While President Jefferson’s policies were to a great extent diverged from those of Washington and Adams’, President Madison’s policies were much the same as the Federalist presidents. President Jefferson worked to change many of the mindsets and policies set up by the Federalist Presidents, while Madison’s attempts were to extend them. The success of each administration was unique from each other, however both presidents were Republican. The difference in policies shows the beginning of the individuality, uniqueness, and freedom so harbored in the United States.
From the day of his inauguration, President Jefferson showed that his administration would be one of simplicity. He deliberately avoided the ornate way of the Federalists. Instead of insisting on horse and carriage ‘parade-like’ travel, he would walk to his destination whenever possible. He also avoided making flashy speeches, and wrote letters instead of making speeches when it would suffice. Even at dinners in his own home, he insisted on round tables so that everyone would be equal. He considered everyone, men and women, government officials and farmers, equal in all things, and this philosophy was reflected in his everyday conduct.
Jefferson’s simplicity also resided in his policy making. He appointed people of his own party to his cabinet; James Madison was appointed Secretary of State. His entire cabinet, in fact, was Republican. In lesser offices though, he didn’t remove any Federalists, he simply waited for a vacancy to appear. Jefferson also tried to repeal many of the laws created by the Federalists, with a few exception, such as the national bank. He also favored a broad interpretation of the Constitution, whereas the Federalists wanted a more strict interpretation. This was shown when the debate about the Louisiana purchase began. He was in favor of implied power in the Constitution regarding the purchasing of such an enormous amount of land. In these ways, Jefferson’s policies, while not always simple, were greatly distinct than those of the Federalists.
President Madison’s policies, however, were much the same as the Federalists. He endorsed strengthening the central government and giving it more power, which was basically a Federalist mindset. He wanted programs to achieve things such as better fortification, a stronger navy and permanent army, a new national bank, and a big national university. Madison managed to secure an army of about 10,000 and a strengthened navy. In addition, he, like Jefferson, used a broad interpretation of the Constitution to justify the creation of a new national bank, which was passed. Madison also wanted a better developed system of roads and water transportation. Again, he managed to find justification in the Constitution and received funds to build a National Road from the Atlantic coast to the Ohio River. All of his policies to increase Federal power were very much like Federalist policies such as Washington and Adams, and in Madison’s own words, under his presidency, “The Republicans have out-Federalized Federalism.”
Both Jefferson and Madison achieved great things while they were presidents. Jefferson, however, had more Republican beliefs in that he believed in equality in all people, a less-obtrusive government, and a broad interpretation of the Constitution. Madison, while agreeing on a more broad interpretation of the Constitution, instead wanted a stronger central government and more governmental powers. Although the two administrations were both Republican, Jefferson’s was uniquely different than the Federalists, while Madison’s was much an extension of the same.