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Free Response

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Thomas Jefferson was a strong believer of a "strict interpretation" of the Constitution. There was a shift in his views when the United States bought the Louisiana Territory off Napoleon. There also began to be a shift in the fact that the Jeffersonians were beginning to act like Federalists in the expansionist and militaristic venture known as the "War of 1812." Jefferson believes in both a strict interpretation and a restricted military but the Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812 made us see otherwise.

As we already knew, Jefferson was a follower of a strict interpretation but when he bought the Louisiana Territory , there was no provision in the constitution for purchase of land which made him look like a loose constructionist. Although Jefferson had doubts about whether the United States had the authority to accept the offer, he agreed to it by reasoning that it would benefit the country and it had the support of congress. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the United States which was bought for 15 million dollars. Jefferson believed in an agrarian America rather than industrialized. The purchase provided the country with national unity and it boosted the popularity of the Republicans. As this new land was bought , there was a decline of Federalists.

The War of 1812 began under James Madison's Presidency which also became known as "Madison's War." The United States started this war because it felt that the British were violating Americas Neutrality Rights at sea and also stirring up trouble in the Western Frontier. The Untied States wasn't one to become involved in foreign policy (George Washington's Neutrality Proclamation) but this time it felt its rights were violated and started it themselves representing a shift in ideal democracies. Madison, like Jefferson, attempted a combination of economic pressure ( Embargo Act and Non Intercourse Act ) and diplomacy but ultimately brought us into war. The New England Federalists were so opposed to war , that they came close to a secession at the Hartford Convention of 1814. On the other hand, the "War Hawks" really wanted war and they represented the South and West. They were represented in congress by Henry Clay of Kentucky and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. The country was divided in this war both by region and by political alliances.

There was a change in "Jefferson's Ideals" from the Louisiana Purchase ,which was not stated in the Constitution that we can buy land , to the "War of 1812" which we declared even though under Jefferson he believed in a restricted military and wanted nothing with Foreign Affairs. As America grew older , we began to see a change for better and for worse.



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