amendment – favoring a state? Loose
Doc G: founding fathers as “demi-gods” (negative connotation), loose construction to
account for changes and keep “pace” with the times. Jefferson’s own words!
Doc H: Roads, canals, railroads built by federal government, strict construction since
power to build is not “delegated” to the fed, doesn’t sign the law.
Intro Paragraph Examples
5 Sentence Format!
•Hook to provide historical context
•Topic sentences should have no evidence or
examples. We are looking for 3 separate sentences.
•Thesis should be a complete thought to answer the
“why” or “because”, and include a time frame. It should
be able to “stand alone.”
• Watch for “value” words!
Topic Sentences or “Points of Discussion
• Both Federalists and Democratic-Republicans
philosophically and practically differed on:
– Hamilton’s Financial Plan
• Bank of the United States (BUS)
• Protective Tariff
– “Necessary and Proper,” Art 1, Section 8
• Department of the Navy
• Quasi War with France
• Purchase of Louisiana Territory
• Embargo/Non-Intercourse Acts
– State’s Rights
• Virginia/Kentucky Resolutions
– Nullification
• Hartford Convention
– Nullification and Secession
Basic Intro Paragraph
(would earn you a C)
During the period of 1801-1817, the DemocraticRepublicans and the Federalists had different views of
the constitution: strict and loose constructionism. TJ and
JM were two Democratic-Republican presidents who had
strict views of the constitution. However in some
situations, TJ loosely interpreted the Constitution by
adopting many of the Federalist practices. The
Federalists in the Hartford Convention were strict about
the Constitution when they viewed many objectives of
the War of 1812 as unconstitutional. Throughout the
time period of 1801-1817, TJ had both a strict view and a
loose view of the Constitution as did the Federalists
while they dominated the Federal government.
Better Intro Paragraph
(would earn you a B)
Even though history books portray Jefferson
Republicans and Federalists as two very diverse parties
with opposite views of the Constitution, when the
Democratic-Republicans became president, their views
of the Constitution changed. In the election of 1800, the
Democratic-Republicans ended up keeping much of
Hamilton’s financial plan in place. The Elastic Clause
was used to support economic and military decisions of
the Democratic-Republicans. With the DemocraticRepublicans in power, the philosophy of state’s rights
shifted from the Jeffersonians to the Federalists.
Although the two political parties began with opposing
views on the constitution in the late 1700s, their ideas
reversed as power shifted to Jefferson and Madison.
(I wrote it so it will earn you an A)
Although every delegate at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 was
considered a federalist, by the end of John Adams’ presidential
administration in 1800, two political parties emerged with opposite
philosophical views of the Constitution which were to shift once the
Democratic-Republicans took office. When the Revolution of 1800
propelled the Democratic-Republicans into office, both Jefferson and
Madison found it expedient to adopt most of Alexander Hamilton’s financial
structure. The “necessary and proper “ clause of the Constitution was
expanded by both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to address
threats to national security. In order to counter the DemocraticRepublicans, the Federalists resorted to relying on the literal “delegated”
powers of the Constitution. In the period from 1801-1816, both Thomas
Jefferson and James Madison, while philosophically advocating a strict
construction of the Constitution, resorted to loose interpretation during their
presidencies, while the Federalists, originally supporting a broad view,
countered the Democratic-Republicans with a literal definition.
Body Paragraph Examples
•Reword the 1st Topic Sentence
•Include at least 2 docs in a paragraph
•No quoting documents
•Watch spelling errors and slang
•Write in past tense
•Don’t “describe” but “analyze” with complete thoughts
Basic Body Paragraph
Toward the end of Jefferson’s presidency, loose constructionism
became common throughout his party with the adaptation of Hamilton’s
financial plan. In Jefferson’s letter to Samuel Kercheval he stated that
citizens have to adapt to the Constitution depending on the era.(Doc G) So
even though Jefferson allowed for the expiration of the Alien and Sedition
Acts and the repeal of the Excise Tax, all other programs in the Report on
Public Credit stayed in place. In fact, Madison instituted the first protective
tariff in 1816, which John Randolph laments in his speech to the House of
Representatives. (Doc. F) Randolph accuses Madison of being just like
John Adams in his approach to loosely interpreting the Constitution’s
commerce compromise to raise revenue for the federal government. (Doc.
F) In fact, the only provision of staunch Federalist Alexander Hamilton not
passed by Congress in 1789, was one that called for a protective tariff. It
was viewed by southern exporters as being a violation of the 10th
Amendment which protected state’s rights and disallowed the favoring of
one state over another since the south would face recipical protective tariffs
from both France and England. I could also go on and talk about the
repeal of the Excise tax (Doc F) as well as the use of the elastic
clause with the BUS (Doc A, C, D, F)

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