NOTES ON THE CONSTITUTION

by Doug Fiedor

As the federal government goes about its unassigned function of regulating every aspect of the life, liberty and property of American citizens, we sometimes point to the Bill of Rights for protection. So, herein we excerpt a passage from The Federalist Papers #84, written by Alexander Hamilton.

This excerpt is worth reading, and studying. It tells the forgotten story of the American Rule of Law. And it also points out that it is time We the People have a little job description discussion with our servants in government.

"I go further and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights."






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