Care must be taken not to confound them with the Democratic-Republicans, or strict constructionists, who appear in opposition to the Federalists soon after the adoption of the Constitution.
They emerged upon an open country that led without a break into the valley of the Crawling Stone below the canyon. Afterward, when he had become a railroad man, McCloud, sitting at a camp-fire with Glover and Morris Blood, heard them discussing the coveted and impossible line up the valley. He had been taken into the circle of constructionists and was told of the earlier reports against the line.
In all the group of young men then on the mountain division, obscure and unknown at the time, but destined within so few years to be scattered far and wide as constructionists with records made in the rebuilding operations through the Rocky Mountains, none was less likely to attract attention than McCloud.
The strict constructionists were destined to spend many unpleasant hours over this question of inland commerce. That the Union had control of ocean or foreign commerce, no one denied. The ocean is common to all. But fresh water lies inland, among the States. Strict construction would not allow the central authority to undertake a public work in an individual State.
It now took the name of National Republicans, which was afterwards exchanged for that of Whigs. On the other side were the "strict constructionists," who, however, differed among themselves respecting certain measures, for example, the tariff. In their ranks Andrew Jackson belonged. Of this political tendency, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina became a leading promoter.
That huge and dazzling edifice seems always to have been exerting a powerful influence against the stricter constructionists of the will. It is only within the last two years that this silent but ponderous argument has been partially overcome by the resolute good-sense of a majority of the Directors.
I believe, that a majority of the intelligent men amongst them accord much more to the claims of "state sovereignty," and approach far more nearly to the character of "strict constructionists," than does the distinguished statesman, who charges them with such latitudinarian notions.
But the strict constructionists of Virginia, Georgia, and other States of the old Jefferson school distrusted him and withheld their confidence and support.
Being a Baptist Preacher and making camp-meetings my specialty, I had unusual opportunity for investigation, for those of our faith are strict constructionists of the biblical law to "greet one another with a kiss."
In advancing this argument, the New England people quoted the opinion of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions that "an unconstitutional law is not binding on the people." In reply to this point made by the loose constructionists, the strict constructionists could do nothing more than quote the implied power. "To regulate" meant to keep the enemy from seizing.