Friday, February 10, 2017

Alexander Hamilton: Traitor to the Constitution (Part II)

Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison authored a series of 85 essays called the federalist papers. Hamilton authored over 50 of the essays. The federalist papers are over 500 pages of documentation that explain the intent of the framers of the constitution. The federalist papers were cited in over 100 Supreme Court cases throughout history. The essays were published in newspapers trying to calm fears of those who opposed the federal government under the new constitution. Many feared the new government would be much more powerful than the state governments and certainly more so then the previous articles of confederation (as it was intended). The end goal of the essays was to help persuade New York to ratify the new constitution (and it worked). Below is a summary of conclusions drawn by a number of the federalist papers that will be referred to later in this paper:

Federalist 9 and 10: The federal government can use armies to thwart factions of radicals creating disturbance within the borders of the United States. Armies were not just for defending the United States from foreign countries but also internal enemies.

Federalist 28: State governments would act as a natural check on the national government and vice versa.

Federalist 32: State governments have the power to tax anything except imports and exports. But with the consent of Congress states can tax imports and exports.

Federalist 33: Hamilton cites the “necessary and proper” and “supremacy” clauses are only for carrying out tasks listed (enumerated or expressed) in the Constitution. Unjust laws can be resisted by the people.

Federalist 36: Since both state and federal governments have the right to tax, double taxes are possible but Hamilton felt governments would be prudent to avoid such things. Of course we know this is not true today: capital gains, income taxes, gas taxes, etc. (to name a few of many instances).

Federalist 40: Madison posts a narrow interpretation of the “general welfare” clause (mentioned in the preamble of the constitution) by claiming it applies only to listed or enumerated powers.

Federalist 44: Madison concurs with Hamilton’s narrow interpretation of the “necessary and proper” and “supremacy” clauses.

Federalist 45: Madison says “The powers delegated by the proposed constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite.”

Federalist 47: Madison explains that the goal of the federal government is to provide checks and balances against each branch to prevent one branch from becoming too strong (Madison believes this would prevent tyranny).

Federalist 48: Madison explains the legislative branch has most of the power in order to restrict the power of the executive branch.

Federalist 62: Hamilton insists the goal of the federal government is to limit laws and regulations that would hurt business ventures. Government wants to avoid passing laws made for the few and not the many.

Federalist 69: The executive branch cannot create new offices (not expressed in the constitution). See Federalist 70 below for more detail.

Federalist 70: There will be no executive council (cabinet). It is best to leave the power of the executive branch in the hands of one person.

Of course Washington would set the precedent of creating cabinet positions consisting of Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State and Alexander Hamilton as the Secretary of the Treasury to name a few. There are six cabinets that can be argued as being constitutional (powers enumerated in the constitution): commerce, defense, treasury, state, justice and maybe even the transportation department (the constitution does provide a provision for maintaining Post Office roads. However, several presidents up to the Civil War vetoed internal improvement bills on roads, harbors, and canals questioning the constitutionality of the laws). Today, a majority of cabinet offices should be ruled unconstitutional including: interior (1849), agriculture (1862), labor (1903), energy (1977), education (1953), housing and urban development (1965), environmental protection agency (1972) and health and human services (1953). If these were needed, then why did it take so long to implement them and why haven’t there been any amendments made to the constitution to enumerate these powers?

Federalist 78: Hamilton argues that the judiciary branch of government (Supreme Court) is by far the weakest branch of the government since they can only hand down rulings and they do not have the power to enforce those decisions. In other words, the judiciary needs the executive branch to carry out their rulings. Hamilton explains the main purpose of the Supreme Court is to prevent the legislative branch from exceeding its power. The court would declare laws in violation to the constitution null and void (unconstitutional). Unfortunately, it was never discussed in these papers as to what happens when the Supreme Court says laws are constitutional which obviously fail to protect the liberties of the people.

Federalist 81: The Supreme Court does not have unlimited power to carry out laws as they see fit.

Federalist 83: There is no trial by jury in the constitution since each state has varying and unique interpretations on the subject such as some states allow trial by jury for criminal cases but not for civil ones and vice versa. This issued was settled by compromise and added by amendment to the bill of rights.

Federalist 84: A bill of rights is not needed for the constitution since many individual and state rights are built into the constitution such as not allowing a suspension of a writ of habeas corpus. Besides, Hamilton argues that by adding a bill of rights “they would contain various exceptions to powers not granted”. “Why declare that things shall not be done which is no power to do?”

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