Friday, February 17, 2017

Alexander Hamilton: Traitor to the Constitution (Part IV)

Hamilton would also argue that the “general welfare” clause in the constitution’s preamble also gives the federal government the power to erect a national bank – citing the bank was necessary for the “general welfare” of the citizens of the United States. Hamilton says as long as the national bank is “general” and not “local” in that it will help every citizen equally, it is constitutional under the “general welfare” clause. Jefferson argued that a national bank is good for the “general welfare” of the federal government, but not good for the United States citizens as a whole (except for those businessmen holding stock in the bank – federalist paper 62). See federalist paper 40 for Madison’s view of the “general welfare” clause and how it has expanded in Hamilton’s view.

Hamilton argues that a national bank will help regulate interstate commerce. Jefferson refutes that argument by claiming the creation of the national bank would create the interstate commerce it was designed to regulate. Jefferson also says the national commerce created by the national bank would be void because it would create as much interstate commerce as intrastate commerce. Hamilton would of course refute these points as well as contend that a national bank would also protect the “property” of United States citizens. By helping to collect taxes, those monies can be used to provide for the general defense of the United States. Jefferson says that the United States has been collecting taxes for centuries without a national bank.

In 1819, the Supreme Court case between Maryland v. McCulloch, the Court ruled unanimously that the national bank was constitutional and that States could not levy a tax against the national bank. The court ruled that the federal government had “implied” powers not outlined or expressed in the constitution citing both the “necessary and proper” and “supremacy” clauses. Hamilton and his arguments were vindicated, but at what cost? This ruling set the stage for using the “necessary and proper” clause by the federal government for everything it sees fit. This has led to the main problem we see today: the federal government is too big because of the never ending expansion of the federal government (see federalist papers 69 and 70 as examples). For instance, Maryland v. McCulloch has been cited over 50 times in cases involving issues such as legal tender. This ruling obliterated the views held in federalist papers 32, 36, 47, 48, 78, and 81.

Hamilton’s whiskey tax stirred up a whiskey rebellion in western Pennsylvania. President George Washington himself led an army to squash the rebellion. Federalist papers 9 and 10 support this type of view (suppressing what Hamilton perceives are “radical” factions), but it violates everything that is written in the bill of rights such freedom of speech. Maybe this is why Hamilton was opposed to a bill of rights in federalist paper 84. After all, Washington’s actions would be less controversial if there was no bill of rights.

In 1798 then President, John Adams, passed through Congress the “Aliens and Seditions” act. The law enabled the federal government to convict anyone who had opposing views to the President. The laws also allowed the government to deport immigrants and made it harder for immigrants to vote. Hundreds upon thousands were deported (no due process) or put in prison including those working for newspapers (a violation of most amendments in the bill of rights). Hamilton, who was no longer working in the government, had sent letters to friends indicating that he felt these laws were constitutional probably based on his anti-France / pro-England views as well as his opinion held in federalist paper 9 allowing the suppression of what he perceives are “radical” factions (it is obvious what Hamilton views as “radical” is very much different than what Jefferson would consider “radical” based on his war monger beliefs). Of course Jefferson and James Madison wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions condemning these laws as well as citing all amendments and provisions of the constitution that the law violates. Jefferson would rightly denounce how liberally the “necessary and proper” clause (federalist paper 33 and 44) is being applied making the power of the federal government infinite. Again, this may explain why Hamilton did not want a bill of rights (federalist paper 84) but probably insisted upon a “necessary and proper” and “supremacy” clause.

In 1832, then President Andrew Jackson started a war on the 2nd National Bank created in 1816 (established after Hamilton’s 1st National Bank charter expired after 20 years). Jackson distrusted banks and worried about the influence of money in politics. He moved all deposits from the national bank to “pet banks” and vetoed the bill to charter the 3rd National Bank and its charter expired in 1936. Jackson won the battle. During the battle, President of the National Bank, Nicolas Biddle, showed the dangers of the national bank by disrupting the economy in an attempt to prove the necessity of the bank. Jefferson was vindicated: Jackson’s victory proved that a national bank was powerful and could disrupt the economy, but at the same time it was not necessary to carry out any of the enumerated powers of the constitution. However, the damage had been done: Hamilton and the Supreme Court changed the meaning of the constitution’s “necessary and proper” clause and the interpretation of the federalist papers to mean anything a corrupt politician wants. The constitution was moved from a rigid document to one that is elastic in meaning. Hamilton deceived the people of New York and the people at the constitutional convention.

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