James Monroe writes to Thomas Jefferson on State vs Federal Governments

Written May 4, 1801 The Writings of James Monroe. Edited by Stanislaus Murray Hamilton. 7 vols. New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1898–1903. There is a subject to which I wish to engage yr. particular attention. Before I came into this office I was of opinion that the correspondence between the Executive of…

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Thomas Jefferson on the General Welfare Clause

NOTE: In this letter to Albert Gallatin dated June 16, 1817, Thomas Jefferson discussed the General Welfare Clause after President Monroe had vetoed a bill for the improvement of the Cumberland Road. Monroe did not believe the work fell within the scope of the Clause. 

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James Madison: Speaking on the Bill of Rights and the 9th Amendment

On June 8, 1789, James Madison made a statement regarding the introduction of a Bill of Rights, along with the 9th Amendment, which reads: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people Here’s Madison, in his own words: It has been objected also…

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James Madison: Constitution’s Original Meaning Comes From the People

NOTE: In this letter to Thomas Ritchie on September 15, 1821, James Madison explains how to find the original meaning of the words in the Constitution. That is, through the understanding of those who gave it legal force in their respective state conventions. As a guide in expounding and applying the provisions of the Constitution,…

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Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Constitutionality of the Bill for Establishing a National Bank

Hamilton justified the bank by broadly construing the constitutional powers of Congress. Jefferson, however, rejected Hamilton’s argument by claiming that the ratified Constitution created a federal government that was strictly limited in its political and financial power.

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Notes on the Commerce Clause: Madison at the 1787 Convention

CONVENTION OF 1787. Farrand, Max, ed. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787.

The want of authy. in Congs. to regulate Commerce had produced in Foreign nations particularly G. B. a monopolizing policy injurious to the trade of the U. S. and destructive to their navigation; the imbecility and anticipated dissolution of the Confederacy extinguishg. all apprehensions of a Countervailing policy on the part of the U. States.

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