In one of the many arguments Thomas Jefferson had with Alexander Hamilton in the first administration of the newly found republic, under President George Washington, Jefferson used these words to describe why Hamilton’s plan for a federal bank under private management was a bad and unconstitutional idea:
“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground”: that “all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.”…
Jefferson went on to argue: “The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill, have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution. They are not among the powers specially enumerated…” “If such latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to every one, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or another.” Simply stated; Ignore the enumerated powers and there are no enumerated powers, the sky is the limit to expanded federal government.
This is the foundation of the “implied powers” argument used throughout history to ignore the true intent of the constitution.
How prophetic Jefferson was, and how we see over the years the federal government’s quest for power has given us a government that Hamilton always wanted, a government of an elite class of men with the power over the common man. My words, not his; his sentiment, not mine.
Jefferson fought desperately to stop what today is the Federal Reserve System. If Jefferson were alive today he would want to end the fed. Giving up the federal treasury to be run by “independent and private” interests in his eyes was a recipe for disaster. And the disaster is now upon us.
Jefferson accused Hamilton of “excluding popular understanding and inquiry.” He argued the system of banking and credit devised by Hamilton was so confusing no man including the “president or congress should be able to understand it, or control it.” Which he believed gave Hamilton a scheme to enrich himself and his cohorts within the system Hamilton devised.
These arguments between the two founders were the foundation of a two party system. Not the one we have today but it put people in two “camps”; federalists and republicans with a small r. The Republican Party of yesterday is in modern times what became the Democratic Party. The federalists were the big central government supporters that had the rich, wealthy, and British sympathizers behind it.
How times change but one thing remains true; the principles of our constitution are the key to our recovery and a prosperous future. If we listen and learn about our history and great men like Thomas Jefferson we can consider the paths ahead by using the great understanding that he had of government, to build our future.
He loved the constitution and it was he and Madison that promised the Bill of Rights to encourage the states to ratify our Constitution. It is time to revisit our constitution and our Tenth Amendment in particular. That is, if we want a prosperous future and one that restrains the federal government from intruding on out state and individual rights.
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