The lies of our Socialists running for office will now take center stage

The ABA’s big lie: Hamilton and Madison expressed different views during the framing and ratification debates regarding the general welfare clause.

No. We need to address what the ABA asserted in THE GENERAL WELFARE CLAUSE: THE HAMILTONIAN AND MADISONIAN VIEWS The article begins:

The United States Supreme Court’s Decision in the Hoosac Mills Corporation Case, Reviewed Elsewhere in This Issue, Brings a Long Historic Argument to an End by the Explicit Adoption of the Hamiltonian View.

That is a big fat lie! The Court in Butler made no attempt whatsoever to evaluate the constitutional meaning of the general welfare clause as it was explained by Madison and Hamilton during the framing and ratification of our Constitution, and bring to an end this Long Historic Argument. In fact, the Court made its non intervention explicitly clear when it stated:

“We are not now required to ascertain the scope of the phrase ‘general welfare of the United States’ or to determine whether an appropriation in aid of agriculture falls within it. Wholly apart from that question, another principle embedded in our Constitution prohibits the enforcement of the Agricultural adjustment Act. The act invades the reserved rights of the states. It is a statutory plan to regulate and control agricultural production, a matter beyond the powers delegated to the federal government. The tax, the appropriation of the funds raised, and the direction for their disbursement, are but parts of the plan. They are but means to an unconstitutional end.”

Contrary to the crap asserted by the ABA, the Court in US v. Butler never took on the task of determining the meaning of “general welfare”, nor did the Court bring to an end the “ Long Historic Argument” between Hamilton and Madison with reference to the “general welfare” clause. The ABA simply made this crap up, just like MSNBC makes crap up all the time.

In regard to the meaning of the general welfare clause as stated by Hamilton and Madison during the framing and ratification debates, the Court in Butler stated the following:

"Each contention has had the support of those whose views are entitled to weight. This court has noticed the question, but has never found it necessary to decide which is the true construction."

So, the truth is, contrary to what the ABA has led you to believe and perpetuate, the Court did not find it “necessary to decide which is the true construction”.

It is also a myth that Hamilton and Madison expressed different views during the framing and ratification debates regarding the general welfare clause. . . a myth you and the ABA continue to perpetuate.

Let us review the historical facts, which the American Bar Association apparently finds uncomfortable to admit and divulge…

In Federalist No. 83, which was written to explain the meaning of the Constitution during the ratification debates, Hamilton, and in crystal clear language, refers to a “specification of particulars” which he goes on to say “evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority “. This same view, as expressed by Hamilton in Federalist 83, is in total harmony with what Madison states in Federalist Paper No. 41:

"It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes…to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and the 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. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor [the anti-federalists] for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction…But what color can this objection have, when a specification of the object alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not ever separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?..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.” ?

So, as the historical record establishes, there was no conflict about the meaning of “general welfare” between Hamilton and Madison during the framing and ratification debates! Both Hamilton and Madison assured the Anti-Federalist that the phrase “general welfare”, as it appears in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1, was specifically limited to a “specification of particulars” which appears beneath Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1.

JWK

Elizabeth Warren’s Government sponsored capitalism is about fattening the fortunes of those holding political power with tax revenue, while regulating a free market, free enterprise system into submission, and then into extinction.

I think you are misunderstanding what was written in Butler.
When the court said, “We are not now required to ascertain the scope of the phrase ‘general welfare of the United States’ or to determine whether an appropriation in aid of agriculture falls within it.” my understanding is that they are saying they don’t have to decide if Agricultural act benefits the “general welfare”. There is much before that part that discusses whether the clause is specifically limited to the powers found below it in section 8:

Mr. Justice Story, in his Commentaries, espouses the Hamiltonian position… Study of all these leads us to conclude that the reading advocated by Mr. Justice Story is the correct one. While, therefore, the power to tax is not unlimited, its confines are set in the clause which confers it, and not in those of § 8 which bestow and define the legislative powers of the Congress. It results that the power of Congress to authorize expenditure of public moneys for public purposes is not limited by the direct grants of legislative power found in the Constitution.

Butler essentially settles that Congresses power to promote the general welfare is not limited by the grants of power below it but is limited by the clause itself in the sense that it may only do so through taxation and the appropriation of those monies and that the welfare must be general and not local.

Helvering v. Davis recognizes this and unlike Butler where the court decided not to evaluate if the Agricultural Act promoted the general welfare because they felt it already was unconstitutional because it violated the 10th Amendment, the court laid out why the SSA did promote the general welfare.

So it is settled. Your accusations of Cordozo lying are unfounded just like your accusations of the ABA being socialist.

The ABA Myth: Hamilton vs Madison on general welfare

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So, according to you Justice Roberts did no mean what he said when he wrote: “We are not now required to ascertain the scope of the phrase ‘general welfare of the United States’ or to determine whether an appropriation in aid of agriculture falls within it.”

I suppose he also didn’t mean the following when he continued with:

Wholly apart from that question, another principle embedded in our Constitution prohibits the enforcement of the Agricultural adjustment Act. The act invades the reserved rights of the states. It is a statutory plan to regulate and control agricultural production, a matter beyond the powers delegated to the federal government. The tax, the appropriation of the funds raised, and the direction for their disbursement, are but parts of the plan. They are but means to an unconstitutional end.

From the accepted doctrine that the United States is a government of delegated powers, it follows that those not expressly granted, or reasonably to be implied from such as are conferred, are reserved to the states or to the people. To forestall any suggestion to the contrary, the Tenth Amendment was adopted. 18 The same proposition, otherwise stated, is that powers not granted are prohibited. None to regulate agricultural production is given, and therefore legislation by Congress for that purpose is forbidden.

The fact is, Justice Roberts did not, and specifically stated the Court was not, attempting to "…ascertain the scope of the phrase ‘general welfare of the United States’ or to determine whether an appropriation in aid of agriculture falls within it."” Did you read that part about not attempting to ascertain the “scope” of the general welfare of the United States?

So, your assertion that the meaning of the general welfare clause has been “settled” by the Supreme Court is not only without foundation, your assertion is specifically contradicted and rejected by Justice Roberts’ own words.

And as to the propaganda put out by the American Bar Association, “THE GENERAL WELFARE CLAUSE: THE HAMILTONIAN AND MADISONIAN VIEWS”, it perpetuates a myth that Madison and Hamilton expressed different “views” concerning the scope of the general welfare clause during the framing and ratification debates.

So, what exactly were the views of Madison and Hamilton with regard to the scope of the general welfare clause during the framing and ratification debates?

In Federalist No. 83, which was written to explain the meaning of the Constitution during the ratification debates, Hamilton, and in crystal clear language, refers to a “specification of particulars” which he goes on to say “evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority “.

The above view, expressed by Hamilton in Federalist 83, is in total harmony with what Madison states in Federalist Paper No. 41:

"It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes…to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and the 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. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor [the anti-federalists] for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction…But what color can this objection have, when a specification of the object alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not ever separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?. 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.” ?

So, as the historical record establishes, there was no conflict about the meaning or scope of the general welfare clause between Hamilton and Madison during the framing and ratification debates! Both Hamilton and Madison assured the Anti-Federalist that the phrase “general welfare”, as it appears in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1, was specifically limited to a “specification of particulars” which appears beneath Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1.

And this brings us to the question which the American Bar Association refuses to address. If the Anti-Federalists, during the framing and ratification of our Constitution feared the general welfare clause would lead to an unlimited grant of legislative power, which they did, and the Federalists, Hamilton and Madison, both assured the general welfare clause was intended to be limited to a “specification of particulars” which appears beneath the Clause, how can one honestly arrive at the conclusion the general welfare clause was intended to grant a general legislative authority to Congress ___ a general legislative authority so broad in scope that "healthcare would fall under the general welfare clause", as you assert?

JWK

Elizabeth Warren wants elderly American citizens, who paid into Medicare all their lives, to surrender their healthcare to the millions of foreigners who have invaded America’s borders.

No, according to me (and most legal texts) he didn’t mean what you think he meant. The preceding texts in the court’s opinion hold that the Hamilton/Story reading of the general welfare clause is the “correct one”. If your interpretation of what Roberts wrote was correct, would that not make the preceding texts completely pointless?

The scope he is referring to is not whether or not the phrase is limited or not limited by the clauses that are listed below it, but what sort of actions it covers in general.

No, he meant that too… its the reason they didn’t bother to see if the AAA was Constitutional under the welfare clause.

You’ll have to take that up with the ABA.

So, you really believe the Court did not mean what it wrote, and instead of you focusing on what the court was actually ruling on, you embrace “dicta”, and ignore the Court emphasized it was not determining the scope of the general welfare clause. Well, there you have it folks. The facts are irrelevant when presented.

I still would like to know how you arrive at your conclusion that "healthcare would fall under the general welfare clause". And especially when the Court in Butler specially struck down the Agricultural Adjustment Act because it attempted to regulate and control agricultural production, an area reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment. Have you forgotten what powers are reserved by the States as summarized in Federalist Number 45?

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.

The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

JWK

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.___ Tenth Amendment

Yes, we see that you completely ignored the facts that the court agreed with Story and the Hamiltonian view of the general welfare clause and completely misunderstood their meaning when they talk about the scope as it relates to the AAA.

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That is a total fabrication on your part and highly offensive. The truth is, I specifically addressed the obiter dictum expressed in Butler. I explained:

Had the Court actually made an attempt to “…ascertain the scope of the phrase ‘general welfare of the United States,’” as understood during the framing and ratification of our Constitution, it would have found there was no conflict between Hamilton and Madison with regard to the general welfare clause! And to substantiate my claim, I quoted the Federalist Papers.

In Federalist No. 83, which was written to explain the meaning of the Constitution during the ratification debates, Hamilton, and in crystal clear language, refers to a “specification of particulars” which he goes on to say “evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority “. This same view, as expressed by Hamilton in Federalist 83, is in total harmony with what Madison states in Federalist Paper No. 41:

"It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes…to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and the 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. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor [the anti-federalists] for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction…But what color can this objection have, when a specification of the object alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not ever separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?..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”?

So, as the historical record establishes, there was no conflict about the meaning or scope of the general welfare clause between Hamilton and Madison during the framing and ratification debates! Both Hamilton and Madison assured the Anti-Federalist that the phrase “general welfare”, as it appears in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1, was specifically limited to a “specification of particulars” which appears beneath Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1.

And this brings us to the following question. If the Anti-Federalists, during the framing and ratification of our Constitution feared the general welfare clause would lead to an unlimited grant of legislative power, which they did, and the Federalists, Hamilton and Madison, both assured the general welfare clause was intended to be limited to a “specification of particulars” which appears beneath the Clause, how can one honestly arrive at the conclusion the general welfare clause was intended to grant a general legislative authority to Congress ?

JWK


The whole aim of construction, as applied to a provision of the Constitution, is to discover the meaning, to ascertain and give effect to the intent of its framers and the people who adopted it.
_____HOME BLDG. & LOAN ASSOCIATION v. BLAISDELL, 290 U.S. 398 (1934)

So, you believe all lies are the same?

No… I really believe you don’t understand what the court meant when they wrote that.
Yes, the dictum of Butler influenced the decision in Helvering and now its precedent.

Then I suggest you go back and read the posts where I explained it.

Obiter dictum is not precedent setting. You have no idea what you are talking about. The Court did not rule on the scope of the general welfare clause in Butler and stated this in crystal clear language:

“We are not now required to ascertain the scope of the phrase ‘general welfare of the United States’ or to determine whether an appropriation in aid of agriculture falls within it.”

And in Helvering the Court refused to review the historical record to determine the scope of the general welfare clause as understood during the framing and ratification debates.

If the Anti-Federalists, during the framing and ratification of our Constitution feared the general welfare clause would lead to an unlimited grant of legislative power, which they did, and the Federalists, Hamilton and Madison, both assured the general welfare clause was intended to be limited to a “specification of particulars” which appears beneath the Clause, how can one honestly arrive at the conclusion the general welfare clause was intended to grant a general legislative authority to Congress and assume control over the people’s healthcare in the various states?

Have you forgotten the Butler decision struck down an attempt by the federal government to enter the States and regulate a subject matter retained by the States under the 10th Amendment?

JWK

The whole aim of construction, as applied to a provision of the Constitution, is to discover the meaning, to ascertain and give effect to the intent of its framers and the people who adopted it._____HOME BLDG. & LOAN ASSOCIATION v. BLAISDELL, 290 U.S. 398 (1934)

I’m neither a lawyer nor a scholar, so I’m learning things as I go along. It seems that this is judicial dictum which has greater weight then obiter dictum. It seems this is rather settled considering a lack of academic and legal texts challenging Helvering for being influenced by Butler.

As someone not prone to believing in conspiracy theories, I tend to accept majority opinion of experts within these fields… for example believing that homosexuality is not a choice, that the earth is round, that vaccines don’t cause autism, that global warming is being accelerated by the actions of humans, and that Nickelback is a terrible band.

The consensus on this issue appears to be that the SSA is constitutional in regards to the general welfare clause and the clause is not limited by the enumerated powers that follow it. While its interesting to go back and forth examining how we got to this point, its pointless to expect me or anyone arguing that we should have universal healthcare to justify its constitutionality based on the constitutional interpretation you believe to be valid instead of on the actual juridical precedent that forms our current legal reality.

Based on current legal precedent and not on your opinion, I believe a universal healthcare law written in such a way that it doesn’t conflict with the 10th Amendment (see, I haven’t forgotten it) would be constitutionally sound. On the other hand, if we lived in an alternative reality where the SSA was struct down as unconstitutional on the basis that it violated the general welfare clause and that said welfare clause was held to be limited by enumerated powers granted to Congress, then no, universal healthcare would not be possible. Fortunately for social democrats like me, the former is reality.

When I first saw your post I really thought, for a nanosecond, you were about to actually engage in a sincere dialogue concerning the general welfare clause and its meaning as understood during the framing and ratification of our Constitution. But I immediately realized I was mistaken when observing your latest deflection, obfuscation and misdirection to a fundamental question never addressed in Butler , and refused to be answered by Cardozo in Helvering :

If the Anti-Federalists, during the framing and ratification of our Constitution feared the general welfare clause would lead to an unlimited grant of legislative power, which they did, and the Federalists, Hamilton and Madison, both assured the general welfare clause was intended to be limited to a “specification of particulars” which appears beneath the Clause, how can one honestly arrive at the conclusion the general welfare clause was intended to grant a general legislative authority to Congress?

JWK

"In construing the Constitution we are compelled to give it such interpretation as will secure the result intended to be accomplished by those who framed it and the people who adopted it…A construction which would give the phrase…a meaning differing from the sense in which it was understood and employed by the people when they adopted the Constitution, would be as unconstitutional as a departure from the plain and express language of the Constitution." ___ Senate Report No. 21, 42nd Cong. 2d Session 2 (1872), reprinted in Alfred Avins, The Reconstruction Amendments’ Debates 571 (1967),

Why do you lash out at me and accuse me of “deflection, obfuscation and misdirection” simply because I choose to justify my opinion on the constitutionality of a potential universal healthcare program on judicial precedent?

Lash out? To be frank and answer your question, I merely stated a self-evident observation. Instead of actually engaging in a sincere dialogue concerning the general welfare clause and its meaning as understood during the framing and ratification of our Constitution, and answering a fundamental question I asked, you deflected, obfuscated and misdirected and rambled on about “conspiracy theories”, “homosexuality”, “global warming”, and were proud to announce you are a “social democrat”___ none of which was relevant to my question.

Perhaps in your eagerness to vent your personal feelings as you did, you merely forgot to answer the question I presented. And so, I will present the question once again.

If the Anti-Federalists, during the framing and ratification of our Constitution feared the general welfare clause would lead to an unlimited grant of legislative power, which they did, and the Federalists, Hamilton and Madison, both assured the general welfare clause was intended to be limited to a “specification of particulars” which appears beneath the Clause, how can one honestly arrive at the conclusion the general welfare clause was intended to grant a general legislative authority to Congress?

JWK

“We are not now required to ascertain the scope of the phrase ‘general welfare of the United States’ or to determine whether an appropriation in aid of agriculture falls within it.” ___ Justice Roberts, United States v. Butler, 297 U.S. 1 (1936)

He doesn’t mention welfare. “General Welfare of the United States” is more specific than “general legislative authority”. Could general welfare not be one of the “certain enumerated cases”?

In reading the paper, it seems crystal clear to me Hamilton’s reference to a “specification of particulars” would limit a general grant of power to what is enumerated beneath .

In fact, Hamilton in this paper states a fundamental principle which is then applied. Hamilton states:

The plan of the convention declares that the power of Congress, or, in other words, of the NATIONAL LEGISLATURE, shall extend to certain enumerated cases. This specification of particulars evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd, as well as useless, if a general authority was intended.

Hamilton then goes on to apply the principle with an example:

"In like manner the judicial authority of the federal judicatures is declared by the Constitution to comprehend certain cases particularly specified. The expression of those cases marks the precise limits, beyond which the federal courts cannot extend their jurisdiction, because the objects of their cognizance being enumerated, the specification would be nugatory if it did not exclude all ideas of more extensive authority."

Likewise, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 is immediately followed by "certain cases particularly specified" , and the "specification would be nugatory if it did not exclude all ideas of more extensive authority."

But the question remains: If the Anti-Federalists, during the framing and ratification of our Constitution feared the general welfare clause could lead to an unlimited grant of legislative power, which they did, and the Federalists assured the Anti-Federalists the Constitution was not intended as such, nor intended to allow the federal government to intrude upon the internal affairs of the states and exercise power over the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State, how can one honestly arrive at the conclusion the general welfare clause allows the very action feared by Anti-Federalists, which the Federalist assured was not intended?

JWK

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.___ Tenth Amendment

But that assumes the “general welfare of the United States” is a general grant of power and not one of the enumerated powers. “General welfare” isn’t carte blanche to spend on whatever, it has to be for the welfare and not local welfare, but the general welfare of the whole country.

Would it be unreasonable to assume that at the time of the ratification there were people in both camps in regards to whether or not the clause was an enumerated power vs a meaningless preface before the enumerated powers?
And here’s another thought… what if some of the federalists were being disingenuous when they “assured the Anti-Federalists the Constitution was not intended as such”? After all, they were trying to convince them to ratify the Constitution? It would seem that at the time of the ratification not all the anti-feds were convinced since they did end up adding the 10th Amendment. Of course since they can only control themselves, its hard for the states to act for the general welfare of the US, so a truly “general welfare” based act is going to be in the power of the national and not state legislature.

I appreciate your opinions with respect to the meaning of the general welfare clause, but you offer little, if anything, from the framing and ratification debates to substantiate your opinion and interpretation of the clause.

Let us keep in mind what was said by others, in addition to Hamilton, regarding the meaning of “general welfare” as stated during the framing and ratification debates. Should we not make a sincere attempt to discover the meaning of the general welfare clause as understood during the framing and ratification debates?

Madison states in Federalist Paper No. 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.

The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

And, in No. 41 Federalist, Madison, goes on to explain the meaning of “general welfare” to the Anti-Federalists as follows:

"It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes…to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and the 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. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor [the anti-federalists] for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction…But what color can this objection have, when a specification of the object alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not ever separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?..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…But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning…is an absurdity.”

Additionally, in the Virginia ratification Convention Madison again explains the limited meaning of the phrase “general welfare” as follows: “… the powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.” [3 Elliots 95]

Also see Nicholas, 3 Elliot 443 regarding the general welfare clause, which he pointed out “was united, not to the general power of legislation, but to the particular power of laying and collecting taxes…”

Similarly, George Mason, in the Virginia ratification Convention cautions the convention:

“The Congress should have power to provide for the general welfare of the Union, I grant. But I wish a clause in the Constitution, with respect to all powers which are not granted, that they are retained by the states. Otherwise the power of providing for the general welfare may be perverted to its destruction.”. [3 Elliots 442]

For this very reason the Tenth Amendment was quickly ratified to intentionally put to rest any question whatsoever regarding the meaning of the general welfare clause, and thereby cut off the pretext to allow Congress, or the Courts, to extended the federal government’s powers via the wording provide for the “general welfare“.

It must also be noted why 12 Amendments, which includes the Tenth Amendment, were sent to the states for ratification.

In answer to this question we find the answer in the Resolution of the First Congress Submitting Twelve Amendments to the Constitution; March 4, 1789

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added .

And Madison, speaking on the very issue regarding these amendments to the Constitution indicates they were to preserve and protect “federalism” our Constitution’s plan, which reserves to the States all powers not delegated to Congress. He says:

“It cannot be a secret to the gentlemen in this House, that, notwithstanding the ratification of this system of Government by eleven of the thirteen United States, in some cases unanimously, in others by large majorities; yet still there is a great number of our constituents who are dissatisfied with it; among whom are many respectable for their talents and patriotism, and respectable for the jealousy they have for their liberty, which, though mistaken in its object, is laudable in its motive. There is a great body of the people falling under this description, who at present feel much inclined to join their support to the cause of Federalism” ___See :Madison, June 8th, 1789, Amendments to the Constitution

The bottom line is, the first ten amendments were adopted as a written protection to intentionally keep the freaken federal government’s nose out of the State’s internal affairs. And, as previously documented, those affairs include “… the power over the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State,”

JWK

“If the Constitution was ratified under the belief, sedulously propagated on all sides that such protection was afforded, would it not now be a fraud upon the whole people to give a different construction to its powers”?__ Justice Story

What I’m getting from all this is that there was enough of a concern that the general welfare clause was too open ended and that the states wanted the Bill of Rights to provide them additional protections. Were it common conception that the use of the term “general welfare” was without meaning and that the Congressional powers were limited by the remaining clauses in that article, then wouldn’t the anti-federalists not be concerned and not feel a need to further limit the powers of Congress?

I’ve been reading Story’s commentaries on the constitution, specifically the parts regarding the general welfare. I’m assuming since he took the Hamiltonian view as being the winner that you don’t agree with him. What do you think about what he wrote?

Well, to answer your latest question, I believe the Anti-Federalists were simply following what was later summarized by Thomas Jefferson:

"In matters of power let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson’s Fair Copy of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798

As I documented in my previous post, the Federalists, during the framing and ratification debates of our Constitution, assured the Anti-Federalist the meaning of general welfare, as found in the Constitution, was limited to a list of particulars found beneath Article 1 Section 8, Clause 1.

But in spite of such assurances as to its meaning, and its legislative intent, George Mason, in the Virginia Ratification Convention cautioned:

“The Congress should have power to provide for the general welfare of the Union, I grant. But I wish a clause in the Constitution, with respect to all powers which are not granted, that they are retained by the states. Otherwise the power of providing for the general welfare may be perverted to its destruction.”. [3 Elliots 442]

For this very reason the Tenth Amendment was quickly ratified to intentionally put to rest any question whatsoever regarding the meaning of the general welfare clause, and thereby cut off the pretext to allow Congress, or the Courts, to extended the federal government’s powers via the wording provide for the “general welfare“.

JWK

We are here today and gone tomorrow, but what is most important is what we do in-between, and is what our children will inherit and remember us by.