Throughout his early on political career, thomas Jefferson had always been a solid supporter that states’ rights and a major critic the Federalist policies. However, ~ being elected as president in 1801, Jefferson radically changed his previously philosophy of government. Papers A and B display Jefferson’s solid opposition to federal power and his firm id in a “strict construction” the the U.S. Constitution. However, paper C shows his abuse of federal authority by working out power not specifically granted come the federal federal government by the Constitution.

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Before Jefferson gone into office, he to be a states’ best activist and also a Democratic-Republican. He thought that the federal government should be provided as small power as possible; in his opinion the federal government was an extremely prone to coming to be tyrannical. He fear that, ~ a hard combated war the independence against Britain, Americans’ might once again it is in governed through a tyrannical authority. His worst fears came true when, in 1794, conference passed the excise regulation (Doc. A). Jefferson voiced his terrible in a letter to James Madison; he believed the regulation to it is in “an infernal one” and a possible “instrument that dismembering the Union”. According to him, the law was unconstitutional; he thought that the federal government was abusing your authority by exercising powers the were not specifically granted to them in the Constitution. This is dubbed “loose construction”. This illustrates his strong beliefs in limiting federal power and interpreting the degree of federal power with a strict building of the Constitution. He enhanced this same point when he composed the Kentucky Resolutions in 1798 (Doc. B). In this piece of legislation, Jefferson openly opposes the Alien and also Sedition Acts. This displayed his opposition of federal government controls on cost-free speech and immigration—and federal federal government controls in general. Jefferson thought that the federal federal government was granted “certain definite powers” and also that the says were scheduled “the residuary mass of best to their very own self-government”. In other words, he believed in strictly constructionism: the the federal government’s powers have to be expressly limited, and that the states must receive all the continuing to be powers. That is clean that prior to Jefferson was elected to office in 1801 he was a major advocate the states’ rights and also critic of federalist policies.

After Jefferson was elected to office, that significantly changed his philosophies around government. As president, Jefferson acted exterior his legitimate authority on plenty of occasions. One such chance was once Jefferson authorized the Louisiana purchase (Doc. C). In this situation, Jefferson clearly demonstrated a ignore for the limit of his powers. Jefferson knew the he walk not have actually the authority to engage in together a resolve France, due to the fact that it was not a power particularly granted to him in the Constitution. However, he completed the Louisiana acquisition anyway since he “thought the his duty” to threat himself because that the an excellent of the joined States. In other words, the knew what he was doing was wrong, yet he felt justified in knowing that it was for the an excellent of the country. Although Jefferson had an excellent intentions, he clearly violated the structure by abusing his place as executive of the U.S. In one more situation, Jefferson pushed the limits of presidential power by pass the Embargo action of 1807. This act minimal trade through France and also Britain due to the fact that they did not respect the U.S. Neutrality during the Napoleonic War. Although, his intentions were again great in this situation, he moved the boundaries of what a president can constitutionally carry out while in office. Clearly, Jefferson exercised massive federal power to accomplish his political goals.


It is evident that ~ being chosen as President, Jefferson radically transformed his earlier philosophy the government. Before, he had strongly opposed federal power and also fought because that a strictly constructionist see of the U.S. Constitution. However, when in office, he plainly abused his presidential government by working out power not particularly granted to the federal federal government in the Constitution. In spite of his anti-Federalist upbringing, thomas Jefferson turned the end to be much more a Federalist than Washington or Adams ever before was.

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Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Flip-Flopper thomas Jefferson: indigenous State’s legal rights to Federalism" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 05 Jan. 2014. Web. 02 Nov. 2021. .