Enumerated Versus Assumed Powers

“For who are a free people? Not those, over whom government is reasonably and equitably exercised, but those, who live under a government so constitutionally checked and controuled, that proper provision is made against its being otherwise exercised.” —John Dickinson, Letters From a Farmer in Pennsylvania (1768).

9 Comments

  1. Is today Quotation Day? I’ve got one.

    “A peaceful mind is naturally cool.”

    (Author unknown. My perfect translation. ^_^)

    It’s hot outside.

  2. I recommend that anyone interested in this matter of high current interest check out Pauline Maier’s excellent history of the debate over the ratification of the Constitution. http://www.amazon.com/Ratification-People-Debate-Constitution-1787-1788/dp/0684868555/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341701079&sr=1-1&keywords=pauline+maier+ratification

    In a nutshell, everything that we have seen come to pass was anticipated by many of the people who participated in the debate. They were outvoted, though in some cases by very little.

  3. @ 49erDweet on 7 July 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Indeed, it’s not for everyone. One of the interesting learnings is that quite a few, Patrick Henry among them, did not like the phrase “We the people,” arguing that sovereignty ultimately resides in the states. Madison said it was a mix of states and people.

    With the benefit of hindsight, the whole idea that the states retained all powers not enumerated or granted to the Federal gov was doomed. Witness how effectively the 10th Amendment has been applied.

  4. @ NO.
    I was always more of a state’s rights guy until seeing how California turned out. Now?
    With hindsight I regret my namesake forefathers opting for statehood and giving up being a Republic.

  5. @ pouncer on 8 July 2012 at 8:52 am

    Gotta remember that Texas A&M is an Aggie joke.

  6. Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Enumerated, assumed, checked, or balanced, or not, the power governments exercise is limited only by refusal to acquiesce.

    But so very few do refuse. It is human nature to acquiesce, or the penalties for dissension are too great, or people are brainwashed, or whatever. It doesn’t happen, not often and not with significant numbers of people.

    And so the power of government over the lives of the people grows, inexorably, like a cancer.

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