This Modern Age

Congress Shall Have Power…

with 5 comments

In an election year there are all sorts of arguments about how problems should be solved (healthcare, welfare, crime, foreign affairs, etc…).  However, it is rare to find people discuss the actual purposes of the United States government at the same time.  For most voters, it seems like the government has simply become a magical Santa Claus that simply grants wishes for people who want “good things.”  As a simple refresher I have posted Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution.  PS – The word ‘education’ is not found anywhere in the Constitution…


The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Written by thismodernage

July 22, 2008 at 3:02 pm

5 Responses

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  1. in addition to providing health care or education, i noticed TJ forgot to scribble in Congress’ power to keep those gays from marrying each other and to keep moms from buzz-sawing kids heads open and such. I guess we may have to be progressive about the latter two?


    July 22, 2008 at 3:42 pm

  2. A) TJ didn’t write the Constitution. It was written by the delegates at the Constitutional convention.

    B) I would agree that the Constitution doesn’t say directly about gay marriage. However, a Marriage Amendment is certainly an option – as is any other properly processed amendment. For the record, I am fully oppossed to the Marriage Amendment in the form that Sen. Frist originally put it out there. I would rather see an amendment that clearly stated that it is an issue that the Judicial Branch is not allowed to speak to and it will be settled democratically.

    C) The Constitution clearly speaks to protecting citizens life and property – it’s the legal emodiment of the Declaration of Independence. Further, the Court had no authority to make the ruling it did in Roe v. Wade and the Constitution clearly speaks to that as well.

    The Constitution, including all of its amendments, exists to curtail the power the of the federal government – hence the Ninth & Tenth Amendments.

    I’m not sure what Tad’s point means on “I guess we may have to be progressive about the latter two?”


    July 22, 2008 at 4:07 pm

  3. A) ah snaps, has my history failed me? I was thinking of the note he dropped the Brits telling them to screw themselves. we’ll have to edit out that slip so that people can retain their immaculate perception of my glorious opining.

    B) kk

    C) True, but that all depends on defining life and citizenship. I’m in agreement with you on this- just arguing to be facetious, as usual

    on the progessive deal… just saying that a lot (not all) conservatives want Congress to legislate some Evangelical morality agenda…. which could actually be a progressive move of taking liberal license beyond defined powers in order to be conservative morally


    July 22, 2008 at 4:34 pm

  4. Perhaps you should reread the preamble I think you missed the “Promote the general welfare” part.

    Keegan Sparks

    July 22, 2008 at 4:45 pm

  5. Keegan – The Preamble is simply an introduction, legal scholars don’t argue this. It would have been better to point to the term ‘general Welfare’ at the opening of Article I, Section 8. This is known as the General Welfare clause.

    Here the General Welfare clause was widely accepted as an introductory clause that then allows the remainder of the Section 8 to outline what the general welfare is and how it will be promotedl; as occurs in Article I, Section 8.

    You can read the Federalist papers if you don’t want to take my word for it….

    This view held until 1933 in United States v. Butler when a liberal court began to pick away at it.


    July 22, 2008 at 5:04 pm

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