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Jefferson and Madison on "the general welfare"

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  • MikeAMina@aol.com
    Madison on the general welfare : In his last act before leaving office, Madison vetoed a bill for internal improvements, including roads, bridges, and
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2005
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      Madison on "the general welfare":

      In his last act before leaving office, Madison vetoed a bill for "internal improvements," including roads, bridges, and canals:

          "Having considered the bill...I am constrained by the insuperable difficulty I feel in reconciling this bill with the Constitution of the United States...The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified...in the...Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers..."

      Madison rejected the view of Congress that the General Welfare Clause justified the bill, stating:

          "Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them, the terms 'common defense and general welfare' embracing every object and act within the purview of a legislative trust."

      ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Madison )

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      Madison on "the general welfare":

      Federalist No. 41 - "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?"

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      Jefferson on "the general welfare":

      Whereas, our tenet ever was...that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated; and that, as it was never meant they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money.

      ( http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/print_documents/a1_8_1s25.html )
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