…The Founders left no doubt as to how this should be read. When Jefferson became President he said:
“The Constitution on which our union rests shall be administered by me according to the safe and honest meaning contemplated by the plain understanding of the people of the United States at the time of it’s adoption – a meaning to be found in the explanations of those who advocated, not those who apposed it…
These explanations are preserved in the publications of the time”.
Later he emphasized the same views:
“On every question of construction, [let us] carry ourselves back to the time when the constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit that was manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning maybe squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
Jefferson felt the constitution should be interpreted strictly. He wrote: “ When an instrument admits two constructions, the one safe, the other dangerous, the one precise, the other indefinite, I prefer that which is safe and precise. I had rather ask an enlargement of power from the nation, where it is found necessary, than to assume it by a construction which would make our powers boundless. Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction.”
Taken from the book "The Making Of America" www.nccs.net