•Strict constructionists: Congress should be allowed to exercise very few implied powers so that government will remain small
•Broad constructionists: Congress should be allowed to exercise many implied powers so that government can take a greater role in shaping events
•Americans have disagreed about this since the beginning; Jefferson (strict constructionist) vs. Hamilton (broad constructionist) was first major political dispute in US history
Almost immediately following the creation of the Constitution, the Founding Fathers split into two opposing camps over the question of how loosely or strictly to interpret the Necessary and Proper Clause.
One faction, the strict constructionists, was led by Thomas Jefferson. Arguing that "that government is best which governs least," the strict constructionists desired a small federal government, one that would leave most power to the states and to the people. Thus they argued that Congress should only be allowed to exercise those expressed powers specifically listed in the Constitution, recognizing few or any other implied powers as legitimate. Jefferson wanted to ensure that government would charge few or no taxes, mostly leaving the people at liberty to pursue their own objectives free from government interference. Only a very strict reading of the Necessary and Proper Clause, he thought, would prevent the government from giving itself more and more unnecessary power over citizens' lives.
The other faction, the broad constructionists led by Alexander Hamilton, argued for a much more powerful federal government and a much broader reading of the Necessary and Proper Clause. Hamilton, unlike Jefferson, wanted to use the federal government to pursue an aggressive strategy of industrialization and economic development. Hamilton's vision called for the government to organize banks, build roads, and invest in other useful infrastructure, all in the interest of transforming the young United States from a country of...