Republicanism and Federalism

| February 3, 2014

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As at the time of ratification of the U.S. Constitution, the new American nation of the late 18th century and early 19th century found its citizens divided in their political views. Those who favored a strong central government and thus a restriction of the powers possessed by the states belonged to the Federalist party; those who believed that the Constitution should be interpreted so as to limit the power of the national government, thus giving additional power to the states, were known as the Democratic-Republicans. The Federalists, therefore, espoused a nationalistic view; the Democratic-Republicans, though they would not deny the efficacy of a national government, believed that definite rights should be reserved to the states. Using this definition to guide your thinking, you should read the primary sources assigned in this lesson. The following sources (accessed through Web Links) should be used for this exercise: Alien and Sedition Acts Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions Jefferson’s Inaugural Address Marbury v. Madison Hamilton Argues for the Constitutionality of the National Bank, February 15, 1791 Jefferson Argues Against the Constitutionality of a National Bank, February 23, 1791 If you need additional information, explore the sites at the end of the lesson. Examine the readings for a Federalist or Democratic-Republican point of view. Choose one of these two philosophical positions and write a two page essay outlining the major points characteristic of the position and giving specific examples from the sources you have read.
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