Strict Constructionism vs Broad Constructionism Essay

726 Words Jan 13th, 2013 3 Pages
By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Republicans and Federalists had developed into two distinct political parties. The controversy over the constitutionality of the First Bank of the United States gave rise to two different interpretations of the Constitution. While the Jeffersonian Republicans held a strict-constructionist view of the Constitution, the Federalists took on a broad-constructionist view of the Constitution. These became defining characteristics of the two political parties. However, during the presidencies of Jefferson and Madison, the desire of one party to dominate over the other caused both parties to stray away from their original philosophies of government and resort to the other party’s principles. Although …show more content…
In the Marbury v. Madison case, Marshall ironically gained a Federalist victory by using strict constructionism. By ruling that the Constitution did not explicitly grant the Court power to issue writs of mandamus, Marshall gave the Court the greater power of judging the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress through the judicial review. In this way, Marshall expanded the federal government, producing a broad-constructionist victory. In the Fletcher v. Peck case, Marshall did not need to use strict constructionism to accomplish his goal of advancing the power of the federal government. Instead, Marshall solely relied on broad constructionism to protect commercial and industrial interests and state federal supremacy in interstate commerce. In his court rulings, Marshall affirmed Federalist dominance in the Supreme Court amidst a Congress dominated by Republicans. By using both Republican and Federalist principles, Marshall elevated the Supreme Court and expanded the power of the federal government.
The War of 1812 prompted President James Madison to turn to Federalist principles of broad constructionism to structure America’s economy. Madison recognized the expediency of encouraging commerce and economic development as American nationalism emerged after the War of 1812. He concluded that state banks were insufficient in facilitating the economy…

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