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If Congress Can Employ Money Indefinitely

Posted by | August 8th, 2009

“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress… Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.”

– James Madison
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2 thoughts on “If Congress Can Employ Money Indefinitely

  1. markross Post author

    In the first clause (Article 1, Section 8) of The United States Constitution, Congress is given the enumerated power to "…provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States…"

    And for quite some time, I have been pondering what exactly our founders meant by "general welfare"…

    James Madison is often considered to be the father of our Constitution; therefore, I could not think of a much better person to ask to interpret our Constitution then one of the authors themselves.

    After finding the above quote, I now feel as though I have gotten my answer. My suspicions were also confirmed: for the longest time, at least since The Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson presidencies, Congress has so over-reached, and intruded on the citizen's private lives, industry, and society; far more then our founders would ever have imagined, or likely condoned.

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  2. markross Post author

    There are so many things that can be drawn from the above quote…

    First of all, if government has that much say into our individual lives, and the choices we make, then the amount of power they can assume is "potentially" endless.

    Also, as we have seen in modern day politics: once the government realized they could win votes by offering the most gifts from The National Treasury, then many people will no longer vote for the most constitutionally-respecting, or responsible leaders, but rather the ones that will promise the most gifts or entitlements.

    This quote was also very prophetic, and has come to fruition… primary with, but not limited to, the modern day Democrat Party, and the twentieth century progressive movement.

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