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Untrodden GroundHow Presidents Interpret the Constitution$
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Harold H. Bruff

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226211107

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226211244.001.0001

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The Fugitive Occurrence

The Fugitive Occurrence

Jefferson and Madison

(p.57) Chapter Three The Fugitive Occurrence
Untrodden Ground

Harold H. Bruff

University of Chicago Press

President Thomas Jefferson continued the process of developing fundamental constitutional aspects of the presidency. The Twelfth Amendment opened the path to a national base for the office, but left a problematic vice presidency. Jefferson began the use of patronage to obtain loyal executive officers and began presidential management of legislation. He refused to enforce unconstitutional legislation. He sent forces to pursue the Barbary Pirates without advance congressional legislation. In purchasing Louisiana, he adopted a view of presidential prerogative that would expand the office. He manipulated the size of the judiciary and tried unsuccessfully to impeach a justice. He was a strong advocate of departmentalism, giving his branch more independence. His embargo was an oppressive use of federal power. President James Madison took a very limited view of federal power under the general welfare and necessary and proper clauses, and failed as commander in chief in the War of 1812.

Keywords:   Thomas Jefferson, Twelfth Amendment, patronage, Barbary Pirates, Louisiana Purchase, departmentalism, James Madison, general welfare clause, commander in chief, War of 1812

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