Thread: Was the US Constitution Written to be a Source of Power or Instrument of Limitation?

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  1. #1 Was the US Constitution Written to be a Source of Power or Instrument of Limitation? 
    An Adversary of Linda #'s
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    What do you think? A short (but not so simple) question re: the US Constitution

    Was the US Constitution Written to be a Source of Power or an Instrument of Limitation?

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    Both. The Whig background of all the Founders was that they needed an instrument of power for government to do the things that government was supposed to do: negotiate treaties, collect (reasonable) taxes, muster armies, deal with Indians.
    In the Whig understanding, government was to have the power to do these things as vested in the legislature. But the Constitution was also to carefully stipulate the limits of those powers, and the exercise thereof.

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    Seems pretty obvious, a source of limitation (although a better word could be restriction or constraint). It works from the assumption of given individual rights, and it basically constrains how authoritative bodies can work, under what circumstances, while not unnecessarily infringing on innate individual rights
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    It's not simply a source of the Federal government's power, it's the only source of the Federal government's power. So, in areas where the Constitution explicitly (or, in some very limited circumstances, implicitly) authorizes the Federal government to act, it is a source of power. In areas where the Constitution does not authorize the Federal government to act, this lack of authorization serves as a limitation of power. Finally, of course, there are some provisions (i.e., the First Amendment) which are explicit limitations on the power of the Federal government.
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    Good point LS. From it comes from the individual, it is a source of power, in that he has legislative power through his representatives, versus, what it was coming from where the individual had now power. The amendments that others mentioned should be removed, where added through the will of the people. Power, that isnít vested in dictatorships, for example...
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    I oppose the direct election of senators. But it's in there and we have to deal with it. I doubt you will ever get it repealed.
    Making the argument of why we need senators to represent STATES and not "the people" is damn near impossible.
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    Both. It was a Constitution that gave the government limited and enumerated powers, but also outlined that the people and the States would retain their natural rights; thus curtailing government power and authority.
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    It was a limited transfer of power.
    The source of the power was the People, via the States. The Constitution does not create any powers, it simply gives the federal government authority to exercise some of the powers originally held by the States, collectively and on their behalf.

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    Of limitation for the following reasons:
    The complaint against the English King was he exceeded his just power. No one wanted a tyranny of the many instead of the few or one.
    The moral philosophy of the times. What was not allowed was forbidden. Hence powers not granted to the central government did not accrue to it by default.
    Governments have always been able to increase power but never accept limitations willingly
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  2. #2  
    Super Moderator Constitutionally Speaking's Avatar
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    The main body of the Constitution spells out the powers of the Federal Govt. and the Bill of rights spells out the limits.
    I long for the days when our President actually liked our country.
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  3. #3  
    An Adversary of Linda #'s
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    Quote Originally Posted by Constitutionally Speaking View Post
    The main body of the Constitution spells out the powers of the Federal Govt. and the Bill of rights spells out the limits.
    "The main body of the Constitution spells out the powers of the Federal Govt"
    Power that was Granted to it by the states and it is under constant assault by the Federals for more power !
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  4. #4  
    CU's Tallest Midget! PoliCon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by megimoo View Post
    "The main body of the Constitution spells out the powers of the Federal Govt"
    Power that was Granted to it by the states and it is under constant assault by the Federals for more power !
    The governments power comes not from the states - but from the people - THROUGH the states. Any power they have is because WE THE PEOPLE gave it to them. Personally - I want a lot of those powers back.
    Stand up for what is right, even if you have to stand alone.
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  5. #5  
    An Adversary of Linda #'s
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoliCon View Post
    The governments power comes not from the states - but from the people - THROUGH the states. Any power they have is because WE THE PEOPLE gave it to them. Personally - I want a lot of those powers back.
    True that .The states represent the people in their elected officials.The direct election of senators by popular vote should be abolished !It is at best redundant and adds another layer of corruption to the Washington power pool !
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