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  1. #17  
    Senior Member Constitutionally Speaking's Avatar
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    May 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by The Night Owl View Post
    Fail. The US Constitution contains two clauses pertaining to the general Welfare. You provided one. Here is the 2nd:

    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;

    Provide for the common Defence and general Welfare. Like you said, there is nothing ambiguous about that.


    I would say YOU failed - at least in the eyes of the AUTHOR of the Constitution.

    ABSOLUTELY ridiculous.

    Go read Federalist #41 - James Madison (the main author of the Constitution) was OUTRAGED that anyone would interpret this in the way you proclaim.

    Some, who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,’’ amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare.
    Pretty much what the left and you are arguing today.

    No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.
    He proclaimed such things as dispicable and anyone STOOPING so low proved just how desperate those who argue against the Constitution by implying the "general welfare" wording in such a way were.

    James Madison continues:

    A power to de- stroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms “to raise money for the general welfare. ‘’But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?
    He is stating that ALL of the powers of congress are specifically listed, and to include General welfare as such a power would be the power to destroy the press, trial by jury etc., would literally give the government any power it desired - all they had to do was to couch it in the terms "for the general welfare".

    But because of the way it is written, Madison argued, no well meaning person would argue that the Constitution could be interpreted that way
    He said: (picking up part of the earlier quote for clarity)

    But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions
    be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.

    The author of the Constitution itself would beg to differ.

    Here is Federalist #41 in it's entirety. The parts I excerpted begin on page 185 (left column)

    All replies to this post should go to the new topic that I started here:

    Last edited by Constitutionally Speaking; 12-14-2010 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Replies should go to the link on this new topic
    I long for the days when our President actually liked our country.
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