Monday, February 9, 2009

General Welfare

I, sir, have always conceived – I believe those who proposed the Constitution conceived, and it is still more fully known, and more material to observe that those who ratified the Constitution conceived – that this is not an indefinite Government, deriving its powers from the general terms prefixed to the specified powers, but a limited Government, tied down to the specified powers which explain and define the general terms. The gentlemen who contend for a contrary doctrine are surely not aware of the consequences which flow from it, and which they must either admit or give up the doctrine.
James Madison, Congressional Debate regarding “bounties” for cod fisherman, 1792.

But what did he know?

2 comments:

Beth said...

Such a fabulous quote. Where are such statesmen today?

LB said...

Sadly, I know only where they are not.