For a people who are free, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security ~ Jefferson

Well Armed Militia Quotes by Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Regarding the 2nd Amendment [Click to enlarge}

THOMAS JEFFERSON; EIGHTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.

November 8, 1808.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

It would have been a source, fellow-citizens, of much gratification if our last communications from Europe had enabled me to inform you that the belligerent nations, whose disregard of neutral rights has been so destructive to our commerce, had become awakened to the duty and true policy of revoking their unrighteous edicts. That no means might be omitted to produce this salutary effect, I lost no time in availing myself of the act authorizing a suspension, in whole or in part, of the several embargo laws. Our ministers at London and Paris were instructed to explain to the respective Governments there our disposition to exercise the authority in such manner as would withdraw the pretext on which the aggressions were originally founded and open the way for a renewal of that commercial intercourse which it was alleged on all sides had been reluctantly obstructed. As each of those Governments had pledged its readiness to concur in renouncing a measure which reached its adversary through the incontestable rights of neutrals only, and as the measure had been assumed by each as a retaliation for an asserted acquiescence in the aggressions of the other, it was reasonably expected that the occasion would have been seized by both for evincing the sincerity of their professions, and for restoring to the commerce of the United States its legitimate freedom. The instructions to our ministers with respect to the different belligerents were necessarily modified with a reference to their different circumstances, and to the condition annexed by law to the Executive power of suspension, requiring a decree of security to our commerce which would not result from a repeal of the decrees of France. Instead of a pledge, therefore, of a suspension of the embargo as to her in case of such a repeal, it was presumed that a sufficient inducement might be found in other considerations, and particularly in the change produced by a compliance with our just demands by one belligerent and a refusal by the other in the relations between the other and the United States. To Great Britain, whose power on the ocean is so ascendant, it was deemed not inconsistent with that condition to state explicitly that on her rescinding her orders in relation to the United States their trade would be opened with her, and remain shut to her enemy in case of his failure to rescind his decrees also. From France no answer has been received, nor any indication that the requisite change in her decrees is contemplated. The favorable reception of the proposition to Great Britain was the less to be doubted, as her orders of council had not only been referred for their vindication to an acquiescence on the part of the United States no longer to be pretended, but as the arrangement proposed, whilst it resisted the illegal decrees of France, involved, moreover, substantially the precise advantages professedly aimed at by the British orders. The arrangement has nevertheless been rejected.

This candid and liberal experiment having thus failed, and no other event having occurred on which a suspension of the embargo by the Executive was authorized, it necessarily remains in the extent originally given to it. We have the satisfaction, however, to reflect that in return for the privations imposed by the measure, and which our fellow-citizens in general have borne with patriotism, it has had the important effects of saving our mariners and our vast mercantile property, as well as of affording time for prosecuting the defensive and provisional measures called for by the occasion. It has demonstrated to foreign nations the moderation and firmness which govern our councils, and to our citizens the necessity of uniting in support of the laws and the rights of their country, and has thus long frustrated those usurpations and spoliations which, if resisted, involved war; if submitted to, sacrificed a vital principle of our national independence.

Under a continuance of the belligerent measures which, in defiance of laws which consecrate the rights of neutrals, overspread the ocean with danger, it will rest with the wisdom of Congress to decide on the course best adapted to such a state of things; and bringing with them, as they do, from every part of the Union the sentiments of our constituents, my confidence is strengthened that in forming this decision they will, with an unerring regard to the essential rights and interests of the nation, weigh and compare the painful alternatives out of which a choice is to be made. Nor should I do justice to the virtues which on other occasions have marked the character of our fellow-citizens if I did not cherish an equal confidence that the alternative chosen, whatever it may be, will be maintained with all the fortitude and patriotism which the crisis ought to inspire.

The documents containing the correspondences on the subject of the foreign edicts against our commerce, with the instructions given to our ministers at London and Paris, are now laid before you.

The communications made to Congress at their last session explained the posture in which the close of the discussions relating to the attack by a British ship of war on the frigate Chesapeake left a subject on which the nation had manifested so honorable a sensibility. Every view of what had passed authorized a belief that immediate steps would be taken by the British Government for redressing a wrong which the more it was investigated appeared the more clearly to require what had not been provided for in the special mission. It is found that no steps have been taken for the purpose. On the contrary, it will be seen in the documents laid before you that the inadmissible preliminary which obstructed the adjustment is still adhered to, and, moreover, that it is now brought into connection with the distinct and irrelative case of the orders in council. The instructions which had been given to our minister at London with a view to facilitate, if necessary, the reparation claimed by the United States are included in the documents communicated.

Our relations with the other powers of Europe have undergone no material changes since your last session. The important negotiations with Spain which had been alternately suspended and resumed necessarily experience a pause under the extraordinary and interesting crisis which distinguishes her internal situation.

With the Barbary Powers we continue in harmony, with the exception of an unjustifiable proceeding of the Dey of Algiers toward our consul to that Regency. Its character and circumstances are now laid before you, and will enable you to decide how far it may, either now or hereafter, call for any measures not within the limits of the Executive authority.

With our Indian neighbors the public peace has been steadily maintained. Some instances of individual wrong have, as at other times, taken place, but in no wise implicating the will of the nation. Beyond the Mississippi the Ioways, the Sacs, and the Alabamas have delivered up for trial and punishment individuals from among themselves accused of murdering citizens of the United States. On this side of the Mississippi the Creeks are exerting themselves to arrest offenders of the same kind, and the Choctaws have manifested their readiness and desire for amicable and just arrangements respecting depredations committed by disorderly persons of their tribe. And, generally, from a conviction that we consider them as a part of ourselves, and cherish with sincerity their rights and interests, the attachment of the Indian tribes is gaining strength daily—is extending from the nearer to the more remote, and will amply requite us for the justice and friendship practiced toward them. Husbandry and household manufacture are advancing among them more rapidly with the Southern than Northern tribes, from circumstances of soil and climate, and one of the two great divisions of the Cherokee Nation have now under consideration to solicit the citizenship of the United States, and to be identified with us in laws and government in such progressive manner as we shall think best.

In consequence of the appropriations of the last session of Congress for the security of our seaport towns and harbors, such works of defense have been erected as seemed to be called for by the situation of the several places, their relative importance, and the scale of expense indicated by the amount of the appropriation. These works will chiefly be finished in the course of the present season, except at New York and New Orleans, where most was to be done; and although a great proportion of the last appropriation has been expended on the former place, yet some further views will be submitted to Congress for rendering its security entirely adequate against naval enterprise. A view of what has been done at the several places, and of what is proposed to be done, shall be communicated as soon as the several reports are received.

Of the gunboats authorized by the act of December last, it has been thought necessary to build only 103 in the present year. These, with those before possessed, are sufficient for the harbors and waters most exposed, and the residue will require little time for their construction when it shall be deemed necessary.

Under the act of the last session for raising an additional military force so many officers were immediately appointed as were necessary for carrying on the business of recruiting, and in proportion as it advanced others have been added. We have reason to believe their success has been satisfactory, although such returns have not yet been received as enable me to present you a statement of the numbers engaged.

I have not thought it necessary in the course of the last season to call for any general detachments of militia or of volunteers under the laws passed for that purpose. For the ensuing season, however, they will be required to be in readiness should their service be wanted. Some small and special detachments have been necessary to maintain the laws of embargo on that portion of our northern frontier which offered peculiar facilities for evasion, but these were replaced as soon as it could be done by bodies of new recruits. By the aid of these and of the armed vessels called into service in other quarters the spirit of disobedience and abuse, which manifested itself early and with sensible effect while we were unprepared to meet it, has been considerably repressed.

Considering the extraordinary character of the times in which we live, our attention should unremittingly be fixed on the safety of our country. For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well organized and armed militia is their best security. It is therefore incumbent on us at every meeting to revise the condition of the militia, and to ask ourselves if it is prepared to repel a powerful enemy at every point of our territories exposed to invasion. Some of the States have paid a laudable attention to this object, but every degree of neglect is to be found among others. Congress alone having the power to produce an uniform state of preparation in this great organ of defense, the interests which they so deeply feel in their own and their country’s security will present this as among the most important objects of their deliberation.

Under the acts of March 11 and April 23 respecting arms, the difficulty of procuring them from abroad during the present situation and dispositions of Europe induced us to direct our whole efforts to the means of internal supply. The public factories have therefore been enlarged, additional machineries erected, and, in proportion as artificers can be found or formed, their effect, already more than doubled, may be increased so as to keep pace with the yearly increase of the militia. The annual sums appropriated by the latter act have been directed to the encouragement of private factories of arms, and contracts have been entered into with individual undertakers to nearly the amount of the first year’s appropriation.

The suspension of our foreign commerce, produced by the injustice of the belligerent powers, and the consequent losses and sacrifices of our citizens are subjects of just concern. The situation into which we have thus been forced has impelled us to apply a portion of our industry and capital to internal manufactures and improvements. The extent of this conversion is daily increasing, and little doubt remains that the establishments formed and forming will, under the auspices of cheaper materials and subsistence, the freedom of labor from taxation with us, and of protecting duties and prohibitions, become permanent. The commerce with the Indians, too, within our own boundaries is likely to receive abundant aliment from the same internal source, and will secure to them peace and the progress of civilization, undisturbed by practices hostile to both.

The accounts of the receipts and expenditures during the year ending the 30th of September last being not yet made up, a correct statement will hereafter be transmitted from the Treasury. In the meantime it is ascertained that the receipts have amounted to near $18,000,000, which, with the eight millions and a half in the Treasury at the beginning of the year, have enabled us, after meeting the current demands and interest incurred, to pay $2,300,000 of the principal of our funded debt, and left us in the Treasury on that day near $14,000,000. Of these, $5,350,000 will be necessary to pay what will be due on the 1st day of January next, which will complete the reimbursement of the 8 per cent stock. These payments, with those made in the six years and a half preceding, will have extinguished $33,580,000 of the principal of the funded debt, being the whole which could be paid or purchased within the limits of the law and of our contracts, and the amount of principal thus discharged will have liberated the revenue from about $2,000,000 of interest and added that sum annually to the disposable surplus. The probable accumulation of the surpluses of revenue beyond what can be applied to the payment of the public debt whenever the freedom and safety of our commerce shall be restored merits the consideration of Congress. Shall it lie unproductive in the public vaults? Shall the revenue be reduced? Or shall it not rather be appropriated to the improvements of roads, canals, rivers, education, and other great foundations of prosperity and union under the powers which Congress may already possess or such amendment of the Constitution as may be approved by the States? While uncertain of the course of things, the time may be advantageously employed in obtaining the powers necessary for a system of improvement, should that be thought best.

Availing myself of this the last occasion which will occur of addressing the two Houses of the Legislature at their meeting, I can not omit the expression of my sincere gratitude for the repeated proofs of confidence manifested to me by themselves and their predecessors since my call to the administration and the many indulgences experienced at their hands. The same grateful acknowledgments are due to my fellow-citizens generally, whose support has been my great encouragement under all embarrassments. In the transaction of their business I can not have escaped error. It is incident to our imperfect nature. But I may say with truth my errors have been of the understanding, not of intention, and that the advancement of their rights and interests has been the constant motive for every measure. On these considerations I solicit their indulgence. Looking forward with anxiety to their future destinies, I trust that in their steady character, unshaken by difficulties, in their love of liberty, obedience to law, and support of the public authorities I see a sure guaranty of the permanence of our Republic; and, retiring from the charge of their affairs, I carry with me the consolation of a firm persuasion that Heaven has in store for our beloved country long ages to come of prosperity and happiness.

TH: JEFFERSON

Source: United States Congressional serial set, Issue 1; Issue 3265

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James Madison Opinions Regarding the Virginia Resolutions 1799-1800

Patrick Henry quote Transparency in Government

Patrick Henry regarding Transparency in Government (Click to enlarge)

I don’t think I could add a better preface to this piece of history than I found here.

REPORT ON THE RESOLUTIONS. (Note:1)

(Begin Note:1) Under date of Philadelphia, February 7, 1799, Walter Jones, John Nicholas, Carter H. Harrison, Joseph Eggleston, Abraham B. Venable, and Richard Brent, Republican members of Congress from Virginia, wrote Madison:

“While the sentiments we entertain of your Talents, your experience & your Probity, have made your absence from the public councils, a subject of our very serious regret, our Confidence in the justness of your Motives assures us, that you stand completely justified.

“At the same time the Growth & conduct of the executive Party, since your retirement, have continued more & more to render the Inaction of republican Principles & Talents deplorable & injurious.

“Our extreme Solicitude to give energy to those virtues, in every possible direction, has urged us jointly to address you. We hope that obstacles of your serving in the State legislature, may be less imperious, than those by which you were withdrawn from that of the Union—it is quite needless to point out to you, the powerful agency of wise and firm State measures in preserving the general government within the just Limits of the Constitution, which from the nature of things, it must be ever struggling to transcend; but our present position enables us to discover, perhaps more clearly, the perseverance & success of those struggles.

“We should be wanting in the Social Duties we profess, if we declined to invite you with earnestness, to take part in the councils of your State.

“Pretensions founded as yours are, can scarcely fail of success— our utmost aid, if it shall be in any way applicable, and our ardent wishes will attend you in the experiment.”—Mad. MSS.

Accordingly he consented to go to the House of Delegates and was elected in the autumn of 1799. Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York. Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont having replied to the resolutions in dissent, Madison wrote the report. (End Note:1)

House Of Delegates, Session of 1799-1800.

Report of the Committee to whom were referred the Communications of various States, relative to the Resolutions of the last General Assembly of this State, concerning the Alien and Sedition Laws.

Whatever room might be found in the proceedings of some of the States, who have disapproved of the resolutions of the General Assembly of this Commonwealth, passed on the 21st day of December, 1798, for painful remarks on the spirit and manner of those proceedings, it appears to the committee most consistent with the duty, as well as dignity, of the General Assembly, to hasten an oblivion of every circumstance which might be construed into a diminution of mutual respect, confidence, and affection among the members of the Union.

The committee have deemed it a more useful task to revise, with a critical eye, the resolutions which have met with this disapprobation; to examine fully the several objections and arguments which have appeared against them; and to inquire whether there be any errors of fact, of principle, or of reasoning, which the candor of the General Assembly ought to acknowledge and correct.

The first of the resolutions is in the words following: ~” “Resolved, That the General Assembly of Virginia doth unequivocally express a firm resolution to maintain and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State against every aggression, either foreign or domestic, and that they will support the Government of the United States in all measures warranted by the former.”

 

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.

Richmond, Dec, 39, 1799

Dear Sir,—

My promise to write to you before your leaving Albemarle was defeated by a dysenteric attack, which laid me up for about a week, and which left me in a state of debility not yet thoroughly removed. My recovery has been much retarded by the job of preparing a vindication of the Resolutions of last Session against the replies of the other States, and the sophistries from other quarters. The Committee made their report a few days ago, which is now in the press and stands the order of the day for thursday next. A set of Resolutions proposed by Mr. Giles, instructing the Senators to urge the repeal of the unconstitutional acts, the disbanding of the army, and a proper arrangement of the militia, are also in the press, and stand the order of the same day for the same Committee. It is supposed that both these papers, the latter perhaps with some modifications, will go through the House of Delegates. The Senate, owing to inattention & casualties, is so composed as to render the event there not a little uncertain. If an election, to fill the vacancy of Mr. H. Nelson who lately resigned. should send Mr. Andrews in preference to his competitor Mr. Saunders, I am told that the parties will be precisely in equilibrium, excepting only one or two whom circumstances now & then on particular questions, transfer from the wrong to the right side. It is hoped that this contingent fund of votes, will be applicable to the Vindication. On other important questions, there is much less expectation from it. There is a report here that the Legislature of N. Carolina now in session, have voted the Resolutions of Virginia under their table. The report is highly improbable, and I do not believe it. But it is impossible to calculate the progress of delusion, especially in a State where it is said to be under systematic management, and where there is so little either of system or exertion opposed to it. We had a narrow escape yesterday from an increase of pay to the members, which would have been particularly unseasonable & injurious both within & without the State. It was rejected on the third reading by a small majority; and was so much a favorite, with the distant members particularly, that I fear it has left them in rather an ill humor.

The late course of foreign events has probably made the same impression everywhere. If it should not render France less anxious to meet our advances, its good effects will be felt every way. If our Executive & their Envoys be sincere in their pacific objects, it will perhaps supply by their increased anxiety what may be lost on the other side. But there can be little confidence after what has been seen, that the negotiation would be influenced by this temper of the Envoys, instead of that which perverted it in the hands of their predecessors. This possibility of failure in the diplomatic experiment, will present the most specious obstacle to an immediate discharge of the army. It would be useful for the Assembly to know how this matter is viewed where you are. Mr. Dawson will be good enough to write me on the subject. I intended to have written to him by this mail; but my time has been taken from me till the closing of the mail is approaching.—Mad. MSS.

 

No unfavorable comment can have been made on the sentiments here expressed. To maintain and defend the Constitution of the United States, and of their own State, against every aggression, both foreign and domestic, and to support the Government of the United States in all measures warranted by their Constitution, are duties which the General Assembly ought always to feel, and to which, on such an occasion, it was evidently proper to express their sincere and firm adherence.

In their next resolution—

“The General Assembly most solemnly declares a warm attachment to the Union of the States, to maintain which it pledges all its powers; and that for this end it is their duty to watch over and oppose every infraction of those principles which constitute the only basis of that Union, because a faithful observance of them can alone secure its existence, and the public happiness.”

The observation just made is equally applicable to this solemn declaration of warm attachment to the Union, and this solemn pledge to maintain it; nor can any question arise among enlightened friends of the Union, as to the duty of watching over and opposing every infraction of those principles which constitute its basis, and a faithful observance of which can alone secure its existence, and the public happiness thereon depending.

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.

Richmond, Jan. 4, 1800

Dear Sir,—

My last covered a copy of the Report on the Resolutions of last year. I now enclose a copy of certain resolutions moved by Mr. Giles, to which he means to add an instruction on the subject of the intercourse law which has been so injurious to the price of Tobacco. It is not improbable that the Resolutions when taken up, may undergo some mollifications, in the spirit and air of them. The Report has been under debate for two days. The attacks on it have turned chiefly on an alleged inconsistency between the comment now made and the arguments of the last session, and on the right of the Legislature to interfere in any manner with denunciations of the measures of the General [Federal] Govt. The first attack has been parried by an amendment admitting that different constructions may have been entertained of the term “States” as “‘parties” &c but that the sense relied on in the report must be concurred in by nil. It is in fact concurred in by both parties. On examination of the Debates of the last session, it appears that both were equally inaccurate & inconsistent in the grounds formerly taken by them. The attack on the right of the Legislature to interfere by declaration of opinion will form a material point in the discussion. It is not yet known how far the opposition to the Report will be carried into detail The part relating to the Common law it is said will certainly be combated. You will perceive from this view of the matter, that it is not possible to guess how long, we shall be employed on it. There will in the event be a considerable majority for the Report in the House of Delegates, and a pretty sure one in the Senate. Can you send me a copy of Priestly’s letters last published.—Mad. MSS.

The third resolution is in the words following: “That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the Federal Government as resulting from the compact to which the States are parties, as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting that compact—as no further valid than they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the States who are parties thereto have the right and are in duty bound to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits the authorities, rights, and liberties appertaining to them.”

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.

Jan. 9, 1800

Dear Sir,—The question on the Report printed, was decided by 60 for & 40 against it, the day before yesterday, after a debate of five days. Yesterday & to-day have been spent on Mr. Giles’ propositions, which with some softenings will probably pass, by nearly the same vote. The Senate is in rather a better state than was expected. The Debate turned almost wholly on the right of the Legislature to protest. The Constitutionality of the Alien & Sedition Acts & of the C. Law was waived. It was said that the last question would be discussed under Mr. Giles’ propositions; but as yet nothing has been urged in its favour It is probable however that the intention has not been laid aside. I thank you for the pamphlets.—Mad. MSS.

On this resolution the committee have bestowed all the attention which its importance merits. They have scanned it not merely with a strict, but with a severe eye; and they feel confidence in pronouncing that, in its just and fair construction, it is unexceptionably true in its several positions, as well as constitutional and conclusive in its inferences.

The resolution declares, first, that “it views the powers of the Federal Government as resulting from the compact to which the States are parties”; in other words, that the Federal powers are derived from the Constitution; and that the Constitution is a compact to which the States are parties.

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.

Jan. 12, 1800.

Dear Sir,—My last informed you of the result of the debates on the justifying Report of the Select Committee. I am now able to add that of Mr. Giles’s resolutions. The question on the whole was decided in the affirmative by a little upwards of a hundred against less than fifty. The vote was rather stronger on some of the particular resolutions, for example the instruction for disbanding the army. The alien sedition & Tobacco instructions passed without a count or a division. That relating to the common law, passed unanimously with an amendment qualifying it in the words of the paragraph in the Justifying Report under which certain defined parts of the C. L. are admitted to be the law of the U. S. This amendment was moved by the minority on the idea that it covers the doctrine they contend for. On our side it is considered as a guarded exposition of the powers expressed in the Const”! and those necessary & proper to carry them into execution. I am not able to say in what manner they misconstrue the definition, unless they apply the term “adopt” to the “Court” which would be equally absurd & unconstitutional. The Judges themselves will hardly contend that they can adopt a law, that is, make that law which was before not law. The difference in the majority on the Report & the resolutions, was occasioned chiefly by the pledge given against the former by the members who voted against the Resolutions of last year. The resolutions also underwent some improvements, which reconciled many to them who were not satisfied with their first tone & form. It is understood that the present assembly is rather stronger on the republican side than the last one: and that a few favorable changes have taken place in the course of the session. It is proposed to introduce to-morrow a bill for a general ticket in choosing the next Electors. I expect to leave this in a week; so that your subsequent favors will find me in Orange.
Shew this to Mr. Dawson.—Mad. MSS

Clear as the position must seem, that the Federal powers are derived from the Constitution, and from that alone, the committee are not unapprized of a late doctrine which opens another source of Federal powers not less extensive and important than it is new and unexpected. The examination of this doctrine will be most conveniently connected with a review of a succeeding resolution. The committee satisfy themselves here with briefly remarking, that in all the contemporary discussions and comments which the Constitution underwent, it was constantly justified and recommended on the ground that the powers not given to the Government were withheld from it; and that if any doubt could have existed on this subject, under the original text of the Constitution, it is removed, as far as words could remove it, by the 12th amendment, now a part of the Constitution, which expressly declares “that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON

Richmond Jan. 18, 1800.

Dear Sir,—Since my last the Senate have agreed to the Report & the Resolution by 15 to 6. To the latter, they made an amend to the definition of the portion of C. L. in force in the U. S. by inserting the words “by Congress” after the word “adopted,” in order to repel the misconstruction which led the minority to concur in that particular resolution as it passed the H. of D. The amendment was agreed to by 82 to 40. The plan of a General Ticket was so novel that a great number who wished it shrunk from the vote, and others apprehending that their Constitution’s would be still more startled at it voted against it, so that it passed by a majority of 5 votes only. The event in the Senate is rather doubtful; tho’ it is expected to get through. As the avowed object of it is to give Virginia fair play, I think if passed into a law, it will with proper explanations become popular. I expect to get away about the middle of the week The Assembly will rise perhaps at the end of it; tho’ possibly not so soon. I forgot to tell you that a renewed effort to raise the pay of the members has succeeded; a measure wrong in principle, and which will be hurtful in its operation. I have desired Barnes to pay you a balance in his hands, out of which you will please to pay yourself the balance due to your Nailory.—Mad. MSS.

The other position involved in this branch of the resolution, namely, “that the States are parties to the Constitution” or compact, is, in the judgment of the committee, equally free from objection. It is indeed true that the term “States” is sometimes used in a vague sense, and sometimes in different senses, according to the subject to which it is applied. Thus, it sometimes means the separate sections of territory occupied by the political societies within each; sometimes the particular governments established by those societies; sometimes those societies as organized into those particular governments; and, lastly, it means the people composing those political societies, in their highest sovereign capacity. Although it might be wished that the perfection of language admitted less diversity in the signification of the same words, yet little inconvenience is produced by it where the true sense can be collected with certainty from the different applications. In the present instance, whatever different construction of the term ” States,” in the resolution, may have been entertained, all will at least concur in that last mentioned; because in that sense the Constitution was submitted to the “States”; in that sense the “States” ratified it; and in that sense of the term “States” they are consequently parties to the compact from which the powers of the Federal Government result.

The next position is, that the General Assembly views the powers of the Federal Government “as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting that compact,” and “as no farther valid than they are authorized by the grants therein enumerated.” It does not seem possible that any just objection can lie against either of these causes. The first amounts merely to a declaration that the compact ought to have the interpretation plainly intended by the parties to it; the other, to a declaration that it ought to have the execution and effect intended by them. If the powers granted be valid, it is solely because they are granted; and if the granted powers are valid because granted, all other powers not granted must not be valid.

The resolution having taken this view of the Federal compact, proceeds to infer ” that, in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the States who are parties thereto have the right and are in duty bound to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits the authorities, rights, and liberties appertaining to them.”

It appears to your committee to be a plain principle, founded in common sense, illustrated by common practice, and essential to the nature of compacts, that where resort can be had to no tribunal superior to the authority of the parties, the parties themselves must be the rightful judges, in the last resort, whether the bargain made has been pursued or violated. The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the States, given by each in its sovereign capacity. It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority of the Constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation. The States then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal above their authority to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and, consequently, that, as the parties to it, they must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.

It does not follow, however, because the States, as sovereign parties to their constitutional compact, must ultimately decide whether it has been violated, that such a decision ought to be interposed either in a hasty manner or on doubtful and inferior occasions. Even in the case of ordinary conventions between different nations, where, by the strict rule of interpretation, a breach of a part may be deemed a breach of the whole—every part being deemed a condition of every other part, and of the whole—it is always laid down that the breach must be both willful and material, to justify an application of the rule. But in the case of an intimate and constitutional union, like that of the United States, it is evident that the interposition of the parties, in their sovereign capacity, can be called for by occasions only deeply essentially affecting the vital principles of their political system.

The resolution has, accordingly, guarded against any misapprehension of its object, by expressly requiring for such an interposition “the case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous breach of the Constitution by the exercise of powers not granted by it.” It must be a case, not of a light and transient nature, but of a nature dangerous to the great purposes for which the Constitution was established. It must be a case, moreover, not obscure or doubtful in its construction, but plain and palpable. Lastly it must be a case not resulting from a partial consideration or hasty determination, but a case stamped with a final consideration and deliberate adherence. It is not necessary, because the resolution does not require, that the question should be discussed, how far the exercise of any particular power, ungranted by the Constitution, would justify the interposition of the parties to it. As cases might easily be stated which none would contend ought to fall within that description, cases, on the other hand, might with equal ease be stated, so flagrant and so fatal as to unite every opinion in placing them within the description.

But the resolution has done more than guard against misconstruction, by expressly referring to cases of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous nature. It specifies the object of the interposition which it contemplates to be solely that of arresting the progress of the evil of usurpation, and of maintaining the authorities, rights, and liberties appertaining to the States as parties to the Constitution.

From this view of the resolution it would seem inconceivable that it can incur any just disapprobation from those who, laying aside all momentary impressions, and recollecting the genuine source and object of the Federal Constitution, shall candidly and accurately interpret the meaning of the General Assembly. If the deliberate exercise of dangerous powers, palpably withheld by the Constitution, could not justify the parties to it in interposing even so far as to arrest the progress of the evil, and thereby to preserve the Constitution itself, as well as to provide for the safety of the parties to it, there would be an end to all relief from usurped power, and a direct subversion of the rights specified or recognized under all the State constitutions, as well as a plain denial of the fundamental principle on which our independence itself was declared.

But it is objected that the judicial authority is to be regarded as the sole expositor of the Constitution, in the last resort; and it may be asked for what reason the declaration by the General Assembly, supposing it to be theoretically true, could be required at the present day, and in so solemn a manner.

On this objection it might be observed, first, that there may be instances of usurped power, which the forms of the Constitution would never draw within the control of the judicial department; secondly, that if the decision of the judiciary be raised above the authority of the sovereign parties to the Constitution, the decisions of the other departments, not carried by the forms of the Constitution before the judiciary, must be equally authoritative and final with the decisions of that department. But the proper answer to the objection, is that the resolution of the General Assembly relates to those great and extraordinary cases in which all the forms of the Constitution may prove ineffectual against infractions dangerous to the essential rights of the parties to it. The resolution supposes that dangerous powers, not delegated, may not only be usurped and executed by the other departments, but that the judicial department also may exercise or sanction dangerous powers beyond the grant of the Constitution, and, consequently, that the ultimate right of the parties to the Constitution to judge whether the compact has been dangerously violated, must extend to violations by one delegated authority as well as by another; by the judiciary as well as by the executive or the legislature.

However true, therefore, it may be that the judicial department is, in all questions submitted to it by the forms of the Constitution, to decide in the last resort, this resort must necessarily be deemed the last in relation to the authorities of the other departments of the Government; not in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial as well as the other departments hold their delegated trusts. On any other hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it; and the concurrence of this department with the others in usurped powers might subvert forever, and beyond the possible reach of any rightful remedy, the very Constitution which all were instituted to preserve.

The truth declared in the resolution being established, the expediency of making the declaration at the present day may safely be left to the temperate consideration and candid judgment of the American public. It will be remembered that a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is solemnly enjoined by most of the State constitutions, and particularly by our own, as a necessary safeguard against the danger of degeneracy to which republics are liable, as well as other governments, though in a less degree than others. And a fair comparison of the political doctrines not infrequent at the present day with those which characterized the epoch of our Revolution, and which form the basis of our republican constitutions, will best determine whether the declaratory recurrence here made to those principles ought to be viewed as unseasonable and improper, or as a vigilant discharge of an important duty. The authority of constitutions over governments, and of the sovereignty of the people over constitutions, are truths which are at all times necessary to be kept in mind, and at no time, perhaps, more necessary than at present.

The fourth resolution stands as follows:

“That the General Assembly doth also express its deep regret that a spirit has in sundry instances been manifested by the Federal Government to enlarge its powers by forced constructions of the constitutional charter which defines them; and that indications have appeared of a design to expound certain general phrases, (which, having been copied from the very limited grant of powers in the former articles of Confederation, were the less liable to be misconstrued,) so as to destroy the meaning and effect of the particular enumeration which necessarily explains and limits the general phrases, and so as to consolidate the States by degrees into one sovereignty, the obvious tendency and inevitable result of which would be to transform the present republican system of the United States into an absolute, or at best a mixed, monarchy.”

The first question here to be considered is, whether a spirit has, in sundry instances, been manifested by the Federal Government to enlarge its powers by forced constructions of the constitutional charter.

The General Assembly having declared their opinion merely by regretting, in general terms, that forced constructions for enlarging the Federal powers have taken place, it does not appear to the committee necessary to go into a specification of every instance to which the resolution may allude. The Alien and Sedition Acts being particularly named in a succeeding resolution, are of course to be understood as included n the allusion. Omitting others which have less occupied public attention, or been less extensively regarded as unconstitutional, the resolution may be presumed to refer particularly to the Bank Law, which, from the circumstances of its passage, as well as the latitude of construction on which it is founded, strikes the attention with singular force; and the Carriage Tax, distinguished also by circumstances in its history having a similar tendency. Those instances alone, if resulting from forced construction, and calculated to enlarge the powers of the Federal Government, as the committee cannot but conceive to be the case, sufficiently warrant this part of the resolution. The committee have not thought it incumbent on them to extend their attention to laws which have been objected to, rather as varying the constitutional distribution of powers in the Federal Government, than as an absolute enlargement of them; because instances of this sort, however important in their principles and tendencies, do not appear to fall strictly within the text under review.

The other questions presenting themselves are—1. Whether indications have appeared of a design to expound certain general phrases copied from the “Articles of Confederation,” so as to destroy the effect of the particular enumeration explaining and limiting their meaning. 2. Whether this exposition would by degrees consolidate the States into one sovereignty. 3. Whether the tendency and result of this consolidation would be to transform the republican system of the United States into a monarchy.

1. The general phrases here meant, must be those “of providing for the common defense and general welfare.”

In the “Articles of Confederation,” the phrases are used as follows, in Article VIII: “All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense and general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of the common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several States in proportion to the value of all land within each State, granted to or surveyed for any person, as such land and the buildings and improvements thereon shall be estimated, according to such mode as the United States, in Congress assembled, shall from time to time direct and appoint.”

In the existing Constitution they make the following part of Section 8: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”

This similarity in the use of these phrases, in the two great Federal charters, might well be considered as rendering their meaning less liable to be misconstrued in the latter; because it will scarcely be said that in the former they were ever understood to be either a general grant of power, or to authorize the requisition or application of money by the old Congress to the common defense and general welfare, except in the cases afterwards enumerated, which explained and limited their meaning; and if such was the limited meaning attached to these phrases in the very instrument revised and re-modeled by the present Constitution, it can never be supposed that, when copied into this Constitution, a different meaning ought to be attached to them.

That, notwithstanding this remarkable security against misconstruction, a design has been indicated to expound these phrases in the Constitution so as to destroy the effect of the particular enumeration of powers by which it explains and limits them, must have fallen under the observation of those who have attended to the course of public transactions. Not to multiply proofs on this subject, it will suffice to refer to the Debates of the Federal Legislature, in which arguments have on different occasions been drawn, with apparent effect, from these phrases in their indefinite meaning.

To these indications might be added, without looking further, the official Report on Manufactures, by the late Secretary of the Treasury, made on the 5th of December, 1791, and the Report of a Committee of Congress, in January, 1797, on the promotion of Agriculture. In the first of these it is expressly contended to belong “to the discretion of the National Legislature to pronounce upon the objects which concern the general welfare, and for which, under that description, an appropriation of money is requisite and proper. And there seems to be no room for a doubt that whatever concerns the general interests of Learning, of Agriculture, of Manufactures, and of Commerce, are within the sphere of the National Councils, as far as regards an application of money.” The latter Report assumes the same latitude of power in the national councils, and applies it to the encouragement of agriculture by means of a society to be established at the seat of Government. Although neither of these Reports may have received the sanction of a law carrying it into effect, yet, on the other hand, the extraordinary doctrine contained in both has passed without the slightest positive mark of disapprobation from the authority to which it was addressed.

Now, whether the phrases in question be construed to authorize every measure relating to the common defense and general welfare, as contended by some—or every measure only in which there might be an application of money, as suggested by the caution of others—the effect must substantially be the same, in destroying the import and force of the particular enumeration of powers which follow these general phrases in the Constitution; for it is evident that there is not a single power whatever which may not have some reference to the common defense or the general welfare; nor a power of any magnitude, which, in its exercise, does not involve or admit an application of money. The government, therefore, which possesses power in either one or other of these extents, is a government without the limitations formed by a particular enumeration of powers; and, consequently, the meaning and effect of this particular enumeration is destroyed by the exposition given to these general phrases.

This conclusion will not be affected by an attempt to qualify the power over the “general welfare,” by referring it to cases where the general welfare is beyond the reach of separate provisions by the individual States, and leaving to these their jurisdictions in cases to which their separate provisions may be competent; for, as the authority of the individual States must in all cases be incompetent to general regulations operating through the whole, the authority of the United States would be extended to every object relating to the general welfare which might, by any possibility, be provided for by the general authority. This qualifying construction, therefore, would have little, if any, tendency to circumscribe the power claimed under the latitude of the terms “general welfare.”

The true and fair construction of this expression, both in the original and existing Federal compacts, appears to the committee too obvious to be mistaken. In both, the Congress is authorized to provide money for the common defense and general welfare. In both, is subjoined to this authority an enumeration of the cases to which their powers shall extend. Money cannot be applied to the general welfare. otherwise than by an application of it to some particular measure conducive to the general welfare. Whenever, therefore, money has been raised by the general authority, and is to be applied to a particular measure, a question arises whether the particular measure be within the enumerated authorities vested in Congress. If it be, the money requisite for it may be applied to it; if it be not, no such application can be made. This fair and obvious interpretation coincides with and is enforced by the clause in the Constitution which declares that “no money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations by law.” An appropriation of money to the general welfare would be deemed rather a mockery than an observance of this constitutional injunction.

2. Whether the exposition of the general phrases here combated would not by degrees consolidate the States into one sovereignty, is a question concerning which the committee can perceive little room for difference of opinion. To consolidate the States into one sovereignty, nothing more can be wanted than to supersede their respective sovereignties in the cases reserved to them, by extending the sovereignty of the United States to all cases of the “general welfare”—that is to say, to all cases whatever.

3. That the obvious tendency and inevitable result of a consolidation of the States into one sovereignty, would be to transform the republican system of the United States into a monarchy, is a point which seems to have been sufficiently decided by the general sentiment of America. In almost every instance of discussion relating to the consolidation in question, its certain tendency to pave the way to monarchy seems not to have been contested. The prospect of such a consolidation has formed the only topic of controversy. It would be unnecessary, therefore, for the committee to dwell long on the reasons which support the position of the General Assembly. It may not be improper, however, to remark two consequences evidently flowing from an extension of the Federal powers to every subject falling within the idea of the “general welfare.”

One consequence must be, to enlarge the sphere of discretion allotted to the Executive Magistrate. Even within the legislative limits properly defined by the Constitution, the difficulty of accommodating legal regulations to a country so great in extent and so various in its circumstances has been much felt, and has lead to occasional investments of power in the Executive, which involve perhaps as large a portion of discretion as can be deemed consistent with the nature of the Executive trust. In proportion as the objects of legislative care might be multiplied, would the time allowed for each be diminished, and the difficulty of providing uniform and particular regulations for all be increased. From these sources would necessarily ensue a greater latitude to the agency of that department which is always in existence, and which could best mould regulations of a general nature so as to suit them to the diversity of particular situations. And it is in this latitude, as a supplement to the deficiency of the laws, that the degree of Executive prerogative materially consists.

The other consequence would be, that of an excessive augmentation of the offices, honors, and emoluments, depending on the Executive will. Add to the present legitimate stock all those of every description which a consolidation of the States would take from them and turn over to the Federal Government, and the patronage of the Executive would necessarily be as much swelled in this case as its prerogative would be in the other.

This disproportionate increase of prerogative and patronage must, evidently, either enable the Chief Magistrate of the Union, by quiet means, to secure his re-election from time to time, and finally to regulate the succession as he might please; or, by giving so transcendent an importance to the office, would render the elections to it so violent and corrupt, that the public voice itself might call for an hereditary in place of an elective succession. Whichever of these events might follow, the transformation of the republican system of the United States into a monarchy, anticipated by the General Assembly from a consolidation of the States into one sovereignty, would be equally accomplished; and whether it would be into a mixed or an absolute monarchy might depend on too many contingencies to admit of any certain foresight.

The resolution next in order is contained in the following terms:

“That the General Assembly doth particularly protest against the palpable and alarming infractions of the Constitution in the two late cases of the ‘Alien and Sedition Acts,’ passed at the last session of Congress; the first of which exercises a power nowhere delegated to the Federal Government, and which, by uniting legislative and judicial powers to those of executive, subverts the general principles of a free Government, as well as the particular organization and positive provisions of the Federal Constitution; and the other of which acts exercises, in like manner, a power not delegated by the Constitution but, on the contrary, expressly and positively forbidden by one of the amendments thereto; a power which, more than any other, ought to produce universal alarm; because it is leveled against that right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every other right.”

The subject of this resolution having, it is presumed, more particularly led the General Assembly into the proceedings which they communicated to the other States, and being in itself of peculiar importance, it deserves the most critical and faithful investigation, for the length of which no other apology will be necessary.

The subject divides itself into—first, “The Alien Act”; secondly, “The Sedition Act.”

Of the “Alien Act,” it is affirmed by the resolution—1st. That it exercises a power nowhere delegated to the Federal Government. 2d. That it unites legislative and judicial powers to those of the Executive. 3d. That this union of power subverts the general principles of free government. 4th. That it subverts the particular organization and positive provisions of the Federal Constitution.

In order to clear the way for a correct view of the first position several observations will be premised.

1. In the first place, it is to be borne in mind that it being a characteristic feature of the Federal Constitution, as it was originally ratified, and an amendment thereto having precisely declared, “That the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people”; it is incumbent in this as in every other exercise of power by the Federal Government, to prove from the Constitution that it grants the particular power exercised.

The next observation to be made is, that much confusion and fallacy have been thrown into the question by blending the two cases of aliens, members of a hostile nation, and aliens, members of friendly nations. These two cases are so obviously and so essentially distinct, that it occasions no little surprise that the distinction should have been disregarded; and the surprise is so much the greater, as it appears that the two cases are actually distinguished by two separate acts of Congress, passed at the same session, and comprised in the same publication; the one providing for the case of ” alien enemies”; the other, “concerning aliens” indiscriminately, and, consequently, extending to aliens of every nation in peace and amity with the United States. With respect to alien enemies, no doubt has been intimated as to the Federal authority over them; the Constitution having expressly delegated to Congress the power to declare war against any nation, and, of course, to treat it and all its members as enemies. With respect to aliens who are not enemies, but members of nations in peace and amity with the United States, the power assumed by the act of Congress is denied to be constitutional; and it is, accordingly, against this act that the protest of the General Assembly is expressly and exclusively directed.

A third observation is, that were it admitted, as is contended, that the ” act concerning aliens” has for its object, not a penal, but a preventive justice, it would still remain to be proved that it comes within the constitutional power of the Federal Legislature; and, if within its power, that the Legislature has exercised it in a constitutional manner.

In the administration of preventive justice the following principles have been held sacred: that some probable ground of suspicion be exhibited before some judicial authority; that it be supported by oath or affirmation; that the party may avoid being thrown into confinement by finding pledges or sureties for his legal conduct, sufficient in the judgment of some judicial authority; that he may have the benefit of a writ of habeas corpus, and thus obtain his release if wrongfully confined; and that he may at any time be discharged from his recognizance, or his confinement, and restored to his former liberty and rights on the order of the proper judicial authority, if it shall see sufficient cause.

All these principles of the only preventive justice known to American jurisprudence are violated by the Alien Act. The ground of suspicion is to be judged of, not by any judicial authority, but by the Executive Magistrate alone. No oath or affirmation is required. If the suspicion be held reasonable by the President, he may order the suspected alien to depart the territory of the United States, without the opportunity of avoiding the sentence by finding pledges for his future good conduct. As the President may limit the time of departure as he pleases, the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus may be suspended with respect to the party, although the Constitution ordains that it shall not be suspended unless when the public safety may require it, in case of rebellion or invasion—neither of which existed at the passage of the act; and the party being, under the sentence of the President, either removed from the United States, or being punished by imprisonment, or disqualification ever to become a citizen, on conviction of not obeying the order of removal, he cannot be discharged from the proceedings against him, and restored to the benefits of his former situation, although the highest judicial authority should see the most sufficient cause for it.

But, in the last place, it can never be admitted that the removal of aliens, authorized by the act, is to be considered, not as punishment for an offence, but as a measure of precaution and prevention. If the banishment of an alien from a country into which he has been invited as the asylum most auspicious to his happiness—a country where he may have formed the most tender connections; where he may have invested his entire property, and acquired property of the real and permanent, as well as the movable and temporary kind; where he enjoys, under the laws, a greater share of the blessings of personal security, and personal liberty, than he can elsewhere hope for, and where he may have nearly completed his probationary title to citizenship; if, moreover, in the execution of the sentence against him, he is to be exposed, not only to the ordinary dangers of the sea, but to the peculiar casualties incident to a crisis of war and of unusual licentiousness on that element, and possibly to vindictive purposes which his emigration itself may have provoked; if a banishment of this sort be not a punishment, and among the severest of punishments, it will be difficult to imagine a doom to which the name can be applied. And if it be a punishment, it will remain to be inquired whether it can be constitutionally inflicted, on mere suspicion, by the single will of the Executive Magistrate, on persons convicted of no personal offence against the laws of the land, nor involved in any offence against the law of nations, charged on the foreign State of which they are members.

One argument offered in justification of this power exercised over aliens is, that the admission of them into the country being of favor, not of right, the favor is at all times revocable.

To this argument it might be answered, that, allowing the truth of the inference, it would be no proof of what is required. A question would still occur, whether the Constitution had vested the discretionary power of admitting aliens in the Federal Government or in the State governments.

But it cannot be a true inference, that, because the admission of an alien is a favor, the favor may be revoked at pleasure. A grant of land to an individual may be of favor, not of right; but the moment the grant is made, the favor becomes a right, and must be forfeited before it can be taken away. To pardon a malefactor may be a favor, but the pardon is not, on that account, the less irrevocable. To admit an alien to naturalization, is as much a favor as to admit him to reside in the country; yet it cannot be pretended that a person naturalized can be deprived of the benefits any more than a native citizen can be disfranchised.

Again, it is said, that aliens not being parties to the Constitution, the rights and privileges which it secures cannot be at all claimed by them.

To this reasoning, also, it might be answered that, although aliens are not parties to the Constitution, it does not follow that the Constitution has vested in Congress an absolute power over them. The parties to the Constitution may have granted, or retained, or modified, the power over aliens, without regard to that particular consideration.

But a more direct reply is, that it does not follow, because aliens are not parties to the Constitution, as citizens are parties to it, that, whilst they actually conform to it, they have no right to its protection. Aliens are not more parties to the laws than they are parties to the Constitution; yet it will not be disputed that, as they owe, on one hand, a temporary obedience, they are entitled, in return, to their protection and advantage.

If aliens had no rights under the Constitution, they might not only be banished, but even capitally punished, without a jury or the other incidents to a fair trial. But so far has a contrary principle been carried, in every part of the United States, that, except on charges of treason, an alien has, besides all the common privileges, the spec1al one of being tried by a jury, of which one-half may be also aliens.

It is said further, that, by the law and practice of nations, aliens may be removed, at discretion, for offences aga1nst the law of nations; that Congress are authorized to define and punish such offences; and that to be dangerous to the peace of society is, in aliens, one of those offences.

The distinction between alien enemies and alien friends is a clear and conclusive answer to this argument. Alien enemies are under the law of nations, and liable to be punished for offences against it. Alien friends, except in the single case of public ministers, are under the municipal law, and must be tried and punished according to that law only.

This argument also, by referring the alien act to the power of Congress to define and punish offences against the law of nations, yields the point that the act is of a penal, not merely of a preventive operation. It must, in truth, be so considered. And if it be a penal act, the punishment it inflicts must be justified by some offence that deserves it.

Offences for which aliens, within the jurisdiction of a country are punishable, are—first, offences committed by the nation of which they make a part, and in whose offences they are involved; secondly, offences committed by themselves alone, without any charge against the nation to which they belong The first is the case of alien enemies; the second, the case of alien friends. In the first case, the offending nation can no otherwise be punished than by war, one of the laws of which authorizes the expulsion of such of its members as may be found within the country against which the offence has been committed. In the second case—the offence being committed by the individual, not by his nation, and against the municipal law, not against the law of nations—the individual only, and not the nation, is punishable; and the punishment must be conducted according to the municipal law, not according to the law of nations. Under this view of the subject, the act of Congress for the removal of alien enemies, being conformable to the law of nations, is justified by the Constitution and the ” act” for the removal of alien friends, being repugnant to the constitutional principles of municipal law, is unjustifiable

Nor is the act of Congress for the removal of alien friends more agreeable to the general practice of nations than it is within the purview of the law of nations. The general practice of nations distinguishes between alien friends and alien enemies. The latter it has proceeded against, according to the law of nations, by expelling them as enemies. The former it has considered as under a local and temporary allegiance, and entitled to a correspondent protection. If contrary instances are to be found in barbarous countries, under undefined prerogatives, or amid revolutionary dangers, they will not be deemed fit precedents for the Government of the United States, even if not beyond its constitutional authority.

It is said that Congress may grant letters of marquee and reprisal; that reprisals may be made on persons as well as property; and that the removal of aliens may be considered as the exercise, in an inferior degree, of the general power of reprisal on persons.

Without entering minutely into a question that does not seem to require it, it may be remarked that reprisal is a seizure of foreign persons or property, with a view to obtain that justice for injuries done by one State, or its members, to another State, or its members, for which a refusal of the aggressors requires such a resort to force under the law of nations. It must be considered as an abuse of words to call the removal of persons from a country a seizure or reprisal on them; nor is the distinction to be overlooked between reprisals on persons within the country and under the faith of its laws, and on persons out of the country. But laying aside these considerations, it is evidently impossible to bring the alien act within the power of granting reprisals, since it does not allege or imply any injury received from any particular nation for which this proceeding against its members was intended as a reparation. The proceeding is authorized against aliens of every nation; of nations charged neither with any similar proceedings against American citizens, nor with any injuries for which justice might be sought in the mode prescribed by the act. Were it true, therefore, that good causes existed for reprisals against one or more foreign nations, and that neither the persons nor property of its members under the faith of our laws could plead an exemption, the operation of the act ought to have been limited to the aliens among us belonging to such nations. To license reprisals against all nations for aggressions charged on one only, would be a measure as contrary to every principle of justice and public law as to a wise policy, and the universal practice of nations.

It is said that the right of removing aliens is an incident to the power of war vested in Congress by the Constitution.

This is a former argument in a new shape only, and is answered by repeating, that the removal of alien enemies is an incident to the power of war; that the removal of alien friends is not an incident to the power of war.

It is said that Congress are, by the Constitution, to protect each State against invasion; and that the means of preventing invasion are included in the power of protection against it.

The power of war, in general, having been before granted by the Constitution, this clause must either be a mere specification for greater caution and certainty, of which there are other examples in the instrument, or be the injunction of a duty superadded to a grant of the power. Under either explanation it cannot enlarge the powers of Congress on the subject. The power and the duty to protect each State against an invading enemy would be the same under the general power, if this regard to greater caution had been omitted.

Invasion is an operation of war. To protect against invasion is an exercise of the power of war. A power, therefore, not incident to war cannot be incident to a particular modification of war. And as the removal of alien friends has appeared to be no incident to a general state of war, it cannot be incident to a partial state or a particular modification of war.

Nor can it ever be granted that a power to act on a case when it actually occurs, includes a power over all the means that may tend to prevent the occurrence of the case. Such a latitude of construction would render unavailing every practical definition of particular and limited powers. Under the idea of preventing war in general, as well as invasion in particular, not only an indiscriminate removal of all aliens might be enforced, but a thousand other things still more remote from the operations and precautions appurtenant to war might take place. A bigoted or tyrannical nation might threaten us with war, unless certain religious or political regulations were adopted by us; yet it never could be inferred, if the regulations which would prevent war were such as Congress had otherwise no power to make, that the power to make them would grow out of the purpose they were to answer. Congress have power to suppress insurrections, yet it would not be allowed to follow that they might employ all the means tending to prevent them, of which a system of moral instruction for the ignorant, and of provident support for the poor, might be regarded as among the most efficacious.

One argument for the power of the General Government to remove aliens would have been passed in silence, if it had appeared under any authority inferior to that of a report made during the last session of Congress to the House of Representatives by a committee, and approved by the House. The doctrine on which this argument is founded is of so new and so extraordinary a character, and strikes so radically at the political system of America, that it is proper to state it in the very words of the report:

“The act [concerning aliens] is said to be unconstitutional, because to remove aliens is a direct breach of the Constitution, which provides, by the 9th section of the 1st article, that the

migration or importation of such persons as any of the States shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year 1808.”

Among the answers given to this objection to the constitutionality of the act, the following very remarkable one is extracted:

“Thirdly, that as the Constitution has given to the States no power to remove aliens during the period of the limitation under consideration, in the mean time, on the construction assumed, there would be no authority in the country empowered to send away dangerous aliens, which cannot be admitted.”

The reasoning here used would not in any view be conclusive, because there are powers exercised by most other Governments, which, in the United States, are withheld by the people, both from the General Government and from the State governments. Of this sort are many of the powers prohibited by the Declarations of Right prefixed to the constitutions, or by the clauses in the constitutions in the nature of such declarations. Nay, so far is the political system of the United States distinguishable from that of other countries, by the caution with which powers are delegated and defined, that in one very important case, even of commercial regulation and revenue, the power is absolutely locked up against the hands of both Governments. A tax on exports can be laid by no constitutional authority whatever. Under a system thus peculiarly guarded there could surely be no absurdity in supposing that alien friends, who, if guilty of treasonable machinations, may be punished, or if suspected on probable grounds, may be secured by pledges or imprisonment, in like manner with permanent citizens, were never meant to be subjected to banishment by any arbitrary and unusual process, either under the one Government or the other.

But it is not the inconclusiveness of the general reasoning in this passage which chiefly calls the attention to it. It is the principle assumed by it, that the powers held by the States are given to them by the Constitution of the United States; and the inference from this principle, that the powers supposed to be necessary which are not so given to the State governments, must reside in the Government of the United States.

The respect which is felt for every portion of the constituted authorities forbids some of the reflections which this singular paragraph might excite; and they are the more readily suppressed, as it may be presumed, with justice perhaps as well as candor, that inadvertence may have had its share in the error. It would be an unjustifiable delicacy, nevertheless, to pass by so portentous a claim, proceeding from so high an authority, without a monitory notice of the fatal tendencies with which it would be pregnant.

Lastly, it is said that a law on the same subject with the Alien Act, passed by this State originally in 1785, and reenacted in 1792, is a proof that a summary removal of suspected aliens was not theretofore regarded by the Virginia Legislature as liable to the objections now urged against such a measure.

This charge against Virginia vanishes before the simple remark, that the law of Virginia relates to “suspicious persons, being the subjects of any foreign power or State who shall have made a declaration of war, or actually commenced hostilities, or from whom the President shall apprehend hostile designs;” whereas the act of Congress relates to aliens, being the subjects of foreign powers and States who have neither declared war nor commenced hostilities, nor from whom hostile designs are apprehended.

2. It is next affirmed by the Alien Act, that it unites legislative, judicial, and executive powers, in the hands of the President.

However difficult it may be to mark in every case with clearness and certainty the line which divides legislative power from the other departments of power, all will agree that the powers referred to these departments may be so general and undefined as to be of a legislative, not of an executive or judicial nature, and may for that reason be unconstitutional. Details, to a certain degree, are essential to the nature and character of law; and on criminal subjects, it is proper that details should leave as little as possible to the discretion of those who are to apply and execute the law. If nothing more were required, in exercising a legislative trust, than a general conveyance of authority—without laying down any precise rules by which the authority conveyed should be carried into effect—it would follow that the whole power of legislation might be transferred by the Legislature from itself, and proclamations might become substitutes for laws. A delegation of power in this latitude would not be denied to be a union of the different powers.

To determine, then, whether the appropriate powers of the distinct departments are united by the act authorizing the Executive to remove aliens, it must be inquired whether it contains such details, definitions, and rules, as appertain to the true character of a law; especially a law by which personal liberty is invaded, property deprived of its value to the owner, and life itself indirectly exposed to danger.

The Alien Act declares “that it shall be lawful for the President to order all such aliens as he shall judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States, or shall have reasonable ground to suspect are concerned in any treasonable or secret machinations against the Government thereof, to depart,” &c.

Could a power be given in terms less definite, less particular, and less precise? To be dangerous to the public safety—to be suspected of secret machinations against the Government; these can never be mistaken for legal rules or certain definitions. They leave everything to the President. His will is the law.

But it is not a legislative power only that is given to the President. He is to stand in the place of the judiciary also. His suspicion is the only evidence which is to convict; his order, the only judgment which is to be executed.

Thus it is the President whose will is to designate the offensive conduct; it is his will that is to ascertain the individuals on whom it is charged; and it is his will that is to cause the sentence to be executed. It is rightly affirmed, therefore, that the act unites legislative and judicial powers to those of the executive.

3. It is affirmed that this union of power subverts the general principles of free government.

It has become an axiom in the science of government, that a separation of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments is necessary to the preservation of public liberty. Nowhere has this axiom been better understood in theory, or more carefully pursued in practice, than in the United States.

4. It is affirmed that such a union of power subverts the particular organization and positive provisions of the Federal Constitution.

According to the particular organization of the Constitution, its legislative powers are vested in the Congress, its executive powers in the President, and its judicial powers in a supreme and inferior tribunals. The union of any two of these powers, and still more of all three, in any one of these departments, as has been shown to be done by the Alien Act, must, consequently, subvert the constitutional organization of them.

That positive provisions in the Constitution, securing to individuals the benefits of fair trial, are also violated by the union of powers in the Alien Act, necessarily results from the two facts that the Act relates to alien friends, and that alien friends, being under the municipal law only, are entitled to its protection.

The second object against which the resolution protests is the Sedition Act.

Of this Act it is affirmed: 1. That it exercises in like manner a power not delegated by the Constitution. 2. That the power, on the contrary, is expressly and positively forbidden by one of the amendments to the Constitution. 3. That this is a power which more than any other ought to produce universal alarm, because it is leveled against that right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication thereon, which has ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every other right.

1. That it exercises a power not delegated by the Constitution.

Here, again, it will be proper to recollect that the Federal Government being composed of powers specifically granted, with a reservation of all others to the States or to the people, the positive authority under which the Sedition Act could be passed must be produced by those who assert its constitutionality. In what part of the Constitution, then, is this authority to be found?

Several attempts have been made to answer this question, which will be examined in their order. The committee will begin with one which has filled them with equal astonishment and apprehension, and which, they cannot but persuade themselves, must have the same effect on all who will consider it with coolness and impartiality, and with a reverence for our Constitution in the true character in which it issued from the sovereign authority of the people. The committee refer to the doctrine lately advanced, as a sanction to the Sedition Act,” that the common or unwritten law,” a law of vast extent and complexity, and embracing almost every possible subject of legislation, both civil and criminal, makes a part of the law of these States, in their united and national capacity.

The novelty, and, in the judgment of the committee, the extravagance of this pretension, would have consigned it to the silence in which they have passed by other arguments which an extraordinary zeal for the Act has drawn into the discussion; but the auspices”^under which this innovation presents itself have constrained the committee to bestow on it an attention which other considerations might have forbidden.

In executing the task, it may be of use to look back to the colonial state of this country, prior to the Revolution; to trace the effect of the Revolution which converted the Colonies into independent States; to inquire into the import of the Articles of Confederation, the first instrument by which the Union of the States was regularly established; and, finally, to consult the Constitution of 1787, which is the oracle that must decide the important question.

In the state prior to the Revolution, it is certain that the common law, under different limitations, made a part of the colonial codes. But whether it be understood that the original colonists brought the law with them, or made it their law by adoption, it is equally certain that it was the separate law of each colony within its respective limits, and was unknown to them as a law pervading and operating through the whole as one society.

It could not possibly be otherwise. The common law was not the same in any two of the Colonies; in some the modifications were materially and extensively different. There was no common legislature by which a common will could be expressed in the form of a law; nor any common magistracy by which such a law could be carried into practice. The will of each colony, alone and separately, had its organs for these purposes.

This stage of our political history furnishes no foothold for the patrons of this new doctrine.

Did, then, the principle or operation of the great event which made the Colonies independent States imply or introduce the common law as a law of the Union?

The fundamental principle of the Revolution was, that the Colonies were co-ordinate members with each other and with Great Britain, of an empire united by a common executive sovereign, but not united by any common legislative sovereign. The legislative power was maintained to be as complete in each American Parliament, as in the British Parliament. And the royal prerogative was in force in each Colony by virtue of its acknowledging the King for its executive magistrate, as it was in Great Britain by virtue of a like acknowledgment there. A denial of these principles by Great Britain, and the assertion of them by America, produced the Revolution.

There was a time, indeed, when an exception to the legislative separation of the several component and co-equal parts of the empire obtained a degree of acquiescence. The British Parliament was allowed to regulate the trade with foreign nations, and between the different parts of the empire. This was, however, mere practice without right, and contrary to the true theory of the Constitution. The convenience of some regulations, in both cases, was apparent; and as there was no legislature with power over the whole, nor any constitutional pre-eminence among the legislatures of the several parts, it was natural for the legislature of that particular part which was the eldest and the largest to assume this function, and for the others to acquiesce in it. This tacit arrangement was the less criticized, as the regulations established by the British Parliament operated in favor of that part of the empire which seemed to bear the principle share of the public burdens, and were regarded as an indemnification of its advances for the other parts. As long as this regulating power was confined to the two objects of conveniency and equity, it was not complained of nor much inquired into. But, no sooner was it perverted to the selfish views of the party assuming it, than the injured parties began to feel and to reflect; and the moment the claim to a direct and indefinite power was engrafted on the precedent of the regulating power, the whole charm was dissolved, and every eye opened to the usurpation. The assertion by Great Britain of a power to make laws for the other members of the empire in all cases whatsoever, ended in the discovery that she had a right to make laws for them in no cases whatsoever.

Such being the ground of our Revolution, no support nor color can be drawn from it for the doctrine that the common law is binding on these States as one society. The doctrine, on the contrary, is evidently repugnant to the fundamental principle of the Revolution.

The Articles of Confederation are the next source of information on this subject.

In the interval between the commencement of the Revolution and the final ratification of these Articles, the nature and extent of the Union was determined by the circumstances of the crisis, rather than by any accurate delineation of the general authority. It will not be alleged that the “common law” could have had any legitimate birth as a law of the United States during that state of things. If it came as such into existence at all the Charter of Confederation must have been its parent.

Here again, however, its pretensions are absolutely destitute of foundation. This instrument does not contain a sentence or a syllable that can be tortured into a countenance of the idea that the parties to it were, with respect to the objects of the common law, to form one community. No such law is named, or implied, or alluded to, as being in force, or as brought into force by that compact. No provision is made by which such a law could be carried into operation; whilst, on the other hand, every such inference or pretext is absolutely precluded by Article II, which declares “that each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.”

Thus far it appears that not a vestige of this extraordinary doctrine can be found in the origin or progress of American institutions. The evidence against it has, on the contrary, grown stronger at every step, till it has amounted to a formal and positive exclusion, by written articles of compact among the parties concerned.

Is this exclusion revoked, and the common law introduced as national law by the present Constitution of the United States? This is the final question to be examined.

It is readily admitted that particular parts of the common law may have a sanction from the Constitution, so far as they are necessarily comprehended in the technical phrases which the powers delegated to the Government; and so far also as such other parts may be adopted by Congress as necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers expressly delegated. But the question does not relate to either of these portions of the common law. It relates to the common law beyond these limitations.

The only part of the Constitution which seems to have been relied on in this case is the 2d section of Article III: “The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made or which shall be made under their authority.”

It has been asked, what cases, distinct from those arising under the laws and treaties of the United States, can arise under the Constitution, other than those arising under the common law? and it is inferred that the common law is accordingly adopted or recognized by the Constitution.

Never, perhaps, was so broad a construction applied to a text so clearly unsusceptible of it. If any color for the inference could be found, it must be in the impossibility of finding any other cases in law and equity, within the provisions of the Constitution, to satisfy the expression; and rather than resort to a construction affecting so essentially the whole character of the Government, it would perhaps be more rational to consider the expression as a mere pleonasm or inadvertence. But it is not necessary to decide on such a dilemma. The expression is fully satisfied and its accuracy justified by two descriptions of cases to which the judicial authority is extended, and neither of which implies that the common law is the law of the United States. One of these descriptions comprehends the case growing out of the restrictions on the legislative power of the States. For example, it is provided that ” no State shall emit bills of credit,” or “make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.” Should this prohibition be violated, and a suit between citizens of the same State be the consequence, this would be a case arising under the Constitution before the judicial power of the United States. A second description comprehends suits between citizens and foreigners, of citizens of different States, to be decided according to the State or foreign laws, but submitted by the Constitution to the judicial power of the United States, the judicial power being in several instances extended beyond the legislative power of the United States.

To this explanation of the text the following observations may be added:

The expression “cases in law and equity” is manifestly confined to cases of a civil nature, and would exclude cases of criminal jurisdiction. Criminal cases in law and equity would be a language unknown to the law.

The succeeding paragraph of the same section is in harmony with this construction. It is in these words: “In all cases affecting ambassadors, or other public ministers, and consuls, and those in which a State shall be a party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases (including cases of law and equity arising under the Constitution) the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction both as to law and fact; with such exceptions and under such regulations as Congress shall make.”

This paragraph, by expressly giving an appellate jurisdiction in cases of law and equity arising under the Constitution, to fact as well as to law, clearly excludes criminal cases where the trial by jury is secured, because the fact in such cases is not a subject of appeal. And, although the appeal is liable to such exceptions and regulations as Congress may adopt, yet it is not to be supposed that an exception of all criminal cases could be contemplated, as well because a discretion in Congress to make or omit the exception would be improper, as because it would have been unnecessary. The exception could as easily have been made by the Constitution itself, as referred to the Congress.

Once more: the amendment last added to the Constitution deserves attention as throwing light on this subject. “The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another State, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign power.” As it will not be pretended that any criminal proceeding could take place against a State, the terms law or equity must be understood as appropriate to civil in exclusion of criminal cases.

From these considerations it is evident that this part of the Constitution, even if it could be applied at all to the purpose for which it has been cited, would not include any cases whatever of a criminal nature, and consequently would not authorize the inference from it that the judicial authority extends to offences against the common law as offences arising under the Constitution.

It is further to be considered that, even if this part of the Constitution could be strained into an application to every common-law case, criminal as well as civil, it could have no effect in justifying the Sedition Act; which is an exercise of legislative and not of judicial power: and it is the judicial power only of which the extent is defined in this part of the Constitution.

There are two passages in the Constitution in which a description of the law of the United States is found. The first is contained in Article III, Sections, in the words following: “This Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made or which shall be made under their authority.” The second is contained in the second paragraph of Article VI, as follows: “This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.” The first of these descriptions was meant as a guide to the judges of the United States; the second, as a guide to the judges of the several States. Both of them consist of an enumeration which was evidently meant to be precise and complete. If the common law had been understood to be a law of the United States, it is not possible to assign a satisfactory reason why it was not expressed in the enumeration.

In aid of these objections the difficulties and confusion inseparable from a constructive introduction of the common law would afford powerful reasons against it.

Is it to be the common law with or without the British statutes?

If without the statutory amendments, the vices of the code would be insupportable.

If with these amendments, what period is to be fixed for limiting the British authority over our laws?

Is it to be the date of the eldest or the youngest of the Colonies?

Or are the dates to be thrown together and a medium deduced?

Or is our independence to be taken for the date?

Is, again, regard to be had to the various changes in the common law made by the local codes of America?

Is regard to be had to such changes, subsequent as well as prior to the establishment of the Constitution?

Is regard to be had to future as well as to past changes?

Is the law to be different in every State as differently modified by its code, or are the modifications of any particular State to be applied to all?

And, on the latter supposition, which, among the State codes would form the standard?

Questions of this sort might be multiplied with as much ease as there would be difficulty in answering them.

The consequences flowing from the proposed construction furnish other objections equally conclusive, unless the text were peremptory in its meaning and consistent with other parts of the instrument.

These consequences may be in relation to the legislative authority of the United States; to the executive authority; to the judicial authority; and to the governments of the several States.

If it be understood that the common law is established by the Constitution, it follows that no part of the law can be altered by the Legislature; such of the statutes already passed as may be repugnant thereto would be nullified, particularly the Sedition Act itself, which boasts of being a melioration of the common law; and the whole code, with all its incongruities, barbarisms, and bloody maxims, would be inviolably saddled on the good people of the United States.

Should this consequence be rejected and the common law be held, like other laws, liable to revision and alteration by the authority of Congress, it then follows that the authority of Congress is co-extensive with the objects of common law— that is to say, with every object of legislation; for to every such object does some branch or other of the common law extend. The authority of Congress would therefore be no longer under the limitations marked out in the Constitution. They would be authorized to legislate in all cases whatsoever.

In the next place, as the President possesses the executive powers of the Constitution, and is to see that the laws be faithfully executed, his authority also must be co-extensive with every branch of the common law. The additions which this would make to his power, though not readily to be estimated, claim the most serious attention.

This is not all; it will merit the most profound consideration, how far an indefinite admission of the common law, with a latitude in construing it, equal to the construction by which it is deduced from the Constitution, might draw after it the various prerogatives making part of the unwritten law of England. The English Constitution itself is nothing more than a composition of unwritten laws and maxims.

In the third place, whether the common law be admitted as of legal or of constitutional obligation, it would confer on the judicial department a discretion little short of a legislative power.

On the supposition of its having a constitutional obligation, this power in the judges would be permanent and irremediable by the Legislature. On the other supposition the power would not expire until the Legislature should have introduced a full system of statutory provisions. Let it be observed, too, that besides all the uncertainties above enumerated, and which present an immense field for judicial discretion, it would remain with the same department to decide what parts of the common law would, and what would not, be properly applicable to the circumstances of the United States.

A discretion of this sort has always been lamented as incongruous and dangerous, even in the Colonial and State courts, although so much narrowed by positive provisions in the local codes on all the principal subjects embraced by the common law. Under the United States, where so few laws exist on those subjects, and where so great a lapse of time must happen before the vast chasm could be supplied, it is manifest that the power of the judges over the law would, in fact, erect them into legislators, and that for a long time it would be impossible for the citizens to conjecture, either what was or would be law.

In the last place, the consequence of admitting the common law as the law of the United States, on the authority of the individual States, is as obvious as it would be fatal. As this law relates to every subject of legislation, and would be paramount to the Constitutions and laws of the States, the admission of it would overwhelm the residuary sovereignty of the States, and by one constructive operation new model the whole political fabric of the country.

From the review thus taken of the situation of the American colonies prior to their independence; of the effect of this event on their situation; of the nature and import of the Articles of Confederation; of the true meaning of the passage in the existing Constitution from which the common law has been deduced; of the difficulties and uncertainties incident to the doctrine; and of its vast consequences in extending the powers of the Federal Government, and in supers eding the authorities of the State governments—the committee feel the utmost confidence in concluding that the common law never was, nor by any fair construction ever can be, deemed a law for the American people as one community; and they indulge the strongest expectation that the same conclusion will finally be drawn by all candid and accurate inquirers into the subject. It is, indeed, distressing to reflect that it ever should have been made a question, whether the Constitution, on the whole face of which is seen so much labor to enumerate and define the several objects of Federal power, could intend to introduce in the lump, in an indirect manner, and by a forced construction of a few phrases, the vast and multifarious jurisdiction involved in the common law—a law filling so many ample volumes; a law overspreading the entire field of legislation; and a law that would sap the foundation of the Constitution as a system of limited and specified powers. A severer reproach could not, in the opinion of the committee, be thrown on the Constitution, on those who framed or on those who established it, than such a supposition would throw on them.

The argument, then, drawn from the common law, on the ground of its being adopted or recognized by the Constitution, being inapplicable to the Sedition Act, the committee will proceed to examine the other arguments which have been founded on the Constitution.

They will waste but little time on the attempt to cover the act by the preamble to the Constitution, it being contrary to every acknowledged rule of construction to set up this part of an instrument in opposition to the plain meaning expressed in the body of the instrument. A preamble usually contains the general mot1ves or reasons for the particular regulations or measures which follow it, and is always understood to be explained and limited by them. In the present instance, a contrary interpretation would have the inadmissible effect of rendering nugatory or improper every part of the Constitution which succeeds the preamble.

The paragraph in Article I, Section 8, which contains the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare, having been already examined, will also require no particular attention in this place. It will have been seen that, in its fair and consistent meaning, it cannot enlarge the enumerated powers vested in Congress.

The part of the Constitution which seems most to be recurred to, in the defense of the Sedition Act, is the last clause of the above section, empowering Congress “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”

The plain import of this clause is, that Congress shall have all the incidental or instrumental powers necessary and proper for carrying into execution all the express powers, whether they be vested in the Government of the United States, more collectively, or in the several departments or officers thereof.

It is not a grant of new powers to Congress, but merely a declaration, for the removal of all uncertainty, that the means of carrying into execution those otherwise granted are included in the grant.

Whenever, therefore, a question arises concerning the constitutionality of a particular power, the first question is, whether the power be expressed in the Constitution. If it be, the question is decided. If it be not expressed, the next inquiry must be, whether it is properly an incident to an express power, and necessary to its execution. If it be, it may be exercised by Congress. If it be not, Congress cannot exercise it.

Let the question be asked, then, whether the power over the press exercised in the Sedition Act be found among the powers expressly vested in the Congress. This is not pretended.

Is there any express power, for executing which it is a necessary and proper power?

The power which has been selected, as least remote, in answer to this question, is that “of suppressing insurrections”; which is said to imply a power to prevent insurrections, by punishing whatever may lead or tend to them. But it surely cannot, with the least plausibility, be said, that the regulation of the press, and a punishment of libels, are exercises of a power to suppress insurrections. The most that could be said would be that the punishment of libels, if it had the tendency ascribed to it, might prevent the occasion of pass1ng or executing laws necessary and proper for the suppression of insurrections.

Has the Federal Government no power, then, to prevent as well as to punish resistance to the laws?

They have the power, which the Constitution deemed most proper, in their hands for the purpose. The Congress has power, before it happens, to pass laws for punishing it; and the executive and judiciary have power to enforce those laws when it does happen.

It must be recollected by many, and could be shown to the satisfaction of all, that the construction here put on the terms “necessary and proper” is precisely the construction which prevailed during the discussions and ratifications of the Constitution. It may be added, and cannot too often be repeated, that it is a construction absolutely necessary to maintain their consistency with the peculiar character of the Government, as possessed of particular and definite powers only, not of the general and indefinite powers vested in ordinary Governments; for if the power to suppress insurrections 1ncludes a power to punish libels, or if the power to punish includes a power to prevent, by all the means that may have that tendency, such is the relation and influence among the most remote subjects of leg1slation, that a power over a very few would carry with it a power over all. And it must be wholly immaterial whether unlimited powers be exercised under the name of unlimited powers, or be exercised under the name of unlimited means of carrying into execution limited powers.

This branch of the subject will be closed with a reflection which must have weight with all, but more especially with those who place peculiar reliance on the judicial exposition of the Constitution as the bulwark provided against undue extensions of the legislative power. If it be understood that the powers implied in the specified powers have an immediate and appropriate relation to them, as means necessary and proper for carrying them into execution, questions on the constitutionality of laws passed for this purpose will be of a nature sufficiently precise and determinate for judicial cognizance and control. If, on the other hand, Congress are not limited in the choice of means by any such appropriate relation of them to the specified powers; but may employ all such means as they may deem fitted to prevent as well as to punish crimes subjected to their authority; such as may have a tendency only to promote an object for which they are authorized to provide; every one must perceive that questions relating to means of this sort must be questions for mere policy and expediency, on which legislative discretion alone can decide, and from which the judicial interposition and control are completely excluded.

2. The next point which the resolution requires to be proved is, that the power over the press exercised by the Sedition Act is positively forbidden by one of the amendments to the Constitution.

The amendment stands in these words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

In the attempts to vindicate the Sedition Act it has been contended—1. That the “freedom of the press” is to be determined by the meaning of these terms in the common law. 3. That the article supposes the power over the press to be in Congress, and prohibits them only from abridging the freedom allowed to it by the common law.

Although it will be shown, on examining the second of these positions, that the amendment is a denial to Congress of all power over the press, it may not be useless to make the following observations on the first of them:

It is deemed to be a sound opinion that the Sedition Act, in its definition of some of the crimes created, is an abridgment of the freedom of publication, recognized by principles of the common law in England.

The freedom of the press under the common law is, in the defenses of the Sedition Act, made to consist in an exemption from all previous restraint on printed publications by persons authorized to inspect and prohibit them. It appears to the committee that this idea of the freedom of the press can never be admitted to be the American idea of it; since a law inflicting penalties on printed publications would have a similar effect with a law authorizing a previous restraint on them. It would seem a mockery to say that no laws should be passed preventing publications from being made, but that laws might be passed for punishing them in case they should be made.

The essential difference between the British Government and the American Constitutions will place this subject in the clearest light.

In the British Government the danger of encroachments on the rights of the people is understood to be confined to the executive magistrate. The representatives of the people in the Legislature are not only exempt themselves from distrust, but are considered as sufficient guardians of the rights of their constituents against the danger from the Executive. Hence it is a principle, that the Parliament is unlimited in its power; or, in their own language, is omnipotent. Hence, too, all the ramparts for protecting the rights of the people—such as their Magna Charta, their Bill of Rights, &c.—are not reared against the Parliament, but against the royal prerogative. They are merely legislative precautions against executive usurpations. Under such a government as this, an exemption of the press from previous restraint, by licensers appointed by the King, is all the freedom that can be secured to it.

In the United States the case is altogether different. The People, not the Government, possess the absolute sovereignty. The Legislature, no less than the Executive, is under limitations of power. Encroachments are regarded as possible from the one as well as from the other. Hence, in the United States the great and essential rights of the people are secured against legislative as well as against executive ambition. They are secured, not by laws paramount to prerogative, but by constitutions paramount to laws. This security of the freedom of the press requires that it should be exempt not only from previous restraint by the Executive, as in Great Britain, but from legislative restraint also; and this exemption, to be effectual, must be an exemption not only from the previous inspection of licensers, but from the subsequent penalty of laws.

The state of the press, therefore, under the common law, cannot, in this point of view, be the standard of its freedom in the United States.

But there is another view under which it may be necessary to consider this subject. It may be alleged that although the security for the freedom of the press be different in Great Britain and in this country, being a legal security only in the former, and a constitutional security in the latter; and although there may be a further difference, in an extension of the freedom of the press, here, beyond an exemption from previous restraint, to an exemption from subsequent penalties also; yet that the actual legal freedom of the press, under the common law, must determine the degree of freedom which is meant by the terms, and which is constitutionally secured against both previous and subsequent restraints.

The committee is not unaware of the difficulty of all general questions which may turn on the proper boundary between the liberty and licentiousness of the press. They will leave it, therefore, for consideration only how far the difference between the nature of the British Government and the nature of the American Governments, and the practice under the latter may show the degree of rigor in the former to be inapplicable to and not obligatory in the latter.

The nature of governments elective, limited, and responsible in all their branches, may well be supposed to require a greater freedom of animadversion than might be tolerated by the genius of such a government as that of Great Britain. In the latter it is a maxim that the King, an hereditary, not a responsible magistrate, can do no wrong, and that the Legislature, which in two-thirds of its composition is also hereditary, not responsible, can do what it pleases. In the United States the executive magistrates are not held to be infallible, nor the Legislatures to be omnipotent; and both being elective, are both responsible. Is it not natural and necessary, under such different circumstances, that a different degree of freedom in the use of the press should be contemplated?

Is not such an inference favored by what is observable in Great Britain itself? Notwithstanding the general doctrine of the common law on the subject of the press, and the occasional punishment of those who use it with a freedom offensive to the Government, it is well known that with respect to the responsible members of the Government, where the reasons operating here become applicable there, the freedom exercised by the press and protected by public opinion far exceeds the limits prescribed by the ordinary rules of law. The ministry, who are responsible to impeachment, are at all times animadverted on by the press with peculiar freedom, and during the elections for the House of Commons, the other responsible part of the Government, the press is employed with as little reserve towards the candidates.

The practice in America must be entitled to much more respect. In every State, probably, in the Union, the press has exerted a freedom in canvassing the merits and measures of public men of every description which has not been confined to the strict limits of the common law. On this footing the freedom of the press has stood; on this footing it yet stands. And it will not be a breach either of truth or of candor to say, that no persons or presses are in the habit of more unrestrained animadversions on the proceedings and functionaries of the State governments than the persons and presses most zealous in vindicating the act of Congress for punishing similar animadversions on the Government of the United States.

The last remark will not be understood as claiming for the State governments an immunity greater than they have heretofore enjoyed. Some degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of everything, and in no instance is this more true than in that of the press. It has accordingly been decided by the practice of the States, that it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches to their luxuriant growth, than, by pruning them away, to injure the vigor of those yielding the proper fruits. And can the wisdom of this policy be doubted by any who reflect that to the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression; who reflect that to the same beneficent source the United States owe much of the lights which conducted them to the ranks of a free and independent nation, and which have improved their political system into a shape so auspicious to their happiness? Had “Sedition Acts,” forbidding every publication that might bring the constituted agents into contempt or disrepute, or that might excite the hatred of the people against the authors of unjust or pernicious measures, been uniformly enforced against the press, might not the United States have been languishing at this day under the infirmities of a sickly Confederation? Might they not, possibly, be miserable colonies, groaning under a foreign yoke?

To these observations one fact will be added, which demonstrates that the common law cannot be admitted as the universal expositor of American terms, which may be the same with those contained in that law. The freedom of conscience and of religion are found in the same instruments which assert the freedom of the press. It will never be admitted that the meaning of the former, in the common law of England, is to limit their meaning in the United States.

Whatever weight may be allowed to these considerations, the committee do not, however, by any means intend to rest the question on them. They contend that the article of amendment, instead of suppos1ng in Congress a power that might be exercised over the press, provided its freedom was not abridged, was meant as a positive denial to Congress of any power whatever on the subject.

To demonstrate that this was the true object of the article, it will be sufficient to recall the circumstances which led to it, and to refer to the explanation accompanying the article.

When the Constitution was under the discussions which preceded its ratification, it is well known that great apprehensions were expressed by many, lest the omission of some positive exception, from the powers delegated, of certain rights, and of the freedom of the press particularly, might expose them to the danger of being drawn, by construction, within some of the powers vested in Congress, more especially of the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying their other powers into execution. In reply to this objection, it was invariably urged to be a fundamental and characteristic principle of the Constitution, that all powers not given by it were reserved; that no powers were given beyond those enumerated in the Constitution, and such as were fairly incident to them: that the power over the rights in question, and particularly over the press, was neither among the enumerated powers, nor incident to any of them; and consequently that an exercise of any such power would be manifest usurpation. It is painful to remark how much the arguments now employed in behalf of the Sedition Act are at variance with the reasoning which then justified the Constitution, and invited its ratification.

From this posture of the subject resulted the interesting question, in so many of the Conventions, whether the doubts and dangers ascribed to the Constitution should be removed by any amendments previous to the ratification, or be postponed in confidence that, as far as they might be proper, they would be introduced in the form provided by the Constitution. The latter course was adopted; and in most of the States, ratifications were followed by propositions and instructions for rendering the Constitution more explicit, and more safe to the rights not meant to be delegated by it. Among those rights, the freedom of the press, in most instances, is particularly and emphatically mentioned. The firm and very pointed manner in which it is asserted in the proceedings of the Convention of this State will be hereafter seen.

In pursuance of the wishes thus expressed, the first Congress that assembled under the Constitution proposed certain amendments, which have since, by the necessary ratifications, been made a part of it; among which amendments is the article containing, among other prohibitions on the Congress, an express declaration that they should make no law abridging the freedom of the press.

Without tracing farther the evidence on this subject, it would seem scarcely possible to doubt that no power whatever over the press was supposed to be delegated by the Constitution, as it originally stood, and that the amendment was intended as a positive and absolute reservation of it.

But the evidence is still stronger. The proposition of amendments made by Congress is introduced in the following terms:

“The Conventions of a number of the States having, at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstructions or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

Here is the most satisfactory and authentic proof that the several amendments proposed were to be considered as either declaratory or restrictive, and, whether the one or the other as corresponding with the desire expressed by a number of the States, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government.

Under any other construction of the amendment relating to the press, than that it declared the press to be wholly exempt from the power of Congress, the amendment could neither be said to correspond with the desire expressed by a number of the States, nor be calculated to extend the ground of public confidence in the Government.

Nay, more; the construction employed to justify the Sedition Act would exhibit a phenomenon without a parallel in the political world. It would exhibit a number of respectable States, as denying, first, that any power over the press was delegated by the Constitution; as proposing, next, that an amendment to it should explicitly declare that no such power was delegated; and, finally, as concurring in an amendment actually recognizing or delegating such a power.

Is, then, the Federal Government, it will be asked, destitute of every authority for restraining the licentiousness of the press, and for shielding itself against the libelous attacks which may be made on those who administer it?

The Constitution alone can answer this question. If no such power be expressly delegated, and if it be not both necessary and proper to carry into execution an express power— above all, if it be expressly forbidden, by a declaratory amendment to the Constitution—the answer must be, that the Federal Government is destitute of all such authority.

And might it not be asked, in turn, whether it is not more probable, under all the circumstances which have been reviewed, that the authority should be withheld by the Constitution, than that it should be left to a vague and violent construction, whilst so much pains were bestowed in enumerating other powers, and so many less important powers are included in the enumeration?

Might it not be likewise asked, whether the anxious circumspection which dictated so many peculiar limitations on the general authority would be unlikely to exempt the press altogether from that authority? The peculiar magnitude of some of the powers necessarily committed to the Federal Government; the peculiar duration required for the functions of some of its departments; the peculiar distance of the seat of its proceedings from the great body of its constituents; and the peculiar difficulty of circulating an adequate knowledge of them through any other channel; will not these considerations, some or other of which produced other exceptions from the powers of ordinary governments, all together, account for the policy of binding the hand of the Federal Government from touching the channel which alone can give efficacy to its responsibility to its constituents, and of leaving those who administer it to a remedy, for their injured reputations, under the same laws, and in the same tribunals, which protect their lives, their liberties, and their properties?

But the question does not turn either on the wisdom of the Constitution or on the policy which gave rise to its particular organization. It turns on the actual meaning of the instrument, by which it has appeared that a power over the press is clearly excluded from the number of powers delegated to the Federal Government.

3. And, in the opinion of the committee, well may it be said, as the resolution concludes with saying, that the unconstitutional power exercised over the press by the Sedition Act ought, “more than any other, to produce universal alarm; because it is leveled against that right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every other right.”

Without scrutinizing minutely into all the provisions of the Sedition Act, it will be sufficient to cite so much of section 2d as follows: “And be it further enacted, that if any person shall write, print, utter, or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered, or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing, any false, scandalous, and malicious writing or writings against the Government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with an intent to defame the said Government or either house of the said Congress, or the President, or to bring them or either of them into contempt or disrepute, or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, &c.—then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.”

On this part of the act, the following observations present themselves:

  1.  The Constitution supposes that the President, the Congress, and each of its Houses, may not discharge their trusts, either from defect of judgment or other causes. Hence they are all made responsible to their constituents, at the returning periods of election; and the President, who is singly entrusted with very great powers, is, as a further guard, subjected to an intermediate impeachment.
  2.  Should it happen, as the Constitution supposes it may happen, that either of these branches of the Government may not have duly discharged its trust; it is natural and proper, that, according to the cause and degree of their faults, they should be brought into contempt or disrepute, and incur the hatred of the people.
  3.  Whether it has, in any case, happened that the proceedings of either or all of those branches evince such a violation of duty as to justify a contempt, a disrepute, or hatred among the people, can only be determined by a free examination thereof, and a free communication among the people thereon.
  4.  Whenever it may have actually happened that proceedings of this sort are chargeable on all or either of the branches of the Government, it is the duty, as well as right, of intelligent and faithful citizens to discuss and promulgate them freely, as well to control them by the censorship of the public opinion, as to promote a remedy according to the rules of the Constitution. And it cannot be avoided that those who are to apply the remedy must feel, in some degree, a contempt or hatred against the transgressing party.
  5.  As the act was passed on July 14, 1798, and is to be in force until March 3, 1801, it was of course that, during its continuance, two elections of the entire House of Representatives, an election of a part of the Senate, and an election of a President, were to take place.
  6.  That, consequently, during all these elections, intended by the Constitution to preserve the purity or to purge the faults of the Administration, the great remedial rights of the people were to be exercised, and the responsibility of their public agents to be screened, under the penalties of this act.

May it not be asked of every intelligent friend to the liberties of his country, whether the power exercised in such an act as this ought not to produce great and universal alarm? Whether a rigid execution of such an act, in time past, would not have repressed that information and communication among the people which is indispensable to the just exercise of their electoral rights? And whether such an act, if made perpetual, and enforced with rigor, would not, in time to come, either destroy our free system of government, or prepare a convulsion that might prove equally fatal to it?

In answer to such questions, it has been pleaded that the writings and publications forbidden by the act are those only which are false and malicious, and intended to defame; and merit is claimed for the privilege allowed to authors to justify, by proving the truth of their publications, and for the limitations to which the sentence of fine and imprisonment is subjected.

To those who concurred in the act, under the extraordinary belief that the option lay between the passing of such an act and leaving in force the common law of libels, which punishes truth equally with falsehood, and submits the fine and imprisonment to the indefinite discretion of the court, the merit of good intentions ought surely not to be refused. A like merit may perhaps be due for the discontinuance of the corporal punishment, which the common law also leaves to the discretion of the court. This merit of intention, however, would have been greater, if the several mitigations had not been limited to so short a period; and the apparent inconsistency would have been avoided, between justifying the act, at one time, by contrasting it with the rigors of the common law otherwise in force; and at another time, by appealing to the nature of the crisis, as requiring the temporary rigor exerted by the act.

But, whatever may have been the meritorious intentions of all or any who contributed to the Sedition Act, a very few reflections will prove that its baleful tendency is little diminished by the privilege of giving in evidence the truth of the matter contained in political writings.

In the first place, where simple and naked facts alone are in question, there is sufficient difficulty in some cases, and sufficient trouble and vexation in all, of meeting a prosecution from the Government with the full and formal proof necessary in a court of law.

But in the next place, it must be obvious to the plainest minds, that opinions and inferences, and conjectural observations, are not only in many cases inseparable from the facts, but may often be more the objects of the prosecution than the facts themselves; or may even be altogether abstracted from particular facts; and that opinions, and inferences, and conjectural observations, cannot be subjects of that kind of proof which appertains to facts, before a court of law.

Again: it is no less obvious that the intent to defame, or bring into contempt, or disrepute, or hatred—which is made a condition of the offence created by the act—cannot prevent its pernicious influence on the freedom of the press. For, omitting the inquiry, how far the malice of the intent is an inference of the law from the mere publication, it is manifestly impossible to punish the intent to bring those who administer the Government into disrepute or contempt, without striking at the right of freely discussing public characters and measures; because those who engage in such discussions must expect and intend to excite these unfavorable sentiments, so far as they may be thought to be deserved. To prohibit, therefore, the intent to excite those unfavorable sentiments against those who administer the Government, is equivalent to a prohibition of the actual excitement of them; and to prohibit the actual excitement of them is equivalent to a prohibition of discussions having that tendency and effect; which, again, is equivalent to a protection of those who administer the Government, if they should at any time deserve the contempt or hatred of the people, against being exposed to it by free animadversions on their characters and conduct. Nor can there be a doubt, if those in public trust be shielded by penal laws from such strictures of the press as may expose them to contempt, or disrepute or hatred, where they may deserve it, that, in exact proportion as they may deserve to be exposed, will be the certainty and criminality of the intent to expose them, and the vigilance of prosecuting and punishing it; nor a doubt that a government thus entrenched in penal statutes against the just and natural effects of a culpable administration will easily evade the responsibility which is essential to a faithful discharge of its duty.

Let it be recollected, lastly, that the right of electing the members of the Government constitutes more particularly the essence of a free and responsible government. The value and efficacy of this right depends on the knowledge of the comparative merits and demerits of the candidates for public trust, and on the equal freedom, consequently, of examining and discussing these merits and demerits of the candidates respectively. It has been seen that a number of important elections will take place while the act is in force, although it should not be continued beyond the term to which it is limited. Should there happen, then, as is extremely probable in relation to some or other of the branches of the Government, to be competitions between those who are and those who are not members of the Government, what will be the situations of the competitors? Not equal; because the characters of the former will be covered by the Sedition Act from animadversions exposing them to disrepute among the people, whilst

the latter may be exposed to the contempt and hatred of the people without a violation of the act. What will be the situation of the people? Not free; because they will be compelled to make their election between competitors whose pretensions they are not permitted by the act equally to examine, to discuss, and to ascertain. And from both these situations will not those in power derive an undue advantage for continuing themselves in it, which, by impairing the right of election, endangers the blessings of the Government founded on it?

It is with justice, therefore, that the General Assembly have affirmed, in the resolution, as well that the right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication thereon, is the only effectual guardian of every other right, as that this particular right is leveled at by the power exercised in the Sedition Act.

The Resolution next in order is as follows:

“That this State having, by its Convention, which ratified the Federal Constitution, expressly declared that, among other essential rights, ‘the liberty of conscience and of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by any authority of the United States;’ and, from its extreme anxiety to guard these rights from every possible attack of sophistry and ambition, having, with other States, recommended an amendment for that purpose, which amendment was in due time annexed to the Constitution, it would mark a reproachful inconsistency, and criminal degeneracy, if an indifference were now shown to the most palpable violation of one of the rights thus declared and secured, and to the establishment of a precedent which may be fatal to the other.”

To place this Resolution in its just light, it will be necessary to recur to the act of ratification by Virginia, which stands in the ensuing form:

“We, the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the General Assembly and now met in Convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention, and being prepared, as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us, to decide thereon—Do, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression; and that every power not granted thereby remains with them, and at their will. That, therefore, no right of any denomination can be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by the Congress, by the Senate or House of Representatives, acting in any capacity, by the President, or any department or officer of the United States, except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution for those purposes; and that, among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by any authority of the United States.”

Here is an express and solemn declaration by the Convention of the State, that they ratified the Constitution in the sense that no right of any denomination can be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by the Government of the United States, or any part of it, except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution; and in the sense, particularly, “that among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and freedom of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by any authority of these United States.”

Words could not well express in a fuller or more forcible manner the understanding of the Convention, that the liberty of conscience and the freedom of the press were equally and completely exempted from all authority whatever of the United States.

Under an anxiety to guard more effectually these rights against every possible danger, the Convention, after ratifying the Constitution, proceeded to prefix to certain amendments proposed by them a declaration of rights, in which are two articles providing, the one for the liberty of conscience, the other for the freedom of speech and of the press.

Similar recommendations having proceeded from a number of other States, and Congress, as has been seen, having, in consequence thereof, and with a view to extend the ground of public confidence, proposed, among other declaratory and restrictive clauses, a clause expressly securing the liberty of conscience and of the press, and Virginia having concurred in the ratifications which made them a part of the Constitution, it will remain with a candid public to decide whether it would not mark an inconsistency and degeneracy, if an indifference were now shown to a palpable violation of one of those rights— the freedom of the press; and to a precedent, therein, which may be fatal to the other—the free exercise of religion.

That the precedent established by the violation of the former of these rights may, as is affirmed by the resolution, be fatal to the latter, appears to be demonstrable by a comparison of the grounds on which they respectively rest, and from the scope of reasoning by which the power over the former has been vindicated.

  1. Both of these rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press, rest equally on the original ground of not being delegated by the Constitution, and, consequently, withheld from the Government. Any construction, therefore, that would attack this original security for the one must have the like effect on the other.
  2. They are both equally secured by the supplement to the Constitution, being both included in the same amendment, made at the same time, and by the same authority. Any construction or argument, then, which would turn the amendment into a grant or acknowledgment of power with respect to the press, might be equally applied to the freedom of religion.
  3. If it be admitted that the extent of the freedom of the press secured by the amendment is to be measured by the common law on this subject, the same authority may be resorted to for the standard which is to fix the extent of the “free exercise of religion.” It cannot be necessary to say what this standard would be; whether the common law be taken solely as the unwritten, or as varied by the written law of England.
  4. If the words and phrases in the amendment are to be considered as chosen with a studied discrimination, which yields an argument for a power over the press under the limitation that its freedom be not abridged, the same argument results from the same consideration for a power over the exercise of religion, under the limitation that its freedom be not prohibited.

For if Congress may regulate the freedom of the press, provided they do not abridge it, because it is said only “they shall not abridge it,” and is not said “they shall make no law respecting it, “the analogy of reasoning is conclusive that Congress may regulate and even abridge the free exercise of religion, provided they do not prohibit it; because it is said only “they shall not prohibit it,” and is not said “they shall make no law respecting, or no law abridging it.”

The General Assembly were governed by the clearest reason, then, in considering the Sedition Act, which legislates on the freedom of the press, as establishing a precedent that may be fatal to the liberty of conscience; and it will be the duty of all, in proportion as they value the security of the latter, to take the alarm at every encroachment on the former.

The two concluding resolutions only remain to be examined. They are in the words following:

“That the good people of this Commonwealth having ever felt, and continuing to feel, the most sincere affection for their brethren of the other States, the truest anxiety for establishing and perpetuating the Union of all, and the most scrupulous fidelity to that Constitution which is the pledge of mutual friendship and the instrument of mutual happiness, the General Assembly doth solemnly appeal to the like dispositions in the other States, in confidence that they will concur with this Commonwealth in declaring, as it does hereby declare, that the acts aforesaid are unconstitutional; and that the necessary and proper measures will be taken by each for co-operating with this State in maintaining, unimpaired, the authorities, rights, and liberties reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

“That the Governor be desired to transmit a copy of the foregoing resolutions to the executive authority of each of the other States, with a request that the same may be communicated to the Legislature thereof; and that a copy be furnished to each of the Senators and Representatives representing this State in the Congress of the United States.”

The fairness and regularity of the course of proceeding here pursued have not protected it against objections even from sources too respectable to be disregarded.

It has been said that it belongs to the judiciary of the United States, and not the State Legislatures, to declare the meaning of the Federal Constitution.

But a declaration that proceedings of the Federal Government are not warranted by the Constitution is a novelty neither among the citizens nor among the Legislatures of the States; nor are the citizens or the Legislature of Virginia singular in the example of it.

Nor can the declarations of either, whether affirming or denying the constitutionality of measures of the Federal Government, or whether made before or after judicial decisions thereon, be deemed, in any point of view, an assumption of the office of the judge. The declarations in such cases are expressions of opinion, unaccompanied with any other effect than what they may produce on opinion by exciting reflection. The expositions of the judiciary, on the other hand, are carried into immediate effect by force. The former may lead to a change in the legislative expression of the general will—possibly, to a change in the opinion of the judiciary; the latter enforces the general will, whilst that will and that opinion continue unchanged.

And if there be no impropriety in declaring the unconstitutionality of proceedings in the Federal Government, where can be the impropriety of communicating the declaration to other States, and inviting their concurrence in a like declaration? What is allowable for one must be allowable for all; and a free communication among the States, where the Constitution imposes no restraint, is as allowable among the State governments as among other public bodies or private citizens. This consideration derives a weight that cannot be denied to it, from the relation of the State Legislatures to the Federal Legislature as the immediate constituents of one of its branches.

The Legislatures of the States have a right also to originate amendments to the Constitution, by a concurrence of two thirds of the whole number, in applications to Congress for the purpose. When new States are to be formed by a junction of two or more States, or parts of States, the Legislatures of the States concerned are, as well as Congress, to concur in the measure. The States have a right also to enter into agreements or compacts, with the consent of Congress. In all such cases a communication among them results from the object which is common to them.

It is, lastly, to be seen whether the confidence expressed by the resolution, that the necessary and proper measures would be taken by the other States for co-operating with Virginia in maintaining the rights reserved to the States or to the people, be in any degree liable to the objections which have been raised against it.

If it be liable to objection it must be because either the object or the means are objectionable.

The object being to maintain what the Constitution has ordained, is in itself a laudable object.

The means are expressed in the terms “the necessary and proper measures.” A proper object was to be pursued by means both necessary and proper.

To find an objection, then, it must be shown that some meaning was annexed to these general terms which was not proper; and for this purpose either that the means used by the General Assembly were an example of improper means, or that there were no proper means to which the terms could refer.

In the example given by the State of declaring the Alien and Sedition Acts to be unconstitutional, and of communicating the declaration to other States, no trace of improper means has appeared. And if the other States had concurred in making a like declaration, supported, too, by the numerous applications flowing immediately from the people, it can scarcely be doubted that these simple means would have been as sufficient as they are unexceptionable.

It is no less certain, that other means might have been employed which are strictly within the limits of the Constitution. The Legislatures of the States might have made a direct representation to Congress with a view to obtain a rescinding of the two offensive acts; or they might have represented to their respective Senators in Congress their wish that two-thirds thereof would propose an explanatory amendment to the Constitution; or two-thirds of themselves, if such had been their option, might, by an application to Congress, have obtained a Convention for the same object.

These several means, though not equally eligible in themselves, nor, probably, to the States, were all constitutionally open for consideration. And if the General Assembly, after declaring the two acts to be unconstitutional, the first and most obvious proceeding on the subject, did not undertake to point out to the other States a choice among the farther measures that might become necessary and proper, the reserve will not be misconstrued by liberal minds into any culpable imputation.

These observations appear to form a satisfactory reply to every objection which is not founded on a misconception of the terms employed in the resolutions. There is one other, however, which may be of too much importance not to be added. It cannot be forgotten, that among the arguments addressed to those who apprehend danger to liberty from the establishment of the General Government over so great a country, the appeal was emphatically made to the intermediate existence of the State governments, between the people and that Government; to the vigilance with which they would descry the first symptoms of usurpation; and to the promptitude with which they would sound the alarm to the public. This argument was probably not without its effect; and if it was a proper one then to recommend the establishment of the Constitution, it must be a proper one now to assist in its interpretation.

The only part of the two concluding resolutions that remains to be noticed is, the repetition, in the first, of that warm affection to the Union and its members, and of that scrupulous fidelity to the Constitution, which have been invariably felt by the people of this State. As the proceedings were introduced with these sentiments, they could not be more properly closed than in the same manner. Should there be any so far misled as to call in question the sincerity of these professions, whatever regret may be excited by the error, the General Assembly cannot descend into a discussion of it. Those who have listened to the suggestion can only be left to their own recollection of the part which this State has borne in the establishment of our National Independence, in the establishment of our National Constitution, and in maintaining under it the authority and laws of the Union, without a single exception of internal resistance or commotion. By recurring to these facts they will be able to convince themselves that the Representatives of the people of Virginia must be above the necessity of opposing any other shield to attacks on their national patriotism than their own conscientiousness and the justice of an enlightened public, who will perceive in the resolutions themselves the strongest evidence of attachment both to the Constitution and to the Union, since it is only by maintaining the different governments and departments within their respective limits that the blessings of either can be perpetuated.

The extensive view of the subject thus taken by the committee has led them to report to the House, as the result of the whole, the following Resolution:

Resolved, That the General Assembly having carefully and respectfully attended to the proceedings of a number of the States, in answer to their resolutions of December 21, 1798, and having accurately and fully re-examined and reconsidered the latter, find it to be their indispensable duty to adhere to the same, as founded in truth, as consonant with the Constitution, and as conducive to its preservation; and more especially to be their duty to renew, as they do hereby renew, their protest against “the Alien and Sedition Acts,” as palpable and alarming infractions of the Constitution.

Source: The Writings of James Madison: 1790-1802 by James Madison

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James Madison Encroaches upon Our Liberties by Government

James Madison Quote General Welfare

James Madison Regarding the General Welfare Clause (Click to enlarge)

ADDRESS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO THE PEOPLE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA.

Fellow-citizens,— Unwilling to shrink from our representative responsibility, conscious of the purity of our motives, but acknowledging your right to supervise our conduct, we invite your serious attention to the emergency which dictated the subjoined resolutions. Whilst we disdain to alarm you by ill-founded jealousies, we recommend an investigation, guided by the coolness of wisdom, and a decision bottomed on firmness but tempered with moderation.

It would be perfidious in those entrusted with the guardianship of the State sovereignty, and acting under the solemn obligation of the following oath, “I do swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States,” not to warn you of encroachments which, though clothed with the pretext of necessity, or disguised by arguments of expediency, may yet establish precedents which may ultimately devote a generous and unsuspicious people to all the consequences of usurped power.

Encroachments springing from a government whose organization cannot be maintained without the co-operation of the States, furnish the strongest excitements upon the State Legislatures to watchfulness, and impose upon them the strongest obligation to preserve unimpaired the line of partition.

James Madison State Rights vs Federal Government

James Madison regarding State Rights vs Federal Government (Click to enlarge)

The acquiescence of the States under infractions of the federal compact, would either beget a speedy consolidation, by precipitating the State governments into impotency and contempt; or prepare the way for a revolution, by a repetition of these infractions, until the people are roused to appear in the majesty of their strength. It is to avoid these calamities that we exhibit to the people the momentous question, whether the Constitution of the United States shall yield to a construction which defies every restraint and overwhelms the best hopes of republicanism.

Exhortations to disregard domestic usurpation, until foreign danger shall have passed, is an artifice which may be forever used; because the possessors of power, who are the advocates for its extension, can ever create national embarrassments, to be successively employed to soothe the people into sleep, whilst that power is swelling, silently, secretly, and fatally. Of the same character are insinuations of a foreign influence, which seize upon a laudable enthusiasm against danger from abroad, and distort it by an unnatural application, so as to blind your eyes against danger at home.

The sedition act presents a scene which was never expected by the early friends of the Constitution. It was then admitted that the State sovereignties were only diminished by powers specifically enumerated, or necessary to carry the specified powers into effect. Now, Federal authority is deduced from implication; and from the existence of State law, it is inferred that Congress possess a similar power of legislation; whence Congress will be endowed with a power of legislation in all cases whatsoever, and the States will be stripped of every right reserved, by the concurrent claims of a paramount Legislature.

The sedition act is the offspring of these tremendous pretensions, which inflict a death-wound on the sovereignty of the States.

For the honor of American understanding, we will not believe that the people have been allured into the adoption of the Constitution by an affectation of defining powers, whilst the Preamble would admit a construction which would erect the will of Congress into a power paramount in all cases, and therefore limited in none. On the contrary, it is evident that the objects for which the Constitution was formed were deemed attainable only by a particular enumeration and specification of each power granted to the Federal Government; reserving all others to the people, or to the States. And yet it is in vain we search for any specified power embracing the right of legislation against the freedom of the press.

Had the States been despoiled of their sovereignty by the generality of the preamble, and had the Federal Government been endowed with whatever they should judge to be instrumental towards union, justice, tranquility, common defense, general welfare, and the preservation of liberty, nothing could have been more frivolous than an enumeration of powers.

It is vicious in the extreme to calumniate meritorious public servants; but it is both artful and vicious to arouse the public indignation against calumny in order to conceal usurpation. Calumny is forbidden by the laws, usurpation by the Constitution. Calumny injures individuals, usurpation, States. Calumny may be redressed by the common judicatures; usurpation can only be controlled by the act of society. Ought usurpation, which is most mischievous, to be rendered less hateful by calumny, which, though injurious, is in a degree less pernicious? But the laws for the correction of calumny were not defective. Every libelous writing or expression might receive its punishment in the State courts, from juries summoned by an officer, who does not receive his appointment from the President, and is under no influence to court the pleasure of Government, whether it injured public officers or private citizens. Nor is there any distinction in the Constitution empowering Congress exclusively to punish calumny directed against an officer of the General Government; so that a construction assuming the power of protecting the reputation of a citizen officer will extend to the case of any other citizen, and open to Congress a right of legislation in every conceivable case which can arise between individuals.

In answer to this, it is urged that every Government possesses an inherent power of self-preservation, entitling it to do whatever it shall judge necessary for that purpose.

This is a repetition of the doctrine of implication and expediency in different language, and admits of a similar and decisive answer, namely, that as the powers of Congress are defined, powers inherent, implied, or expedient, are obviously the creatures of ambition; because the care expended in defining powers would otherwise have been superfluous. Powers extracted from such sources will be indefinitely multiplied by the aid of armies and patronage, which, with the impossibility of controlling them by any demarcation, would presently terminate reasoning, and ultimately swallow up the State sovereignties.

So insatiable is a love of power that it has resorted to a distinction between the freedom and licentiousness of the press for the purpose of converting the third amendment of the Constitution, which was dictated by the most lively anxiety to preserve that freedom, into an instrument for abridging it. Thus usurpation even justifies itself by a precaution against usurpation; and thus an amendment universally designed to quiet every fear is adduced as the source of an act which has produced general terror and alarm.

The distinction between liberty and licentiousness is still a repetition of the Protean doctrine of implication, which is ever ready to work its ends by varying its shape. By its help, the judge as to what is licentious may escape through any constitutional restriction. Under it men of a particular religious opinion might be excluded from office, because such exclusion would not amount to an establishment of religion, and because it might be said that their opinions are licentious. And under it Congress might denominate a religion to be heretical and licentious, and proceed to its suppression. Remember that precedents once established are so much positive power; and that the nation which reposes on the pillow of political confidence, will sooner or later end its political existence in a deadly lethargy. Remember, also, that it is to the press mankind are indebted for having dispelled the clouds which long encompassed religion, for disclosing her genuine luster, and disseminating her salutary doctrines.

The sophistry of a distinction between the liberty and the licentiousness of the press is so forcibly exposed in a late memorial from our late envoys to the Minister of the French Republic, that we here present it to you in their own words:

“The genius of the Constitution, and the opinion of the people of the United States, cannot be overruled by those who administer the Government. Among those principles deemed sacred in America, among those sacred rights considered as forming the bulwark of their liberty, which the Government contemplates with awful reverence and would approach only with the most cautious circumspection, there is no one of which the importance is more deeply impressed on the public mind than the liberty of the press. That this liberty is often carried to excess; that it has sometimes degenerated into licentiousness, is seen and lamented, but the remedy has not yet been discovered. Perhaps it is an evil inseparable from the good with which it is allied; perhaps it is a shoot which cannot be stripped from the stalk without wounding vitally the plant from which it is torn. However desirable those measures might be which might correct without enslaving the press, they have never yet been devised in America. No regulations exist which enable the Government to suppress whatever calumnies or invectives any individual may choose to offer to the public eye, or to punish such calumnies and invectives otherwise than by a legal prosecution in courts which are alike open to all who consider themselves as injured.”

As if we were bound to look for security from the personal probity of Congress amidst the frailties of man, and not from the barriers of the Constitution, it has been urged that the accused under the sedition act is allowed to prove the truth of the charge. This argument will not for a moment disguise the unconstitutionality of the act, if it be recollected that opinions as well as facts are made punishable, and that the truth of an opinion is not susceptible of proof. By subjecting the truth of opinion to the regulation, fine, and imprisonment, to be inflicted by those who are of a different opinion, the free range of the human mind is injuriously restrained. The sacred obligations of religion flow from the due exercise of opinion, in the solemn discharge of which man is accountable to his God alone; yet, under this precedent the truth of religion itself may be ascertained, and its pretended licentiousness punished by a jury of a different creed from that held by the person accused. This law, then, commits the double sacrilege of arresting reason in her progress towards perfection, and of placing in a state of danger the free exercise of religious opinions. But where does the Constitution allow Congress to create crimes and inflict punishment, provided they allow the accused to exhibit evidence in his defense? This doctrine, united with the assertion, that sedition is a common law offence, and therefore within the correcting power of Congress, opens at once the hideous volumes of penal law, and turns loose upon us the utmost invention of insatiable malice and ambition, which, in all ages, have debauched morals, depressed liberty, shackled religion, supported despotism, and deluged the scaffold with blood.

All the preceding arguments, arising from a deficiency of constitutional power in Congress, apply to the alien act; and this act is liable to other objections peculiar to itself. If a suspicion that aliens are dangerous constitute the justification of that power exercised over them by Congress, then a. similar suspicion will justify the exercise of a similar power over natives; because there is nothing in the Constitution distinguishing between the power of a State to permit the residence of natives and of aliens. It is, therefore, a right originally possessed, and never surrendered, by the respective States, and which is rendered dear and valuable to Virginia, because it is assailed through the bosom of the Constitution, and because her peculiar situation renders the easy admission of artisans and laborers an interest of vast importance.

But this bill contains other features, still more alarming and dangerous. It dispenses with the trial by jury; it violates the judicial system; it confounds legislative, executive, and judicial powers; it punishes without trial; and it bestows upon the President despotic power over a numerous class of men. Are such measures consistent with our constitutional principles? And will an accumulation of power so extensive in the hands of the Executive, over aliens, secure to natives the blessings of republican liberty?

If measures can mold governments, and if an uncontrolled power of construction is surrendered to those who administer them, their progress may be easily foreseen, and their end easily foretold. A lover of monarchy, who opens the treasures of corruption by distributing emolument among devoted partisans, may at the same time be approaching his object and deluding the people with professions of republicanism. He may confound monarchy and republicanism, by the art of definition. He may varnish over the dexterity which ambition never fails to display, with the pliancy of language, the seduction of expediency, or the prejudices of the times; and he may come at length to avow that so extensive a territory as that of the United States can only be governed by the energies of monarchy; that it cannot be defended, except by standing armies; and that it cannot be united except by consolidation.

Measures have already been adopted which may lead to these consequences. They consist—

In fiscal systems and arrangements, which keep a host of commercial and wealthy individuals embodied, and obedient to the mandates of the treasury.

In armies and navies, which will, on the one hand, enlist the tendency of man to pay homage to his fellow-creature who can feed or honor him; and on the other, employ the principle of fear, by punishing imaginary insurrections, under the pretext of preventive justice.

In the extensive establishment of a volunteer militia, rallied together by a political creed, armed and officered by executive power, so as to deprive the States of their constitutional right to appoint militia officers, and to place the great bulk of the people in a defenseless situation.

In swarms of officers, civil and military, who can inculcate political tenets tending to consolidation and monarchy both by indulgencies and severities; and can act as spies over the free exercise of human reason.

In destroying, by the sedition act, the responsibility of public servants and public measures to the people, thus retrograding towards the exploded doctrine “ that the administrators of the Government are the masters, and not the servants, of the people,” and exposing America, which acquired the honor of taking the lead among nations towards perfecting political principles, to the disgrace of returning first to ancient ignorance and barbarism.

In exercising a power of depriving apportion of the people of that representation in Congress bestowed by the Constitution.

In the adoration and efforts of some known to be rooted in enmity to Republican Government, applauding and supporting measures by every contrivance calculated to take advantage of the public confidence, which is allowed to be ingenious, but will be fatally injurious.

In transferring to the Executive important legislative powers; particularly the power of raising armies, and borrowing money without limitation of interest.

In restraining the freedom of the press, and investing the Executive with legislative, executive, and judicial powers, over a numerous body of men.

And, that we may shorten the catalog, in establishing, by successive precedents, such a mode of construing the Constitution as will rapidly remove every restraint upon Federal power.

Let history be consulted; let the man of experience reflect: nay, let the artificers of monarchy be asked what further materials they can need for building up their favorite system.

These are solemn but painful truths; and yet we recommend it to you not to forget the possibility of danger from without, although danger threatens us from within. Usurpation is indeed dreadful; but against foreign invasion, if that should happen, let us rise with hearts and hands united, and repel the attack with the zeal of freemen who will strengthen their title to examine and correct domestic measures, by having defended their country against foreign aggression.

Pledged as we are, fellow-citizens, to these sacred engagements, we yet humbly and fervently implore the Almighty Disposer of events to avert from our land war and usurpation, the scourges of mankind; to permit our fields to be cultivated in peace; to instill into nations the love of friendly intercourse; to suffer our youth to be educated in virtue, and to preserve our morality from the pollution invariably incident to habits of war; to prevent the laborer and husbandman from being harassed by taxes and imposts; to remove from ambition the means of disturbing the commonwealth; to annihilate all pretexts for power afforded by war; to maintain the Constitution; and to bless our nation with tranquility, under whose benign influence we may reach the summit of happiness and glory, to which we are destined by nature and nature’s God.

Attest: JOHN STEWART, C. H. D. 1799, January 23. Agreed to by the Senate. H. BROOKE, C. S.

A true copy from the original deposited in the office of the General Assembly. JOHN STEWART, Keeper of Rolls.

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James Madison Amendments to the Constitution 1789

James Madison Concerning the General Welfare Clause (Click to enlarge)

James Madison Concerning the General Welfare Clause (Click to enlarge)

[Editor’s Note: This should be read in conjunction with this and this:]

James Madison Amendments to the Constitution: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; June 8, 1789

I am sorry to be accessory to the loss of a single moment of time by the House. If I had been indulged in my motion, and we had gone into a Committee of the whole, I think we might have rose and resumed the consideration of other business before this time; that is, so far as it depended upon what I proposed to bring forward. As that mode seems not to give satisfaction, I will withdraw the motion, and move you, sir, that a select committee be appointed to consider and report such amendments as are proper for Congress to propose to the Legislatures of the several States, conformably to the fifth article of the constitution.

I will state my reasons why I think it proper to propose amendments, and state the amendments themselves, so far as I think they ought to be proposed. If I thought I could fulfil the duty which I owe to myself and my constituents, to let the subject pass over in silence, I most certainly should not trespass upon the indulgence of this House. But I cannot do this, and am therefore compelled to beg a patient hearing to what I have to lay before you. And I do most sincerely believe, that if Congress will devote but one day to this subject, so far as to satisfy the public that we do not disregard their wishes, it will have a salutary influence on the public councils, and prepare the way fur a favorable reception of our future measures. It appears to me that this House is bound by every motive of prudence, not to let the first session pass over without proposing to the State Legislatures some things to be incorporated into the constitution, that will render it as acceptable to the whole people of the United States, as it has been found acceptable to a majority of them. I wish, among other reasons why something should be done, that those who have been friendly to the adoption of this constitution may have the opportunity of proving to those who were opposed to it that they were as sincerely devoted to liberty and a Republican Government, as those who charged them with wishing the adoption of this constitution in order to lay the foundation of an aristocracy or despotism. It will be a desirable thing to extinguish from the bosom of every member of the community, any apprehensions that there are those among his countrymen who wish to deprive them of the liberty for which they valiantly fought and honorably bled. And if there are amendments desired of such a nature as will not injure the constitution, and they can be ingrafted so as to give satisfaction to the doubting part of our fellow-citizens, the friends of the Federal Government will evince that spirit of deference and concession for which they have hitherto been distinguished.

It cannot be a secret to the gentlemen in this House, that, notwithstanding the ratification of this system of Government by eleven of the thirteen united States, in some cases unanimously, in others by large majorities; yet still there is a great number of our constituents who are dissatisfied with it; among whom are many respectable for their talents and patriotism, and respectable for the jealousy they have for their liberty, which, though mistaken in its object, is laudable in its motive. ‘There is a great body of the people falling under this description, who at present are much inclined to join their support to the cause of Federalism, if they were satisfied on this one point. We ought not to disregard their inclination, but, on principles of amity and moderation, conform to their wishes, and expressly declare the great rights of mankind secured under this constitution. The acquiescence which our fellow-citizens show under the Government, calls upon us for a like return of moderation. But perhaps there is a stronger motive than this for our going into a consideration of the subject. It is to provide those securities for liberty which are required by a part of the community; I allude in a particular manner to those two States that have not thought fit to throw themselves into the bosom of the Confederacy, It is a desirable thing, on our part as well as theirs, that a re-union should take place as soon as possible. I have no doubt, if we proceed to take those steps which would be prudent and requisite at this juncture, that in a short time we should see that disposition prevailing in those States which have not come in, that we have seen prevailing in those States which have embraced the constitution.

But I will candidly acknowledge, that, over and above all these considerations, I do conceive that the constitution may be amended; that is to say, if all power is subject to abuse, that then it is possible the abuse of the powers of the General [Federal] Government may be guarded against in a more secure manner than is now done, while no one advantage arising from the exercise of that power shall be damaged or endangered by it. We have in this way something to gain, and, if we proceed with caution, nothing to lose. And in this case it is necessary to proceed with caution; for while we. feel all these inducements to go into a revisal of the constitution, we must feel for the constitution itself, and make that revisal a moderate one. I should be unwilling to see a door opened fur a reconsideration of the whole structure of the Government—for are consideration of the principles and the substance of the powers given; because I doubt, if such a door were opened, we should be very likely to stop at that point which would be safe to the Government itself. But I do wish to see a door opened to consider, so far as to incorporate those provisions for the security of rights, against which I believe no serious objection has been made by any class of our constituents: such as would be likely to meet with the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses, and the approbation of three-fourths of the State Legislatures. I will not propose a single alteration which I do not wish to see take place, as intrinsically proper in itself, or proper because it is wished for by a respectable number of my fellow-citizens; and therefore I shall not propose a single alteration but is likely to meet the concurrence required by the constitution. There have been objections of various kinds made against the constitution. Some were levelled against its structure because the President was without a council; because the Senate, which is a legislative body, had judicial powers in trials on impeachments; and because the powers of that body were compounded in other respects, in a manner that did not correspond with a particular theory; because it grants more power than is supposed to be necessary for every good purpose, and controls the ordinary powers of the State Governments, I know some respectable characters who opposed this [Federal] Government on these grounds; but I believe that the great mass of the people who opposed it, disliked it because it did not contain effectual provisions against encroachments on particular rights, and those safeguards which they have been long accustomed to have interposed between them and the magistrate who exercises the sovereign power; nor ought we to consider them safe, while a great number of our fellow citizens think these securities necessary.

It is a fortunate thing that the objection to the Government has been made on the ground I stated; because it will be practicable, on that ground, to obviate the objection, so far as to satisfy the public mind that their liberties will be perpetual, and this without endangering any part of the constitution, which is considered as essential to the existence of the Government by those who promoted its adoption.

The amendments which have occurred to me, proper to be recommended by Congress to the State Legislatures, are these: First, That there be prefixed to the constitution a declaration, that all power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people.

That Government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their Government, whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution.

Secondly. That in article 1st, section 2, clause 3, these words be struck out, to wit: “The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State shall have at least one Representative, and until such enumeration shall be made;” and that in place thereof be inserted these words, to wit: “After the first actual enumeration, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number amounts to after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that the number shall never be less than­­­­_______, nor more than_______, but each State shall, after the first enumeration, have at least two Representatives; and prior thereto.”

Thirdly. That in article 1st, section 6, clause 1, there be added to the end of the first sentence, these words, to wit: ”But no law varying the compensation last ascertained shall operate before the next ensuing election of Representatives.”

Fourthly. That in article 1st, section 9, between clauses 3 and 4, be inserted these clauses, to wit: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.

The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.

The people shall not be restrained from peaceably assembling and consulting for their common good; nor from applying to the Legislature by petitions, or remonstrances, for redress of their grievances.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor at any time, but in a manner warranted by law.

No person shall be subject, except in cases of impeachment, to more than one punishment or one trial for the same offence; nor shall be compelled to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor be obliged to relinquish his property, where it may be necessary for public use, without a just compensation.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The rights of the people to be secured in their persons; their houses, their papers, and their other property, from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, or not particularly describing the places to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the cause and nature of the accusation, to be confronted with his accusers, and the witnesses against him; to have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

The exceptions here or elsewhere in the constitution, made in favor of particular rights, shall not be so construed as to diminish the just importance of other rights retained by the people, or as to enlarge the powers delegated by the constitution; but either as actual limitations of such powers, or as inserted merely for greater caution.

Fifthly. That in article 1st, section 10, between clauses 1 and 2, be inserted this clause, to wit:

No State shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases.

Sixthly. That, in article 3d, section 2, be annexed to the end of clause 2d, these words, to wit:

But no appeal to such court shall be allowed where the value in controversy shall not amount to dollars________: nor shall any fact triable by jury, according to the course of common law, be otherwise re-examinable than may consist with the principles of common law.

Seventhly. That in article 3d, section 2, the third clause be struck out, and in its place be inserted the clauses following, to wit:

The trial of all crimes (except in cases of impeachments, and cases arising in the land or naval forces, or the militia when on actual service, in time of war or public danger) shall be by an impartial jury of freeholders of the vicinage [vicinity], with the requisite of unanimity for conviction, of the right of challenge, and other accustomed requisites; and in all crimes punishable with loss of life or member, presentment or indictment by a grand jury shall be an essential preliminary, provided that in cases of crimes committed within any county which may be in possession of an enemy, or in which a general insurrection may prevail, the trial may by law be authorized in some other county of the same State, as near as may be to the seat of the offence.

In cases of crimes committed not within any county, the trial may by law be in such county as the laws shall have prescribed. In suits of common law, between man and man, the trial by jury, as one of the best securities to the rights of the people, ought to remain inviolate.

Eighthly. That immediately after article 6th, be inserted, as article 7th, the clauses following to wit:

The powers delegated by this constitution are appropriated to the departments to which they are respectively distributed: so that the legislative department shall never exercise the powers vested in the executive or judicial nor the executive exercise the powers vested in the legislative or judicial, nor the judicial exercise the powers vested in the legislative or executive departments.

The powers not delegated by this constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively.

Ninthly. That article 7th be numbered as article 8th. ,

The first of these amendments relates to what may be called a bill of rights. I will own that I never considered this provision, so essential to the federal constitution, as to make it improper to ratify it, until such an amendment was added; at the same time, I always conceived, that in a certain form, and to a certain extent, such a provision was neither improper nor altogether useless. I am aware, that a great number of the most respectable friends to the Government, and champions for republican liberty, have thought such a provision, not only unnecessary, but even improper; nay, I believe some have gone so far as to think it even dangerous. Some policy has been made use of, perhaps, by gentlemen on both sides of the question: I acknowledge the ingenuity of those arguments which were drawn against the constitution, by a comparison with the policy of Great Britain, in establishing a declaration of rights; bat there is too great a difference in the case to warrant the comparison: therefore, the arguments drawn from that source were in a great measure inapplicable. In the declaration of rights which that country has established, the truth is, they have gone no farther than to raise a barrier against the power of the Crown; the power of the Legislature is left altogether indefinite. Although I know whenever the great rights, the trial by jury, freedom of the press, or liberty of conscience, come in question in that body, the invasion of them is resisted by able advocates, yet their Magna Charta does not contain any one provision for the security of those rights, respecting which the people of America are most alarmed. The freedom of the press and rights of conscience, those choicest privileges of the people, are unguarded in the British constitution.

But although the case may be widely different, and it may not be thought necessary to provide limits for the legislative power in that country, yet a different opinion prevails in the United States. The people of many States have thought it necessary to raise barriers against power in all forms and departments of Government, and I am inclined to believe, if once bills of rights are established in all the States as well as the federal constitution, we shall find that although some of them are rather unimportant, yet, upon the whole, they will have a salutary tendency.

It may be said, in some instances, they do no more than state the perfect equality of mankind. This, to be sure, is an absolute truth, yet it is not absolutely necessary to be inserted at the head of a constitution.

In some instances they assert those rights which are exercised by the people in forming and establishing a plan of Government. In other instances, they specify those rights which arc retained when particular powers are given up to be exercised by the Legislature. In other instances, they specify positive rights, which may seem to result from the nature of the compact. Trial by jury cannot be considered as a natural right, but a right resulting from a social compact which regulates the action of the community, but is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature. In other instances, they lay down dogmatic maxims with respect to the construction of the Government: declaring that the legislative, executive, and judicial branches shall be kept separate and distinct. Perhaps the best way of securing this in practice is, to provide such checks as will prevent the encroachment of the one upon the other.

But whatever maybe the form which the several States have adopted in making declarations in favor of particular rights, the great object in view is to limit and qualify the powers of Government, by excepting out of the grant of power those cases in which the Government ought not to act, or to act only in a particular mode. They point these exceptions sometimes against the abuse of the executive power, sometimes against the legislative, and, in some cases, against the community itself; or, in other words, against the majority in favor of the minority.

In our Government it is, perhaps, less necessary to guard against the abuse in the executive department than any other; because it is not the stronger branch of the system, but the weaker: It therefore must be levelled against the legislative, for it is the most powerful, and most likely to be abused, because it is under the least control. Hence, so far as a declaration of rights can tend to prevent the exercise of undue power, it cannot be doubted but such declaration is proper. But I confess that I do conceive, that in a Government modified like this of the United States, the great danger lies rather in the abuse of the community than in the legislative body. The prescriptions in favor of liberty ought to be levelled against that quarter where the greatest danger lies, namely, that which possesses the highest prerogative of power. But this is not found in either the executive or legislative departments of Government, but in the body of the people, operating by the majority against the minority.

It may be thought that all paper barriers against the power of the community are too weak to be worthy of attention. I am sensible they are not so strong as to satisfy gentlemen of every description who have seen and examined thoroughly the texture of such a defence; yet, as they have a tendency to impress some degree of respect for them, to establish the public opinion in their favor, and rouse the attention of the whole community, it may be one means to control the majority from those acts to which they might be otherwise inclined.

It has been said, by way of objection to a bill of rights, by many respectable gentlemen out of doors and I find opposition on the same principles likely to be made by gentlemen on this floor, that they are unnecessary articles of a Republican Government, upon the presumption that the people have those rights in their own hands, and that is the proper place for them to rest. It would be a sufficient answer to say, that this objection lies against such provisions under the State Governments, as well as under the General Government? and there are, I believe, but few gentlemen who are inclined to push their theory so far as to say that a declaration of rights in those cases is either ineffectual or improper. It has been said, that in the Federal Government they are unnecessary, because the powers are enumerated, and it follows, that all that are not granted by the constitution are retained; that the constitution is a bill of powers, the great residuum being the rights of the people; and, therefore, a bill of rights cannot be so necessary as if the residuum was thrown into the hands of the Government. I admit that these arguments are not entirely without foundation; but they are not conclusive to the extent which has been supposed. It is true, the powers of the General Government are circumscribed, they are directed to particular objects; but even if Government keeps within those limits, it has certain discretionary powers with respect to the means, which may admit of abuse to a certain extent, in the same manner as the powers of the State Governments under their constitutions may to an indefinite extent; because in the constitution of the United States, there is a clause granting to Congress the power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution all the powers vested in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof; this enables them to fulfil every purpose for which the Government was established. Now, may not laws be considered necessary and proper by Congress, for it is for them to judge of the necessity and propriety to accomplish those special purposes which they may have in contemplation, which laws in themselves are neither necessary nor proper; as well as improper laws could be enacted by the State Legislatures, for fulfilling the more extended objects of those Governments. I will state an instance, which I think in point, and proves that this might be the case. The General Government has a right to pass all laws which shall be necessary to collect its revenue; the means for enforcing the collection are within the direction of the Legislature: may not general warrants be considered necessary for this purpose, as well as for some purposes which it was supposed at the framing of their constitutions the State Governments had in view? If there was reason for restraining the State Governments from exercising this power, there is like reason for restraining the Federal Government.

It may be said, indeed it has been said, that a bill of rights is not necessary, because the establishment of this Government has not repealed those declarations of rights which are added to the several State constitutions; that those rights of the people, which had been established by the most solemn act, could not be annihilated by a subsequent act of that people, who meant, and declared at the head of the instrument, that they ordained and established a new system, for the express purpose of securing to themselves and posterity the liberties they had gained by an arduous conflict.

I admit the force of this observation but I do not look upon it to be conclusive. In the first place, it is too uncertain ground to leave this provision upon, if a provision is at all necessary to secure rights so important as many of those I have mentioned are conceived to be, by the public in general, as well as those in particular who opposed the adoption of this constitution. Besides, some Slates have no bills of rights, there are others provided with very defective ones, and there are others whose bills of rights are not only defective, but absolutely improper; instead of securing some in the full extent which republican principles would require, they limit them too much to agree with the common ideas of liberty.

It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in (hat enumeration; and it might follow, by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General [Federal] Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard urged against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution.

It has been said, that it is unnecessary to load the constitution with this provision, because it was not found effectual in the constitution of the particular States. It is true, there are a few particular States in which some of the most valuable articles have not, at one time or other, been violated; but it does not follow but they may have, to a certain degree, a salutary effect against the abuse of power. If they are incorporated into the constitution, independent tribunals of justice will consider themselves in a peculiar manner the guardians of those rights; they will be an impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the legislative or executive; they will be naturally led to resist every encroachment upon rights expressly stipulated for in the constitution by the declaration of Rights. Besides this security, there is a great probability that such a declaration in the federal system would be enforced; because the Slate Legislatures will jealously and closely watch the operations of this Government, and be able, to resist with more effect every assumption of power, than any other power on earth can do; and the greatest opponents to a Federal Government admit the State Legislatures to be sure guardians of the people’s liberty. I conclude, from this view of the subject, that it will be proper in itself, and highly politic, for the tranquillity of the public mind, and the stability of the Government, that we should offer something, in the form I have proposed, to be incorporated in the system of Government, as a declaration of the rights of the people.

In the next place, I wish to see that part of the constitution revised which declares that the number of Representatives shall not exceed the proportion of one for every thirty thousand persons, and allows one Representative to every State which rates below that proportion. If we attend to the discussion of this subject, which has taken place in the State conventions, and even in the opinion of the friends to the constitution, an alteration here is proper. It is the sense of the people of America, that the number of Representatives ought to be increased, but particularly that it should not be left in the discretion of the Government to diminish them, below that proportion which certainly is in the power of the Legislature as the constitution now stands; and they may, as the population of the country increases, increase the House of Representatives to a very unwieldy degree. I confess I always thought this part of the constitution defective, though not dangerous; and that it ought to be particularly attended to whenever Congress should go into the consideration of amendments.

There are several minor cases enumerated in my proposition, in which I wish also to see some alteration take place. That article which leaves it in the power of the Legislature to ascertain its own emolument, is one to which I allude. I do not believe this is a power which, in the ordinary course of Government, is likely to be abused. Perhaps of all the powers granted, it is least likely to abuse; but there is a seeming impropriety in leaving any set of men without control to put their hand into the public coffers, to take out money to put in their pockets; there is a seeming in decorum in such power, which leads me to propose a change. We have a guide to this alteration in several of the amendments which the different conventions have proposed. I have gone, therefore, so far as to fix it, (hat no law, varying the compensation, shall operate until there is a change in the Legislature; in which case it cannot be for the particular benefit of those who are concerned in determining the value of the service.

I wish also, in revising the constitution, we may throw into that section, which interdicts the abuse of certain powers in the State Legislatures, some other provisions of equal, if not greater importance than those already made. The words, “No Slate shall pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law,” &c. were wise and proper restrict ions in the constitution. I think there is more danger of those powers being abused by the State Governments than by the Government of the United States. The same may be said of other powers which they possess, if not controlled by the general principle, that laws are unconstitutional which infringe the rights of the community. I should therefore wish to extend this interdiction, and add, as I have stated in the 5th resolution, that no Stale ..shall violate the equal right of conscience, freedom of the press, or trial by jury in criminal cases; because it is proper that every Government should be disarmed of powers which trench upon those particular rights. 1 know, in some of the State constitutions, the power of the Government is controlled by such a declaration; but others are not. I cannot see any reason against obtaining even a double security on those points; and nothing can give a more sincere proof of the attachment of those who opposed this constitution to these great and important rights, than to see them join in obtaining the security I have now proposed; because it must be admitted, on all hands, that the Slate Governments are as liable to attack these invaluable privileges as the General Government is, and therefore ought to be as cautiously guarded against.

I think it will be proper, with respect to the judiciary powers, to satisfy the public mind on those points which I have mentioned. Great inconvenience has been apprehended to suitors from the distance they would be dragged to obtain justice in the Supreme Court of the United States, upon an appeal on an action for a small debt. To remedy this, declare that no appeal shall be made unless the matter in controversy amounts to a particular sum; this, with the regulations respecting jury trials in criminal cases, and suits at common law, it is to be hoped, will quiet and reconcile the minds of the people to that part of the constitution.

I find, from looking into the amendments proposed by the State conventions, that several are particularly anxious that it should be declared in the constitution, that the powers not therein delegated should be reserved to the several Stales. Perhaps words which may define (his more precisely than the whole of the instrument now does, may be considered as superfluous. I admit they may be deemed unnecessary; but there can be no harm in making such a declaration, if gentlemen will allow that the fact is as stated. I am sure I understand it so, and do therefore propose it.

These are the points on which I wish to see a revision of the constitution lake place. How far they will accord with the sense of this body, I cannot take upon me absolutely to determine; but I believe every gentleman will readily admit that nothing is in contemplation, so far as I have mentioned, that can endanger the beauty of the Government in any one important feature, even in the eyes of its most sanguine admirers. I have proposed nothing that does not appear to me as proper in itself, or eligible as patronized by a respectable number of our fellow-citizens; and it we can make the constitution better in the opinion of those who are opposed to it, without weakening its frame, or abridging its usefulness, in the judgment of those who are attached to it, we act the part of wise and liberal men to make such alterations as shall produce that effect.

Having done what I conceived was ray duty, in bringing before this House the subject of amendment?, and also stated such as I wish for and approve, and offered the reasons which occurred to me in their support, I shall content myself, for the present, with moving “that a committee be appointed to consider of and report such amendments as ought to be proposed by Congress to the Legislatures of the States, to become, if ratified by three-fourths thereof, part of the constitution of the United States.” By agreeing to (his motion, the subject may be going on in the committee, while other important business is proceeding to a conclusion in the House. I should advocate greater despatch in the business of amendments, if I were not convinced of the absolute necessity there is of pursuing the organization of the Government; because I think we should obtain the confidence of our fellow-citizens, in proportion as we fortify the rights of the people against the encroachments of the Government.

 

AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION: Debates; Saturday, August 15, 1789

The House again went into a Committee of the whole on the proposed amendments to the constitution, Mr. Boudinot in the chair.

The fourth proposition being under consideration, as follows:

Article 1. Section 9. Between paragraphs two and three insert ” no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.”

Sylvester had some doubts of the propriety of the mode of expression used in this paragraph. He” apprehended that it was liable to a construction different from what had been made by the committee. He feared it might be thought to have a tendency to abolish religion altogether.

Vining suggested the propriety of transposing the two members of the sentence.

Gerry said it would read better if it was, that no religious doctrine shall be established by law.

Sherman thought the amendment altogether unnecessary, inasmuch as Congress had no authority whatever delegated to them by the constitution to make religious establishments; he would, therefore, move to have it struck out.

Carroll.—As the rights of conscience are, in their nature, of peculiar delicacy, and will little bear the gentlest touch of governmental hand; and as many sects have concurred in opinion that they are not well secured under the present constitution, he slid he was much in favor of adopting the word!. He thought it would tend more towards conciliating the minds of the people to the Government than almost any other amendment he had heard proposed. He would not content with gentlemen about the phraseology, his object was to secure the substance in such a manner as to satisfy the wishes of the honest part of the community.

Madison said, he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enf’orce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience. Whether the words are necessary or not, he did not mean to say, but they had been required by some of the State Conventions, who seemed to entertain an opinion that under the clause of the constitution, which gave power to Congress to mate all laws necessary and proper to carry into execution the constitution, and the laws made under it, enabled them to make laws of such a nature as might infringe the rights of conscience, and establish a national religion; to prevent these effects he presumed the amendment was intended, and he thought it as well expressed as the nature of the language would admit.

Huntington said that he feared, with the gentleman first up on this subject, that the words might be taken in such latitude as to be extremely hurtful to the cause of religion. He understood the amendment to mean what had been expressed by the gentleman from Virginia; but others might find it convenient to put another construction upon it. The ministers of their congregations to the Eastward were maintained by the contributions of those who belonged to their society; the expense of building meeting-houses was contributed in the same manner. These things were regulated by by-laws. If an action was brought before a Federal Court on any of these cases, the person who had neglected to perform his engagements could not be compelled to do it; for a support of ministers, or building of places of worship might be construed into a religious establishment.

By the charter of Rhode Island, no religion could be established by law; he could give a history of the effects of such a regulation; indeed the people were now enjoying the blessed fruits of it. He hoped, therefore, the amendment would be made in such a way as to secure the rights of conscience, and a free exercise of the rights of religion, but not to patronize those who professed no religion at all.

Madison thought, if the word national was inserted before religion, it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen. He believed that the people feared one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combine together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform. He thought if the word national was introduced, it would point the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent.

[Note: States at the time had Established State Religions; Virginia; Anglican i.e. Church of England (fn1): New York; Anglican, Church of England (fn2): Massachusetts; Congregationalist Church (fn3): Maryland; Anglican, Church of England (fn4): Delaware; No State sponsored church (fn5): Connecticut; Congregationalist Church (fn6): New Hampshire; Congregationalist Church (fn7): Rhode Island; No State sponsored church (fn8): Georgia; No State sponsored church (fn9): North Carolina; Anglican, Church of England (fn10): South Carolina; Anglican, Church of England (fn11): Pennsylvania; No State sponsored church (fn12): New Jersey No State sponsored church

Livermore was not satisfied with that amendment; but he did not wish them to dwell long on the subject He thought it would be better if it was altered, and made to read in this mariner, that Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.

Gerry did not like the term national, proposed by the gentleman from Virginia, and he hoped it would not be adopted by the House. It brought to his mind some observations that had taken place in the conventions at the time they were considering the present constitution. It had been insisted upon by those who were called antifederalists, that this form of Government consolidated the Union; the honorable gentleman’s motion shows that he considers it in the same light. Those who were called antifederalists at that time complained that they had injustice done them by the title, because they were in favor of a Federal Government, and the others were in favor of a national one; the federalists were for ratifying the constitution as it stood, and the others not until amendments were made. Their names then ought not to have been distinguished by federalists and antifederalists, but rats and antirats.

Madison withdrew his motion, but observed that the words “no national religion shall be established by law,” did not imply that the Government was a national one; the question was then taken on Mr. Livermore’s motion, and passed in the affirmative, thirtyone for, and twenty against it.

James Madison Concerning the Bill of Rights (Click to enlarge)

James Madison Concerning the Bill of Rights (Click to enlarge)

Madison’s Report on the Resolutions of Congress; House of Delegates: 1799-1800

[Excerpt concerning the Bill of Rights]

“That this State having, by its Convention, which ratified the Federal Constitution, expressly declared that, among other essential rights, ‘the liberty of conscience and of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by any authority of the United States;’ and, from its extreme anxiety to guard these rights from every possible attack of sophistry and ambition, having, with other States, recommended an amendment for that purpose, which amendment was in due time annexed to the Constitution, it would mark a reproachful inconsistency, and criminal degeneracy, if an indifference were now shown to the most palpable violation of one of the rights thus declared and secured, and to the establishment of a precedent which may be fatal to the other.”

To place this Resolution in its just light, it will be necessary to recur to the act of ratification by Virginia, which stands in the ensuing form:

“We, the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the General Assembly and now met in Convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention, and being prepared, as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us, to decide thereon—Do, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression; and that every power not granted thereby remains with them, and at their will. That, therefore, no right of any denomination can be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by the Congress, by the Senate or House of Representatives, acting in any capacity, by the President, or any department or officer of the United States, except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution for those purposes; and that, among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by any authority of the United States.”

Here is an express and solemn declaration by the Convention of the State, that they ratified the Constitution in the sense that no right of any denomination can be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by the Government of the United States, or any part of it, except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution; and in the sense, particularly, “that among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and freedom of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by any authority of the United States.”

Words could not well express in a fuller or more forcible manner the understanding of the Convention, that the liberty of conscience and the freedom of the press were equally and completely exempted from all authority whatever of the United States.

Under an anxiety to guard more effectually these rights against every possible danger, the Convention, after ratifying the Constitution, proceeded to prefix to certain amendments proposed by them a declaration of rights, in which are two articles providing, the one for the liberty of conscience, the other for the freedom of speech and of the press.

Similar recommendations having proceeded from a number of other States, and Congress, as has been seen, having, in consequence thereof, and with a view to extend the ground of public confidence, proposed, among other declaratory and restrictive clauses, a clause expressly securing the liberty of conscience and of the press, and Virginia having concurred in the ratifications which made them a part of the Constitution, it will remain with a candid public to decide whether it would not mark an inconsistency and degeneracy, if an indifference were now shown to a palpable violation of one of those rights— the freedom of the press; and to a precedent, therein, which may be fatal to the other—the free exercise of religion.

That the precedent established by the violation of the former of these rights may, as is affirmed by the resolution, be fatal to the latter, appears to be demonstrable by a comparison of the grounds on which they respectively rest, and from the scope of reasoning by which the power over the former has been vindicated.

  1. Both of these rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press, rest equally on the original ground of not being delegated by the Constitution, and, consequently, withheld from the Government. Any construction, therefore, that would attack this original security for the one must have the like effect on the other.
  2. They are both equally secured by the supplement to the Constitution, being both included in the same amendment, made at the same time, and by the same authority. Any construction or argument, then, which would turn the amendment into a grant or acknowledgment of power with respect to the press, might be equally applied to the freedom of religion.
  3. If it be admitted that the extent of the freedom of the press secured by the amendment is to be measured by the common law on this subject, the same authority may be resorted to for the standard which is to fix the extent of the “free exercise of religion.” It cannot be necessary to say what this standard would be; whether the common law be taken solely as the unwritten, or as varied by the written law of England.
  4. If the words and phrases in the amendment are to be considered as chosen with a studied discrimination, which yields an argument for a power over the press under the limitation that its freedom be not abridged, the same argument results from the same consideration for a power over the exercise of religion, under the limitation that its freedom be not prohibited.

For if Congress may regulate the freedom of the press, provided they do not abridge it, because it is said only “they shall not abridge it,” and is not said “they shall make no law respecting it, “the analogy of reasoning is conclusive that Congress may regulate and even abridge the free exercise of religion, provided they do not prohibit it; because it is said only “they shall not prohibit it,” and is not said “they shall make no law respecting, or no law abridging it.”

The General Assembly were governed by the clearest reason, then, in considering the Sedition Act, which legislates on the freedom of the press, as establishing a precedent that may be fatal to the liberty of conscience; and it will be the duty of all, in proportion as they value the security of the latter, to take the alarm at every encroachment on the former.

The two concluding resolutions only remain to be examined. They are in the words following:

“That the good people of this Commonwealth having ever felt, and continuing to feel, the most sincere affection for their brethren of the other States, the truest anxiety for establishing and perpetuating the Union of all, and the most scrupulous fidelity to that Constitution which is the pledge of mutual friendship and the instrument of mutual happiness, the General Assembly doth solemnly appeal to the like dispositions in the other States, in confidence that they will concur with this Commonwealth in declaring, as it does hereby declare, that the acts aforesaid are unconstitutional; and that the necessary and proper measures will be taken by each for co-operating with this State in maintaining, unimpaired, the authorities, rights, and liberties reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

 

Footnote(s)
1: Governor Argall’s Decree; 1617
“Every Person should go to church, Sundays and Holidays, or lye Neck and Heels that Night, and be a Slave to the Colony the following Week; for the second Offence, he should be a Slave for a Month; and for the third, a Year and a Day.”

Virginia Declaration of Rights; 1776
“That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom; 1786
“Section I. The opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own…

Section II. We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

 

2: “The Dutch Colony of the seventeenth century was officially intolerantly Protestant but was in practice tolerant and fair to people of other faiths who dwelt within New Netherland.

When the English took the province from the Dutch in 1664, they granted full religious toleration to the other forms of Protestantism, and preserved the property rights of the Dutch Reformed Church, while recognizing its discipline.

In 1697, Trinity Church was founded in the City of New York by royal charter, and received many civil privileges and the munificent grants of land which are the source of its present great wealth.”

New York Charter of Liberties and Privileges; 1683
“THAT Noe person or persons which professe ffaith in God by Jesus Christ Shall at any time be any wayes molested punished disquieted or called in Question for any Difference in opinion or Matter of Religious Concernment”

New York Constitution; 1777
“Article XXXVIII. And whereas we are required, by the benevolent principles of the rational liberty, not only to expel civil tyranny, but also to guard against that spiritual oppression and intolerance wherewith the bigotry and ambition of weak and wicked priests and princes have scourged mankind, this convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this state, ordain, determine, and desire, that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall be forever hereafter be allowed, within this state, to all mankind: PROVIDED That the liberty of conscience, hereby granted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state.

Article XXXIX. And whereas the ministers of the gospel are, by their profession, dedicated to the service of God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their function, therefore, no minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination whatsoever, shall, at any time hereafter, under and preference or description whatever, be eligible to, or capable of holding, any civil or military office or place within this state.”

 

3: Massachusetts Bay charter became the constitution of an semi-independent Commonwealth in 1630, they adjusted the charter to a Bible Commonwealth. Representation came about through the assembling all of the freemen to the General Court in person. In 1634 the freemen of every town sent one or two deputies to act as personal representatives. Men were made freemen or voters by special act of the General Court, and no one was eligible but members of the Puritan churches. A unique relationship of church and State was settled on. The ministers, chosen by the congregations, were ineligible for political office, but they had great influence, and as a body their opinion was consulted on constitutional questions. “Moses, his judicial” were originally declared the code of law, but this gave such extensive power of interpretation to the judges that a Bill of Rights, the Body of Liberties was established in 1641.

The Pilgrim Colony, older than Massachusetts Bay, had up till 1691 no other constitution than the Mayflower Compact of 1620. The Massachusetts Bill of Rights of 1780 declared it the duty of the legislature to require the support of Protestant worship and the authority to compel attendance thereon where conscientious scruples did not prevent the individual citizen. It did however leave each town or parish free to choose the minister of the citizens choice without stipulating he should be of the Congregational church. Taxes were levied for this support till 1818 when the constitution made all religious bodies equal before the law and severed all ties between church and state.

Massachusetts Constitution, Article XI; 1833
“[A]ll religious sects and denominations, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good citizens of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.”

 

4: Maryland State Constitution, 1776
“Article XXXIII. That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to him; all persons, professing the Christian religion, are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice; unless, under colour of religion, any man shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others, in their natural, civil, or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain any particular place of worship, or any particular ministry; yet the Legislature may, in their discretion, lay a general and equal tax for the support of the Christian religion; leaving to each individual the power of appointing the payment over of the money, collected from him, to the support of any particular place of worship or minister, or for the benefit of the poor of his own denomination, or the poor in general of any particular county: but the churches, chapels, globes, and all other property now belonging to the church of England, ought to remain to the church of England forever…

Article XXXV. That no other test or qualification ought to be required, on admission to any office of trust or profit, than such oath of support and fidelity to this State, and such oath of office, as shall be directed by this Convention or the Legislature of this State, and a declaration of a belief in the Christian religion.”

 

5: Charter of Delaware, 1701

“BECAUSE no People can be truly happy, though under the greatest Enjoyment of Civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences, as to their Religious Profession and Worship: And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience, Father of Lights and Spirits; and the Author as well as Object of all divine Knowledge, Faith and Worship, who only doth enlighten the Minds, and persuade and convince the Understandings of People, I do hereby grant and declare, That no Person or Persons, inhabiting in this Province or Territories, who shall confess and acknowledge Our almighty God, the Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the world; and professes him or themselves obliged to live quietly under the Civil Government, shall be in any Case molested or prejudiced, in his or their Person or Estate, because of his or their consciencious Persuasion or Practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Ministry, contrary to his or their Mind, or to do or suffer any other Act or Thing, contrary to their religious Persuasion.

AND that all Persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World, shall be capable (notwithstanding their other Persuasions and Practices in Point of Conscience and Religion) to serve this Government in any Capacity, both legislatively and executively…”

Delaware Declaration of Rights and Fundamental Rules; 1776
“That all Men have a natural and unalienable Right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates Of their own conscience and understandings; that no Man ought or of right can he compelled to attend any religious Worship or maintain any Ministry contrary to or against his own free Will and Consent, and that no Authority can or Ought to be vested in, or assumed by any Power whatever that shall in any Case interfere with, or in any Manner control the Right of Conscience in the Free exercise of Religious Worship.

That all Persons professing the Christian Religion ought forever to enjoy equal Rights and Privileges in this State…”

Delaware State Constitution; 1776
“Article 22. Every person who shall be chosen a member of either House, or appointed to any office or place of trust… shall take the following oath: ‘I _______, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, One God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.’

Article 29. There shall be no establishment of any religious sect in this State in preference to another; and no clergyman or preacher of the gospel, of any denomination, shall be capable of holding any civil office in this state, or of being a member of either of the branches of the legislature, while they continue in the exercise of the pastoral function.”

 

6: Connecticut Colony Charter; 1692
“[O]ur said people, Inhabitants there, may bee soe religiously, peaceably and civilly Governed as their good life and orderly Conversacon may wynn and invite the Natives of the Country to the knowledge and obedience of the onely true God and Saviour of mankind, and the Christian faith, which in our Royall intencons and the Adventurers free profession is the onely and principall end of this Plantacon.”

Connecticut Constitution; 1818
“Article I. Section 3. The exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be free to all persons in this State, provided that the right hereby declared and established shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or to justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the State.

Article I. Section 4. No preference shall be given by law to any Christian sect or mode of worship.

Article VII. Section 1. It being the duty of all men to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and their right to render that worship in the mode most consistent with the dictates or their consciences, no person shall by law be compelled to join or support, nor be classed with, or associated to, any congregation, church, or religious association; but every person now belonging to such congregation, church, or religious association, shall remain a member thereof until he shall have separated himself therefrom, in the manner hereinafter provided. And each and every society or denomination of Christians in this State shall have and enjoy the same and equal powers, rights, and privileges; and shall have power and authority support and maintain the ministers or teachers of their respective denominations, and to build and repair houses for public worship by a tax on the members of any such society only, to be laid by a major vote of the legal voters assembled at any society meeting, warned and held according to law, or in any other manner.”

 

7: New Hampshire Constitution; 1784
“Article III. When men enter into a State of society they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to ensure the protection of others…

Article IV. Among the natural rights, some are in their very nature unalienable, because no equivalent can be given or received for them. Of this kind are the RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE…

Article V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship GOD according to the dictates of his own conscience and reason; and no person shall be hurt, molested, or restrained in is person, liberty, or estate for worshipping God in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others in their religious worship.

Senate. Provided, nevertheless, That no person shall be capable of being elected a senator who is not of the Protestant religion…
House of Representatives. Every member of the house of representatives… shall be of the Protestant religion…
President. [H]e shall be of the Protestant religion.”

The Toleration Act; 1819
“And be it further enacted, that each religious sect or denomination of Christians in this State may associate and form societies, may admit members, may establish rules and bylaws for their regulation and government, and shall have all the corporate powers which may be necessary to assess and raise money by taxes upon the polls and ratable estate of the members of such associations, and to collect and appropriate the same for the purpose of building and repairing houses of public worship, and for the support of the ministry; and the assessors and collectors of such associations shall have the same powers in assessing and collecting, and shall be liable to the same penalties as similar town officers have and are liable to–Provided that no person shall be compelled to join or support, or be classed with, or associated to any congregation, church or religious society without his express consent first had and obtain–Provided also, if any person shall choose to separate himself from such society, or association to which he may belong, and shall leave a written notice thereof with the clerk of such society or association, he shall thereupon be no longer liable for any future expenses which may be incurred by said society or association–Provided also, that no association or society shall exercise the powers herein granted until it shall have assumed a name and stile by which such society may be known and distinguished in law, and shall have recorded the same in a book of records to be kept by the clerk of said Society, and shall have published the same in some newspaper in the County where such society may be formed if any be printed therein, and if not then in some paper published in some adjoining County.”

 

8: Charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations; 1663
“That [the inhabitants], pursueing, with peaceable and loyall minces, their sober, serious and religious intentions, of goalie edifieing themselves, and one another, in the holy Christian faith and worship, as they werepersuaded; together with the gaining over and conversion of the poor ignorant Indian natives, in thoseparts of America, to the sincere profession and obedience of the same faith and worship…

true pietye rightly grounded upon gospell principles, will give the best and greatest security to sovereignetye, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to true loyaltye: Now know bee, that wee beinge willinge to encourage the hopefull undertakeinge of oure sayd lovall and loveinge subjects, and to secure them in the free exercise and enjovment of all theire civill and religious rights, appertaining to them, as our loveing subjects; and to preserve unto them that libertye, in the true Christian ffaith and worshipp of God…

That our royall will and pleasure is, that noe person within the sayd colonye, at any tyme hereafter, shall bee any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinione in matters of religion, and doe not actually disturb the civill peace of our sayd colony; but that all and everye person and persons may, from tyme to tyme, and at all tymes hereafter, freelye and fullye have and enjoye his and theire owne judgments and consciences, in matters of religious concernments…

and to direct, rule, order and dispose of, all other matters and things, and particularly that which relates to the makinge of purchases of the native Indians, as to them shall seeme meete; wherebv oure sayd people and inhabitants, in the sayd Plantationes, may be soe religiously, peaceably and civilly governed, as that, by theire good life and orderlie conversations, they may win and invite the native Indians of the countrie to the knowledge and obedience of the onlie true God, and Saviour of mankinde…”

Rhode Island Constitution, Article I, Section 3; 1842
“Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; and all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness; and whereas a principal object of our venerable ancestors, in their migration to this country and their settlement of this state, was, as they expressed it, to hold forth a lively experiment that a flourishing civil state may stand and be best maintained with full liberty in religious concernments; we, therefore, declare that no person shall be compelled to frequent or to support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatever, except in fulfillment of such person’s voluntary contract; nor enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in body or goods; nor disqualified from holding any office; nor otherwise suffer on account of such person’s religious belief; and that every person shall be free to worship God according to the dictates of such person’s conscience, and to profess and by argument to maintain such person’s opinion in matters of religion; and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect the civil capacity of any person.”

 

9: Georgia Constitution; 1777
“Article VI. [R]epresentatives… shall be of the Protestant religion…

Article LVI. All persons whatever shall have the free exercise of their religion; provided it be not repugnant to the peace and safety of the State; and shall not, unless by consent, support any teacher or teachers except those of their own profession.”

Georgia Constitution Amended; 1789
Article I. Section 3. The ‘representatives… shall be of the Protestant religion…’ requirement was removed.

“Article IV. Section 5. All persons shall have the free exercise of religion, without being obligated to contribute to the support of any religious but their own.”

Georgia Constitution Amended; 1798
“Article IV. Section 10. No person within this state shall, upon any pretense, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping God in any manner agreeable to his own conscience, nor be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall he ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rate, for the building or repairing any place of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or hath voluntarily engaged. To do. No one religious society shall ever be established in this state, in preference to another; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of any civil right merely on account of his religious principles.”

 

10: North Carolina Constitution; 1776
“Article XIX. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

Article XXXI. That no clergyman, or preacher of the gospel, of any denomination, shall be capable of being a member of either the Senate, House of Commons, or Council of State, while he continues in the exercise of pastoral function.

Article XXXII. That no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.

Article XXXIV. That there shall be no establishment of any one religious church or denomination in this State, in preference to any other; neither shall any person, on any presence whatsoever, be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith or judgment, nor be obliged to pay, for the purchase of any glebe, or the building of any house of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes right, of has voluntarily and personally engaged to perform; but all persons shall be at liberty to exercise their own mode of worship: — Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to exempt preachers of treasonable or seditious discourses, from legal trial and punishment.”

All religious requirements were removed in 1875

 

11: South Carolina Constitution; 1778
“Article XXXVIII. That all persons and religious societies who acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshipped, shall be freely tolerated. The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State. That all denominations of Christian Protestants in this State, demeaning themselves peaceably and faithfully, shall enjoy equal religious and civil privileges. To accomplish this desirable purpose without injury to the religious property of those societies of Christians which are by law already incorporated for the purpose of religious worship, and to put it fully into the power of every other society of Christian Protestants, either already formed or hereafter to be formed, to obtain the like incorporation, it is hereby constituted, appointed, and declared that the respective societies of the Church of England that are already formed in this State for the purpose of religious worship shall still continue Incorporate and hold the religious property now in their possession. And that whenever fifteen or more male persons, not under twenty-one years of age, professing the Christian Protestant religion, and agreeing to unite themselves in a society for the purposes of religious worship, they shall, (on complying with the terms hereinafter mentioned,) be, and be constituted, a church, and be esteemed and regarded in law as of the established religion of the state, and on a petition to the legislature shall be entitled to be incorporated and to enjoy equal privileges. That every society of Christians so formed shall give themselves a name or denomination by which they shall be called and known in law, and all that associate with them for the purposes of worship shall be esteemed as belonging to the society so called. But that previous to the establishment and incorporation of the respective societies of every denomination as aforesaid, and in order to entitle them thereto, each society so petitioning shall have agreed to and subscribed in a book the following five articles, without which no agreement or union of men upon pretense of religion shall entitle them to be incorporated and esteemed as a church of the established religion of this State:

1st. That there is one eternal God, and a future state of rewards and punishments.

2d. That God is publicly to be worshipped.

3d. That the Christian religion is the true religion.

4th. That the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of divine inspiration, and are the rule of faith and practice.

5th That it is lawful and the duty of every man being thereunto called by those that govern, to bear witness to the truth.”

South Carolina Constitution; 1790
“Article VIII, Section 1. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever hereafter be allowed within this State to all mankind, PROVIDED, That the liberty of conscience thereby declared shall not be construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of this State.”

 

12: Pennsylvania Constitution; 1776
“Section. 2. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their Own consciences and understanding: And that no man ought or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any ministry, contrary to, or against, his own free will and consent: nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account or his religious sentiments or peculiar mode of religious worship: And that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or In any manner controul, the right of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship.

Section 10… shall each [representative] before they proceed to business take… the following oath or affirmation:

‘I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.’

And no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required of any civil officer or magistrate in this state.”

Pennsylvania Constitution, Article IX, Section 4; 1790
“That no person, who acknowledges the being of God and a future state of rewards and punishments, shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this commonwealth.”

 

13: New Jersey Constitution; 1776
“XVIII. That no person shall ever, within this Colony, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; nor, under any pretense whatever, be compelled to attend any place of worship, contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall any person, within this Colony, ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rates, for the purpose of building or repairing any other church or churches, place or places of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or has deliberately or voluntarily engaged himself to perform.

XIX. That there shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in this Province, in preference to another; and that no Protestant inhabitant of this Colony shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right, merely on account of his religious principles; but that all persons, professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government, as hereby established, shall be capable of being elected into any office of profit or trust, or being a member of either branch of the Legislature, and shall fully and freely enjoy every privilege and immunity, enjoyed by others their fellow subjects.”

New Jersey Constitution, Rights and Privileges, Article I, Section 4; 1844
“There shall be no establishment of one religious sect in preference to another; no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust; and no person shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right merely on account of his religious principles.”

 

Source(s):
Annals of the Congress of the United States; by United States. Congress, Joseph Gales, Sr.
A History of the Congregational Churches in the United States; by Williston Walker
A View of the Constitution(s) of the British Colonies: In North America; by Anthony Stokes
Pleas for religious liberty and the rights of conscience; by George Ticknor Curtis, Franklin S. Richards

Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis

Thomas Jefferson Constitutional Powers Usurped by the Supreme Court

Thomas Jefferson Supreme Court Usurpation of Power (Click to enlarge)

Thomas Jefferson Supreme Court Usurpation of Power (Click to enlarge)

For anyone who doesn’t know the Supreme Court itself in the United States has become Unconstitutional, from ruling things Constitutional that are anything but, to assuming powers not delegated to it by the Federal Constitution, nor intended for it by the Framers. Wake up people! The House of Representatives in Congress are the People’s Power in the Federal Government. The Senate and Senators represent their respective states and the interest of those states. When you let the Executive or Senate Encroach you nullify that Power. The People’s Power: One of the House of Representatives Powers is of the Purse i.e. Funding or Defunding those things the Executive branch puts forth. People you’re letting the Media con you into thinking a government shut down because of funding disputes is a bad thing. The people are the real power in the United States, we are the final arbitrators of the Constitution. If we find the things the Executive, Legislative or Judicial powers of the United States are doing to be Unconstitutional, we can view them as null and void ourselves. We don’t need the Supreme Court to rule them Unconstitutional.  The Constitution begins with:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It does not say We the Executive, We the Legislature, or We the Judiciary, it says WE THE PEOPLE!

“All power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people. That government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty and the right of acquiring property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their government whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purpose of its institution.” ~ James Madison; June 8, 1789

 

Article IX of the Constitution says: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Article X says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

In a letter to Mr. M. M. Coray, under date of October 21, 1823, Thomas Jefferson said:

At the establishment of our Constitution the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the Government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a free hold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors, only passed silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping by little and little the foundations of the Constitution and working its change by construction before any has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm had been visibly employed in consuming its substance.

“Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction. I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of the treaty-making power as boundless. If it is, then we have no Constitution. If it has bounds, they can be no others than the definitions of the powers which that instrument gives. It specifies and delineates the operations permitted to the Federal Government, and gives all the powers necessary to carry these into execution. Whatever of these enumerated objects is proper for a law. Congress may make the law; whatever is proper to be executed by way of a treaty, the President and Senate may enter into the treaty; whatever is to be done by a judicial sentence, the Judges may pass the sentence. Nothing is more likely than that their enumeration of powers is defective. This is the ordinary case of all human works. Let us then go on perfecting it, by adding, by way of amendment to the Constitution those powers which time and trial show are still wanting.”Thomas Jefferson to Wilson C. Nicholas,Writings of Jefferson, Paul L. Ford Ed., viii. 247. (Monticello, Sep. 1803.)

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Judge Roane

Popular Forest, September 6, 1819.

Dear Sir,—I had read in the Enquirer, and with great approbation, the pieces signed Hampden, and have read them again with redoubled approbation, in the copies you have been so kind as to send me. I subscribe to every title of them. They contain the true principles of the revolution of 1800, for that was as real a revolution in the principles of our government as that of 1776 was in its form ; not effected indeed by the sword, as that, but by the rational and peaceable instrument of reform, the suffrage of the people. The nation declared its will by dismissing functionaries of one principle, and electing those of another, in the two branches, executive and legislative, submitted to their election. Over the judiciary department, the constitution had deprived them of their control. That, therefore, has continued the reprobated system, and although new matter has been occasionally incorporated into the old, yet the leaven of the old mass seems to assimilate to itself the new, and after twenty years’ confirmation of the federated system by the voice of the nation, declared through the medium of elections, we find the judiciary on every occasion, still driving us into consolidation.

In denying the right they [the Supreme Court] usurp [comandeer; take a position of power or importance illegally or by force] of exclusively explaining the constitution, I go further than you do, if I understand rightly your quotation from the Federalist, of an opinion that ” the judiciary is the last resort in relation to the other departments of the government, but not in relation to the rights of the parties to the compact under which the judiciary is derived.” If this opinion be sound, then indeed is our constitution a complete felo de se [one who commits suicide or who dies from the effects of having committed an unlawful malicious act: an act of deliberate self-destruction.]. For intending to establish three departments, co-ordinate and independent, that they might check and balance one another, it has given, according to this opinion, to one of them alone, the right to prescribe rules for the government of the others, and to that one too, which is unelected by, and independent of the nation. For experience has already shown that the impeachment it has provided is not even a scare-crow; that such opinions as the one you combat, sent cautiously out, as you observe also, by detachment, not belonging to the case often, but sought for out of it, as if to rally the public opinion beforehand to their views, and to indicate the line they are to walk in, have been so quietly passed over as never to have excited animadversion, even in a speech of any one of the body entrusted with impeachment. The constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please. It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also ; in theory only, at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law. My construction of the constitution is very different from that you quote. It is that each department is truly independent of the others, and has an equal right to decide for itself what is the meaning of the constitution in the cases submitted to its action ; and especially, where it is to act ultimately and without appeal. I will explain myself by examples, which, having occurred while I was in office, are better known to me, and the principles which governed them.

Thomas Jefferson: Confidence in Government (Click to enlarge)

Thomas Jefferson: Confidence in Government; Sedition Act (Click to enlarge)

A legislature had passed the sedition law. The federal courts had subjected certain individuals to its penalties of fine and imprisonment. On coming into office, I released these individuals by the power of pardon committed to executive discretion, which could never be more properly exercised than where citizens were suffering without the authority of law, or, which was equivalent, under a law unauthorized by the constitution, and therefore null. In the case of Marbury and Madison, the federal judges declared that commissions, signed and sealed by the President, were valid, although not delivered. I deemed delivery essential to complete a deed, which, as long as it remains in the hands of the party, is as yet no need, it is in posse [what is possible] only, but not in esse [what is real], and I withheld delivery of the commissions. They cannot issue a mandamus [“writ of mandate” which orders a public agency or governmental body to perform an act required by law when it has neglected or refused to do] to the President or legislature, or to any of their officers. [The constitution controlling the common law in this particular.]

When the British treaty arrived, without any provision against the impressments [recruitment by force] of our seamen, I determined not to ratify it. The Senate thought I should ask their advice. I thought that would be a mockery of them, when I was predetermined against following it, should they advise its ratification. The constitution had made their advice necessary to confirm a treaty, but not to reject it. This has been blamed by some; but I have never doubted its soundness. In the cases of two persons, antenati [ancestors], under exactly similar circumstances, the federal court had determined that one of them (Duane) was not a citizen; the House of Representatives nevertheless determined that the other (Smith, of South Carolina) was a citizen, and admitted him to his seat in their body. Duane was a republican, and Smith a federalist, and these decisions were made during the federal ascendancy.

These are examples of my position, that each of the three departments has equally the right to decide for itself what is its duty under the constitution, without any regard to what the others may have decided for themselves under a similar question. But you intimate a wish that my opinion should be known on this subject. No, dear Sir, I withdraw from all contests of opinion, and resign everything cheerfully to the generation now in place. They are wiser than we were, and their successors will be wiser than they, from the progressive advance of science. Tranquillity is the summum bonum [the highest good] of age. I wish, therefore, to offend no man’s opinion, nor to draw disquieting animadversions [criticism or censure] on my own. While duty required it, I met opposition with a firm and fearless step. But loving mankind in my individual relations with them, I pray to be permitted to depart in their peace; and like the superannuated [old fashioned, out of date] soldier, “quadragenis stipendiis emeritus”[not sure on translation: “After forty serving their terms, retire”] to hang my arms on the post. I have unwisely, I fear, embarked in an enterprise of great public concern, but not to be accomplished within my term, without their liberal and prompt support. A severe illness the last year, and another from which I am just emerged, admonish me that repetitions may be expected, against which a declining frame cannot long bear up. I am anxious, therefore, to get our University so far advanced as may encourage the public to persevere to its final accomplishment. That secured, I shall sing my nunc demittis [the prayer of Simeon in Luke 2:29–32]. I hope your labors will be long continued in the spirit in which they have always been exercised, in maintenance of those principles on which I verily believe the future happiness of our country essentially depends. I salute you with affectionate and great respect.

In a letter to Thomas Ritchie, under date of December 25, 1820, Mr. Jefferson said: “But it is not from this branch of government [the House of Representatives] we have most to fear. Taxes and short elections will keep them right.

“The judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working underground to undermine the foundations of our constitutional fabric. They are construing our Constitution from a coordination of a general [federal] and special [local] government to a general and supreme one alone. This will lay all things at their feet, and they are too well versed in English law to forget the maxim, ‘Boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem.’ [‘it is the duty of a good judge to enlarge his jurisdiction.’ It denotes that a good judge’s duty is to amplify the remedies of the law] We shall see if they are bold enough to take the daring strides these five lawyers (judges) have lately taken. Having found from experience that impeachment is an impracticable thing, a mere scarecrow, they consider themselves secure for life; they skulk for responsibility to public opinion, the only remaining hold upon them, under a practice first introduced into England by Lord Mansfield. An opinion is huddled up in conclave (perhaps by a majority of one), delivered as if unanimous, and with the silent acquiescence of lazy or timid associates by a crafty chief judge (Marshall), who sophisticates the law to his mind by the turn of his own reasoning. A judiciary law was once reported by the Attorney General to Congress requiring each judge to deliver his opinion seriatim and openly, and then to give it in writing to the clerk to be entered on the record. A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone is a good thing, but independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government.”

In a letter to Archibald Thweat. under date of January 19, 1821, Mr. Jefferson further said:

I am sensible of the inroads daily making by the Federal into the jurisdiction of its coordinate associates, the State governments. The legislative and executive branches may sometime err, but elections and dependents will bring them to rights. The judiciary branch is the instrument which, working like gravity, without intermission, is to press us at last into one consolidated mass. Against this I know no one who, equally with Judge Roane himself, possesses the power and the courage to make resistance, and to him I look and have long looked as our strongest bulwark. If Congress fails to shield the States from danger so palpable and so imminent, the States must shield themselves, and meet the invader foot to foot.

In a letter to Mr. C. Hammond, under date of August 18, 1821, Mr. Jefferson declared:

“It has long, however, been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression, that the germ of dissolution of our Federal Government is in the constitution of the Federal judiciary, an irresponsible body, working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little to-day and a little to-morrow, and advancing its noiseless steps like a thief over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States and the government of all be consolidated into one. To this I am opposed, because when all governments, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the check provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the Government from which we separated. It will be as in Europe, where every man must either be pike or gudgeon, hammer or anvil. Our functionaries and theirs are wares from the same workshop, made of the same material and by the same hand. If the States look with apathy on this silent descent of their Government into the gulf which is to swallow all, we have only to weep over the human character formed uncontrollable but by a rod of iron, and the blasphemers of man as incapable of self-government become his true historians.”

In a letter to Colonel Nicholas, under date of December 11, 1821, Mr. Jefferson said:

“I fear, dear sir, we are now in such another crisis, with this difference only, that the judiciary branch is alone and single handed in the present assaults on the Constitution. But its assaults are more sure and deadly as from an agent seemingly passive and unassuming. May you and your contemporaries meet them with the same determination and effect that your father and his did the alien and sedition laws, and preserve inviolate a Constitution which, cherished in all its chastity and purity, will prove in the end a blessing to all the nations of the earth.”

In a letter to William T. Barry, under date of July 2, 1822, Mr. Jefferson said:

“We already see the power installed for life, responsible to no authority, advancing with a noiseless and steady pace to the great object of consolidation. The foundations are already deeply laid by their decisions for the annihilation of constitutional States’ rights and the removal of every check, every counterpoise, to the engulfing power of which themselves are to make a sovereign part. If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruptions, indifferent and incapable of a wholesome care over so wide a spread of surface. This will not be borne, and you will have to choose between reformation and revolution. If I know the spirit of this country, the one or the other is inevitable. Before the canker is become inveterate, before its venom has reached so much of the body politic as to get beyond control, remedy should be applied. Let the future appointment of judges be for four or six years, and renewable by the President and Senate. This will bring their conduct at regular periods under revision and probation, and may keep them in equipoise between the general and special government. We have erred in this point by copying England, where certainly it is a good thing to have the judges independent of the King. But we have omitted to copy their caution, also, which makes a judge removable on the address of both legislative houses. That there should be public functionaries independent of the nation, whatever be their demerit, is a solecism in a republic of the first order of absurdity and inconsistency.”

In a letter to Judge Johnson, under the date of March 4, 1823, Mr. Jefferson said:

“I can not lay down my pen without recurring to one of the subjects of my former letter, for in truth there is no danger I apprehend so much as the consolidation of our Government by the noiseless and therefore unalarming instrumentality of the Supreme Court. * * * For in truth there is at this time more hostility to the Federal judiciary than any other organ of the Government.”

In a letter to Edward Livingston, under date of March 25, 1825, Mr. Jefferson wrote:

“Time and changes in the condition and constitution of society may require occasional and corresponding modifications. One single object, if your provision attains it, will entitle you to the endless gratitude of society, that of restraining judges from usurping legislation. And with no body of men is this restraint more wanting than with the judges of what is commonly called our General [Federal] Government, but what I call our foreign department. They are practicing on the Constitution by inferences, analogies, and sophisms [a fallacious argument, especially one used deliberately to deceive] as they would an ordinary law. They do not seem aware that it is not even a Constitution formed by a single authority, and subject to a single superintendence and control, but that it is a compact of many independent powers every single one of which claims an equal right to understand it and to require its observance. However strong the cord of compact may be, there is a point of tension at which it will break. A few such doctrinal decisions as barefaced as that of the Cohens happening to bear immediately on two or three of the large States may induce them to join in arresting the march of Government and in arousing the co-States to pay some attention to what is passing to bring bark the compact to its original principles or to modify it legitimately by the expressed consent of the parties themselves, and not by the usurpation of their created agents. They imagine they can lead us into a consolidate government, while their road leads directly to dissolution. This member of the Government was at first considered as the most harmless and helpless of all its organs, but it has proved that the power of declaring what the law is ad libitum [“at pleasure” or at the discretion of the performer] by sapping and mining slyly and without alarm the foundations of the Constitution can do what open force would not dare to attempt.”

These opinions and warnings of Jefferson are very pertinent at this time. The pity is that all have not paid heed to them for the past half a century. Now, let us see what another great expounder of the Constitution has said. In a speech at Fort Hill, July 26, 1831, Mr. Calhoun said:

“No one has been so hardy as to assert that Congress or the President ought to have the right or to deny that if vested finally and exclusively in either, the consequences which I have stated would not necessarily follow; but its advocates have been reconciled to the doctrine on the supposition that there is one department of the General Government which, from its peculiar organization, affords an independent tribunal through which the Government may exercise the high authority which is the subject of consideration with perfect safety to all. I yield, I trust, so few in my attachment to the judiciary department. I am fully sensible of its importance and would maintain it to the fullest extent in its constitutional powers and independence, but it is impossible for me to believe that it was ever intended by the Constitution that it should exercise the power in question, or that it is competent to do so, and if it were it would be a safe depository of the power. Its powers are judicial and not political, and are expressly confined by the Constitution to all cases in law and equity arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and the treaties made or which shall be made under its authority, and which I have high authority in asserting excludes political questions and comprehends those only where there are parties amenable to the process of the court.”

Governor Pingree, of Michigan, expressed himself in these words:

* * * I consider government by injunction, unless stopped, the beginning of the end of liberty. Tyranny on the bench is as objectionable as tyranny on the throne. It is even more dangerous, because judges claim immunity from criticism, and foolish people acquiesce in their claims. To enjoin people from assembling peaceably to discuss their wrongs is a violation of first principles. * * * (Railroad Trainmen’s Journal for September, 1897, p. 832.)

Sources: The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia: A Comprehensive Collection of the Views of Thomas Jefferson by Thomas Jefferson
The Life and Writings of Thomas Jefferson Including all his most important public utterances on Public Questions by Samuel Eagle Forman
Hearing Before the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives by House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary

Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis

Thomas Jefferson First Annual Message as President December 1801

ThomasJeffersonQuoteDivineJustice

Preface: A most disgraceful state of affairs existed in the western Mediterranean. The Barbary Statesof Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, combining fanatical religion with mundane greed, were waging a war of piracy against the maritime nations of Christendom. They held the keys to the Mediterranean, and took tribute of Great Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Portugal, Venice, and Naples alike. America was expected to pay, too. An American brig, the Betsy, was seized and taken to Morocco in the spring of 1785, and its crew finally liberated only by the intervention of Spain. When asked by Jefferson with what right his people made war with an unoffending nation at peace with them, the Tripolitan envoy in London replied that it was “written in the Koran that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet [Mohammed] were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave.” Outrageous as the depredations of these fanatical pirates were, the impotent government of the United States under the Articles of Confederation could not stop them. Jefferson was ordered to make a “present” of $20,000 to the Dey of Algiers, the “King of Cruelties,” and another of $20,000 to the Sultan of Morocco. Tripoli demanded $150,000, with a tip of $15,000 for the ambassador, to guarantee a perpetual peace. We were reduced to bargaining with the monastic order of the Mathurins, who acted as emancipation brokers in the Barbary states, to get our sailors and captains ransomed at the best figures possible. Indignant over the treatment of civilized peoples by these Mohammedan brigands, Jefferson tried to unite the maritime nations of western Europe in a league to enforce peace and security in the Mediterranean.

PRESIDENT JEFFERSON’S FIRST ANNUAL MESSAGE.—December 8, 1801.

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

It is a circumstance of sincere gratification to me that on meeting the great council of our nation, I am able to announce to them, on the grounds of reasonable certainty, that the wars and troubles which have for so many years afflicted our sister nations have at length come to an end, and that the communications of peace and commerce are once more opening among them. While we devoutly return thanks to the beneficent Being who has been pleased to breathe into them the spirit of conciliation and forgiveness, we are bound with peculiar gratitude to be thankful to him that our own peace has been preserved through so perilous a season, and ourselves permitted quietly to cultivate the earth and to practice and improve those arts which tend to increase our comforts. The assurances, indeed, of friendly disposition, received from all the powers with whom we have principal relations, had inspired a confidence that our peace with them would not have been disturbed. But a cessation of the irregularities which had affected the commerce of neutral nations, and of the irritations and injuries produced by them, cannot but add to this confidence; and strengthens, at the same time, the hope, that wrongs committed on unoffending friends, under a pressure of circumstances, will now be reviewed with candor, and will be considered as founding just claims of retribution for the past and new assurance for the future.

Among our Indian neighbors, also, a spirit of peace and friendship generally prevails; and I am happy to inform you that the continued efforts to introduce among them the implements and the practice of husbandry, and of the household arts, have not been without success; that they are becoming more and more sensible of the superiority of this dependence for clothing and subsistence over the precarious resources of hunting and fishing; and already we are able to announce, that instead of that constant diminution of their numbers, produced by their wars and their wants, some of them begin to experience an increase of population.

Jefferson, Evil Muslims & the Koran: 1785 (Click to enlarge)

Jefferson, Evil Muslims & the Koran: 1785 (Click to enlarge)

To this state of general peace with which we have been blessed, one only exception exists. Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary States, (fn. 1) had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to denounce war, on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean, with assurances to that power of our sincere desire to remain in peace, but with orders to protect our commerce against the threatened attack. The measure was seasonable and salutary. The bey had already declared war in form. His cruisers were out. Two had arrived at Gibraltar. Our commerce in the Mediterranean was blockaded, and that of the Atlantic in peril. The arrival of our squadron dispelled the danger. One of the Tripolitan cruisers having fallen in with, and engaged the small schooner Enterprise, commanded by Lieutenant Sterret, which had gone as a tender to our larger vessels, was captured, after a heavy slaughter of her men, without the loss of a single one on our part. The bravery exhibited by our citizens on that element, will, I trust, be a testimony to the world that it is not the want of that virtue which makes us seek their peace, but a conscientious desire to direct the energies of our nation to the multiplication of the human race, and not to its destruction. Unauthorized by the constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defence, the vessel being disabled from committing further hostilities, was liberated with its crew. The legislature will doubtless consider whether, by authorizing measures of offence, also, they will place our force on an equal footing with that of its adversaries. I communicate all material information on this subject, that in the exercise of the important function confided by the constitution to the legislature exclusively, their judgment may form itself on a knowledge and consideration of every circumstance of weight.

I wish I could say that our situation with all the other Barbary states was entirely satisfactory. Discovering that some delays had taken place in the performance of certain articles stipulated by us, I thought it my duty, by immediate measures for fulfilling them, to vindicate to ourselves the right of considering the effect of departure from stipulation on their side. From the papers which will be laid before you, you will be enabled to judge whether our treaties are regarded by them as fixing at all the measure of their demands, or as guarding from the exercise of force our vessels within their power; and to consider how far it will be safe and expedient to leave our affairs with them in their present posture.

I lay before you the result of the census lately taken of our inhabitants, to a conformity with which we are to reduce the ensuing rates of representation and taxation. You will perceive that the increase of numbers during the last ten years, proceeding in geometrical ratio, promises a duplication in little more than twenty-two years. We contemplate this rapid growth, and the prospect it holds up to us, not with a view to the injuries it may enable us to do to others in some future day, but to the settlement of the extensive country still remaining vacant within our limits, to the multiplications of men susceptible of happiness, educated in the love of order, habituated to self-government, and valuing its blessings above all price.

Other circumstances, combined with the increase of numbers, have produced an augmentation of revenue arising from consumption, in a ratio far beyond that of population alone, and though the changes of foreign relations now taking place so desirably for the world, may for a season affect this branch of revenue, yet, weighing all probabilities of expense, as well as of income, there is reasonable ground of confidence that we may now safely dispense with all the internal taxes, comprehending excises, stamps, auctions, licenses, carriages, and refined sugars, to which the postage on newspapers may be added, to facilitate the progress of information, and that the remaining sources of revenue will be sufficient to provide for the support of government, to pay the interest on the public debts, and to discharge the principals in shorter periods than the laws or the general expectations had contemplated. War, indeed, and untoward events, may change this prospect of things, and call for expenses which the imposts could not meet; but sound principles will not justify our taxing the industry of our fellow citizens to accumulate treasure for wars to happen we know not when, and which might not perhaps happen but from the temptations offered by that treasure.

These views, however, of reducing our burdens, are formed on the expectation that a sensible, and at the same time a salutary reduction, may take place in our habitual expenditures. For this purpose, those of the civil government, the army, and navy, will need revisal.

When we consider that this government is charged with the external and mutual relations only of these states ; that the states themselves have principal care of our persons, our property, and our reputation, constituting the great field of human concerns, we may well doubt whether our organization is not too complicated, too expensive ; whether offices and officers have not been multiplied unnecessarily, and sometimes injuriously to the service they were meant to promote. I will cause to be laid before you an essay toward a statement of those who, under public employment of various kinds, draw money from the treasury or from our citizens. Time has not permitted a perfect enumeration, the ramifications of office being too multiplied and remote to be completely traced in a first trial. Among those who are dependent on executive discretion, I have begun the reduction of what was deemed necessary. The expenses of diplomatic agency have been considerably diminished. The inspectors of internal revenue who were found to obstruct the accountability of the institution, have been discontinued. Several agencies created by executive authority, on salaries fixed by that also, have been suppressed, and should suggest the expediency of regulating that power by law, so as to subject its exercises to legislative inspection and sanction. Other reformations of the same kind will be pursued with that caution which is requisite in removing useless things, not to injure what is retained. But the great mass of public offices is established by law, and, therefore, by law alone can be abolished. Should the legislature think it expedient to pass this roll in review, and try all its parts by the test of public utility, they may be assured of every aid and light which executive information can yield. Considering the general tendency to multiply offices and dependencies, and to increase expense to the ultimate term of burden which the citizen can bear, it behooves us to avail ourselves of every occasion which presents itself for taking off the surcharge; that it never may be seen here that, after leaving to labor the smallest portion of its earnings on which it can subsist, government shall itself consume the residue of what it was instituted to guard.

In our care, too, of the public contributions intrusted to our direction, it would be prudent to multiply barriers against their

dissipation, by appropriating specific sums to every specific purpose susceptible of definition; by disallowing all applications of money varying from the appropriation in object, or transcending it in amount; by reducing the undefined field of contingencies, and thereby circumscribing discretionary powers over money; and by bringing back to a single department all accountabilities for money where the examination may be prompt, efficacious, and uniform.

An account of the receipts and expenditures of the last year, as prepared by the secretary of the treasury, will as usual be laid before you. The success which has attended the late sales of the public lands, shows that with attention they may be made an important source of receipt. Among the payments, those made in discharge of the principal and interest of the national debt, will show that the public faith has been exactly maintained. To these will be added an estimate of appropriations necessary for the ensuing year. This last will of course be effected by such modifications of the systems of expense, as you shall think proper to adopt.

A statement has been formed by the secretary of war, on mature consideration, of all the posts and stations where garrisons will be expedient, and of the number of men requisite for each garrison. The whole amount is considerably short of the present military establishment. For the surplus no particular use can be pointed out. For defence against invasion, their number is as nothing; nor is it conceived needful or safe that a standing army should be kept up in time of peace for that purpose. Uncertain as we must ever be of the particular point in our circumference where an enemy may choose to invade us, the only force which can be ready at every point and competent to oppose them, is the body of neighboring citizens as formed into a militia. On these, collected from the parts most convenient, in numbers proportioned to the invading foe, it is best to rely, not only to meet the first attack, but if it threatens to be permanent, to maintain the defence until regulars may be engaged to relieve them. These considerations render it important that we should at every session continue to amend the defects which from time to time show themselves in the laws for regulating the militia, until they are sufficiently perfect. Nor should we now or at any time separate, until we can say we have done everything for the militia which we could do were an enemy at our door.

The provisions of military stores on hand will be laid before you, that you may judge of the additions still requisite.

With respect to the extent to which our naval preparations should be carried, some difference of opinion may be expected to appear; but just attention to the circumstances of every part of the Union will doubtless reconcile all. A small force will probably continue to be wanted for actual service in the Mediterranean. Whatever annual sum beyond that you may think proper to appropriate to naval preparations, would perhaps be better employed in providing those articles which may be kept without waste or consumption, and be in readiness when any exigence calls them into use. Progress has been made, as will appear by papers now communicated, in providing materials for seventy-four gun ships as directed by law.

How far the authority given by the legislature for procuring and establishing sites for naval purposes has been perfectly understood and pursued in the execution, admits of some doubt. A statement of the expenses already incurred on that subject, shall be laid before you. I have in certain cases suspended or slackened these expenditures, that the legislature might determine whether so many yards are necessary as have been contemplated. The works at this place are among those permitted to go on; and five of the seven frigates directed to be laid up, have been brought and laid up here, where, besides the safety of their position, they are under the eye of the executive administration, as well as of its agents, and where yourselves also will be guided by your own view in the legislative provisions respecting them which may from time to time be necessary. They are preserved in such condition, as well the vessels as whatever belongs to them, as to be at all times ready for sea on a short warning. Two others are yet to be laid up so soon as they shall have received the repairs requisite to put them also into sound condition. As a superintending officer will be necessary at each yard, his duties and emoluments, hitherto fixed by the executive, will be a more proper subject for legislation. A communication will also be made of our progress in the execution of the law respecting the vessels directed to be sold.

The fortifications of our harbors, more or less advanced, present considerations of great difficulty. While some of them are on a scale sufficiently proportioned to the advantages of their position, to the efficacy of their protection, and the importance of the points within it, others are so extensive, will cost so much in their first erection, so much in their maintenance, and require such a force to garrison them, as to make it questionable what is best now to be done. A statement of those commenced or projected, of the expenses already incurred, and estimates of their future cost, so far as can be foreseen, shall be laid before you, that you may be enabled to judge whether any attention is necessary in the laws respecting this subject.

Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise. Protection from casual embarrassments, however, may sometimes be seasonably interposed. If in the course of your observations or inquiries they should appear to need any aid within the limits of our constitutional powers, your sense of their importance is a sufficient assurance they will occupy your attention. We cannot, indeed, but all feel an anxious solicitude for the difficulties under which our carrying trade will soon be placed. How far it can be relieved, otherwise than by time, is a subject of important consideration.

The judiciary system of the United States, and especially that portion of it recently erected, will of course present itself to the contemplation of Congress; and that they may be able to judge of the proportion which the institution bears to the business it has to perform, I have caused to be procured from the several States, and now lay before Congress, an exact statement of all the causes decided since the first establishment of the courts, and of those which were depending when additional courts and judges were brought in to their aid.

And while on the judiciary organization, it will be worthy your consideration, whether the protection of the inestimable institution of juries has been extended to all the cases involving the security of our persons and property. Their impartial selection also being essential to their value, we ought further to consider whether that is sufficiently secured in those States where they are named by a marshal depending on executive will, or designated by the court or by officers dependent on them.

I cannot omit recommending a revisal of the laws on the subject of naturalization. Considering the ordinary chances of human life, a denial of citizenship under a residence of fourteen years is a denial to a great proportion of those who ask it, and controls a policy pursued from their first settlement by many of these States, and still believed of consequence to their prosperity. And shall we refuse the unhappy fugitives from distress that hospitality which the savages of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe? The constitution, indeed, has wisely provided that, for admission to certain offices of important trust, a residence shall be required sufficient to develop character and design. But might not the general character and capabilities of a citizen be safely communicated to every one manifesting a bontifide purpose of embarking his life and fortunes permanently with us? with restrictions, perhaps, to guard against the fraudulent usurpation of our flag; an abuse which brings so much embarrassment and loss on the genuine citizen, and so much danger to the nation of being involved in war, that no endeavor should be spared to detect and suppress it.

These, fellow citizens, are the matters respecting the state of the nation, which I have thought of importance to be submitted to your consideration at this time. Some others of less moment, or not yet ready for communication, will be the subject of separate messages. I am happy in this opportunity of committing the arduous affairs of our government to the collected wisdom of the Union. Nothing shall be wanting on my part to inform, as far as in my power, the legislative judgment, nor to carry that judgment into faithful execution. The prudence and temperance of your discussions will promote, within your own walls, that conciliation which so much befriends rational conclusion; and by its example will encourage among our constituents that progress of opinion which is tending to unite them in object and in will. That all should be satisfied with any one order of things is not to be expected, but I indulge the pleasing persuasion that the great body of our citizens will cordially concur in honest and disinterested efforts, which have for their object to preserve the general and State governments in their constitutional form and equilibrium; to maintain peace abroad, and order and obedience to the laws at home; to establish principles and practices of administration favorable to the security of liberty and property, and to reduce expenses to what is necessary for the useful purposes of government.

FINIS

ThomasJeffersonQuoteJesusMission

Footnote(s): 1.
The Barbary States were the Arab Muslim (Islamic) States of North Africa; the Muslims were pirates, slavers, and generally the same as they are today. They committed piracy much the same way they do today in states like Somalia. North Africa at the time of Mohammed’s birth and centuries before were Christian States, from about 540 A.D. the Plague of Justinian wiped out about half the Christian population. Much as the Muslims do today, they wait for a peoples weakened condition where they as cowards are almost assured a victory. This left those states vulnerable to the Muslim Menace and by 711 A.D. all the Christian provinces fell to the Muslim sword of the moon god allah and their inhabitants enslaved. Just as the Romans had done before them with the true followers of Christ, christians were persecuted incessantly, killed horribly, and enslaved cruelly.

The vast area conquered by the Arab Muslims (followers of the false prophet and usurper Mohammed) became known as Barbary States; Morocco, Algeria, Tunis,  Tripoli, and Barca, which is sometimes included with Tripoli. The Muslims of North Africa practiced slavery on a vast scale by raiding the coasts of Europe and stealing men, women, and children for slavery or to obtain ransom money from their relatives. Their slave empire also extended southward into sub Sahara Africa. It should be noted before the Muslim’s enslaved their captives, it was universal in Africa for the victors to eat their captives or sacrifice them to idols, so the Muslims instituting slavery was actually a step toward civilizing those areas of Africa which practiced cannibalism. In the early periods of Europe, slavery was a general custom, which yielded only gradually to the humane influences of true Christianity. Fair haired Saxon slaves from England caught the attention of Pope Gregory in the slave markets of Rome, upon seeing them, he hailed them as angels.

They were constantly interrupting European and American shipping in the Mediterranean and Straits of Gibraltar, kidnapping, killing and enslaving European and American sailors, much like the Muslims do today.  Morocco was the first country to seize a U.S. ship. The Betsey was a merchant brig and was seized off the coast of Spain in 1784. Much like our government does today the Colonial government of the young Republic tried diplomacy before they realized trying to appease the Arab Muslims was a fools errand, and they decided to use force to stop the abuses by the Muslim’s in the Barbary States.

Just as the Crusades took place because of centuries of Muslim oppression of Christians and the constant invasions into Europe by the Muslim Menace, which would have overrun Europe if it had not been for the man (Charles “the Hammer” Martel) raised by God to stop the Muslim horde who had just sacked and were pillaging Aquitaine. Charles, under whose leadership the Europeans stopped the advance of the Muslim armies into Europe in 732. Much as the Muslim cowards do today, once defeated at the Battle of Tours they turned tail and ran all the way back to Iberia, which surprised Charles as he was expecting another attack from the Muslims who vastly outnumbered his army. Charles’ victory at the Battle of Tours saved Western Europe from the Muslim invasions and was a turning point in European history.

Reference: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States; December 7, 1801
Thomas Jefferson by David Saville Muzzey

Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis

Oversight Committees IRS Targeting Investigation Malfeasance

No wonder Democrat Minority Leader (Rep Elijah Cummings) in the House Oversight Committee Has Fought So Hard and Viciously to Impede the Oversights Committees Investigation into the IRS Targeting Tea Party, Religious, Jewish, and Conservative Organizations.

IRS“House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa on Wednesday accused his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, of colluding with the IRS to attack one of the tea party groups that was targeted by the tax agency for intrusive scrutiny and long delays.

Mr. Issa and five other top Republicans said they just last week were given emails showing Mr. Cummings sought information from the IRS about True the Vote, a conservative tax-exempt organization that drew the ire of liberals for pushing states to eliminate potentially bogus names from their voter rolls.”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/9/issa-irs-coordinated-dems-attack-tea-party-group/

Keep in mind North Carolina officials found over 36,000 cases of Voter Fraud just in their State during the 2012 election cycle. This should be one of the Greatest Crimes in America. Dealt the most severe punishment for it undermines the very bedrock of our Republic. When a person commits voter fraud, they are not only robbing each individual who votes, they are robbing our Republic of the very democratic principles of its founding.

Excerpt from page two of above linked story: “Sixty years ago, Joe McCarthy tried — and failed — to hold an American citizen in contempt after she professed her innocence and asserted her rights under the Fifth Amendment. I reject Chairman Issa’s attempts to re-create our committee in Joe McCarthy’s image, and I object to his effort to drag us back to that shameful era in which Congress tried to strip away the constitutional rights of American citizens under the bright lights of hearings that had nothing to do with responsible oversight and everything to do with the most dishonorable kind of partisan politics,” Mr. Cummings said.

This is pretty rich coming from Cummings who has done everything he can to impede the Oversights committees investigation into the IRS stripping away True American Citizens Rights. A government employee is the government, they are not an American citizen. If an American business person gives up their Constitutional Rights when entering into public commerce, then an American who enters into public service give up those same rights when entering that same service!

Here are the documents about Democrat Rep Cummings’  interactions with the IRS about a targeted conservative organization: True The Vote

Keep in mind hundreds of Progressive, Liberal, Democrat 501c Organizations have been politically active for decades. See it was just fine with the Democrats when it was only their side who took advantage of these tax-exempt organizations. These include to name a few:
Fierce;
Moveon.org;
Voto Latino;
Labor Unions;
Planned Parenthood;
The Ruckus Society;
Brennan Center for Justice;
The New World Foundation;
Americans United for Change;
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration;
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND);

It is only when organizations who are opposed to the Democrats and in fact to some extent the leadership in the GOP that the 501 organizations suddenly need revision and fixing by Congress to reign in their political activity. Democrats do this all the time, they create legislation they take advantage of, then when their opposition takes advantage of the same. They then want to revise those rules, or repeal the legislation to keep the opposition from doing the same. Democrats, liberals and progressives truly are the biggest hypocrites in America. Cummings at the very least should be removed from his duties as a member of the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.

Here are just a few of those average hard working Americans targeted by the IRS

The Reason Behind Low Congressional Approval Ratings “Far Too Long”

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Attention Congress & Elected Government Officials: When the people we elect to fix the problems of governmental abuse of the citizenry (for decades now) continually refuse to address those issues and be more concerned with their re-elections than in doing what is right for America, it’s veterans and it’s citizenry. It is getting U.S. closer and closer to the 2nd Revolution that many seem to be hoping for, including those in government who seem to want the same. It would be wise if you in Congress who we give the power of the purse and of legislation, work to scale back the bureaucracy and the power they weld and use to abuse We The People. Do not mistake this for a threat or a call to any drastic measures by we the American people. I am not writing this to stir up strife, division, hatred, or anything of such manner. I and others like me do not stir the pot, it is our government who has been stirring it for far too long, and our congress and courts failing to do anything about it. This is simply a friendly piece of advice from an American son and father with his ear to the ground, who is praying we can fix these problems before it is too late and hoping it is not too late already. As we can see with recent events, more and more people are getting fed up with the abuse, corruption, malfeasance, cronyism and treason we have been experiencing from our governmental bureaucracies for far too long.

It’s easy to see why the Congress of the United States have such low approval ratings. Our elected officials in Congress seem to be inept and clueless in regards to the American people and their plight. While you have bi-partisan bickering going on over issues that are only important to those in Washington D.C. and their political aspirations, the Federal Government and the bureaucracies that it involves are escaping unharmed and unaccountable for the abuse they have meted out to the citizenry for far too long, under far too many presidential administrations.

Thomas Paine quote Politicians

Barack Obama is not the first president to preside over the alphabet soup agencies that go to make up the federal bureaucracy, he is only the latest in a long line of them since at least Richard Nixon, a republican who was also a progressive. I would argue it was long before his time as president that it started, but since he presided over the institution of the EPA, I will begin with him.

Obama is also not the first president to utterly fail to faithfully enforce the law when it comes to immigration. The GOP and the Democrats have both unlawfully ruled against the American peoples interest in this. Both parties have listened to everyone, other than those people whose votes mean nothing once the politicians are elected. This is shown on the latest deal with the presidents illegal amnesty, I knew the Congress would fail to address it with the new majority.The immigration system was never “broken”, it was just our politicians refused to enforce the laws that exist!

It doesn’t matter what the people who elected the politicians want, it doesn’t matter what is good for the American people, it only matters what the lobbyists, big money players, the US Chamber of Commerce, and other special interests want.

The members elected to Congress never listen to the voters who put them there, it only matters what the political pundits and consultants say, the voters are too dumb to know why the voters elected a certain politician or group of politicians. No, the politicians cannot ask the people who elected them directly why they voted for them, they need paid political consultants to tell us voters why we elected them.

Far too many politicians these days seem to think it is more important for we the people to listen to them, than it is for the politicians to listen to us!

This new Congress couldn’t even get Keystone pipeline accomplished. The only time Congress ever accomplishes anything is when they join together to pass more legislation that is harmful to the American people and the government bureaucracy can use to force more onerous regulations on us that further stifles our liberty, the economy, and fundamental principles of the Republic.

I’m not going to go into a long list or details about the individual instances of this abuse, most of you that care about it and pay attention know the many stories, those of you who don’t, the stories are easily found on the internet through search engines and on youtube. I will mention some of the latest such as the NSA spying, the IRS targeting of conservatives, the EPA abuses that happen on a regular basis, the case of Justina Pelletier in Massachusetts, the Fast and Furious scandal that took place during two presidential administrations, the list is long and it is growing by leaps and bounds under the current administration. Add the latest and most egregious abuse, the abuse that has led to the deaths of veterans who depended on the VA and the bureaucracy that serves them, it is all adding up.

It is clear that Congress has failed for far too long to address the abuses by the federal government and the bureaucracy has gotten far too out of hand. It’s members it seems, have been involved in the bureaucracy far too long, to be effective in their representation of the people’s and liberties interests. If this Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate cannot refrain from only having bi-partisan agreement on issues, laws and regulations that only do further harm to the American people and their liberties, then it is time we the people replace them all with those, who still have more than just a foothold in the communities they are elected to serve!

It is time for Congress to get off their fancy derrieres, put aside their politics and bickering, and get back to the work we the people have elected them to do. They need to not only reign in the alphabet soup agencies, that go to make up the federal bureaucracy, they need to eliminate them. They are the monsters of Congress’s creation, and it is up to Congress to correct the mistakes of their past. It is time they repeal these regulations, and pass laws that outright ban these agencies from making more, the more regulations they create, the more onerous they become, and it leads the agencies involved to abuse their power with more and more impunity and aggression towards the citizens, Congress people are elected to represent. It is time for the malfeasance and abuse of power to end!

See also: Appeal to the People Concerning the Heavy Hand of Government
The heavy hand of government has become completely unacceptable in the US, Barack Obama likes to lecture US about American Values. He and his Whitehouse’s administration of the Federal Government are the antithesis and in Direct Opposition to everything our Constitution and the … Continue reading

The Greatest Domestic Terrorist Organization in America is the Federal Government

The federal government has become the greatest domestic terrorist organization, and the greatest threat to peace and happiness in America. The continuing slide towards a police state we see in America today, is on a trajectory that cannot be … Continue reading

 

The Truth Concerning Military Funding During Government Shutdown

The truth concerning military funding, veterans benefits, and survivor death benefit for fallen soldiers families, and widows.

Ceremonial Honor Guard prepare to move the flag-draped casket of former President Ronald Reagan during his state funeral in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda

Ceremonial Honor Guard prepare to move the flag-draped casket of former President Ronald Reagan during his state funeral in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda

This has been and is an outrage and completely shameful of the democrats and the Commander-in-Chief. This same conduct by the democrats has been happening for the last 5 years, ever since Barack Obama took office. A National Disgrace!

Representative Duncan Hunter, former Marine and Congressman Representing California’s 50th District explains it in the above video.

However, I will provide further proof for those who refuse to believe anything from Republicans or Fox News.

H.R.2216 – Bill: Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

Sponsor: Rep. Culberson, John Abney [R-TX-7] (Introduced 05/28/2013)
Major Recorded Votes:06/04/2013 : Passed House
Latest Action: 06/27/2013 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 102.

H.R. 2216 Overview: Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014 – Title I: Department of Defense – Appropriates funds for FY2014 for the Department of Defense (DOD) for: (1) military construction for the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, and Air Force (military departments), DOD, the Army and Air National Guard, and the Army, Navy, and Air Force reserves; (2) the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Security Investment Program; (3) family housing construction and related operation and maintenance for the military departments and DOD; (4) the Department of Defense Family Housing Improvement Fund; (5) chemical demilitarization construction; and (6) the Department of Defense Base Closure Account.

H.J.Res.72 – Joint Resolution: Veterans Benefits Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

Sponsor: Rep. Culberson, John Abney [R-TX-7] (Introduced 10/01/2013)
Major Recorded Votes: 10/01/2013 : Failed House; 10/03/2013 : Passed House
Latest Action:10/05/2013 Read the second time. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 207.

H.J.Res.72 – Joint Resolution Overview

Veterans Benefits Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 – Makes appropriations for FY2014 for veterans’ benefits, specifically for entitlements and other mandatory payments whose budget authority was provided in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013 (division E of P.L. 113-6), to continue activities at the rate to maintain program levels under current law, under the authority and conditions provided in the applicable appropriations Act for FY2013, to be continued through December 15, 2013. Allows obligations for mandatory payments due on or about the first day of any month that begins after October 2013 but not later than 30 days after December 15, 2013, to continue to be made and makes funds available for such payments.

Provides amounts for “Department of Veterans Affairs–Departmental Administration–General Operating Expenses, Veterans Benefits Administration” at a specified rate for operations, subject to the authority and conditions as provided under P.L. 113-6, and makes them available to the extent and in the manner that would be provided by such Act.

Makes appropriations and funds made available and authority granted under this joint resolution available until whichever of the following first occurs: (1) enactment into law of an appropriation for any project or activity provided for in this joint resolution, (2) enactment into law of the applicable appropriations Act for FY2014 without any provision for such project or activity, or (3) December 15, 2013.

Expresses the sense of Congress that this joint resolution may also be referred to as the Honoring Our Promise to America’s Veterans Act.

As anyone can see, just as the Republicans in Congress have been saying, the People’s House or House of Representatives keep passing legislation and it goes to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nevada) refuses to let the Senate vote on them, or bring them to the floor of the Senate for a vote. He has continuously killed the Bills being passed through the People’s Representatives in the House.  He has done this for the past five years, ever since the time Barack Obama took the office of the President.

Go to the Congressional Record: United States Legislative Information
You will find Bill after Bill, Resolution after Resolution, passes the House, goes to the Senate and Harry Reid refuses to act on them. If you’re really interested in the truth, it really isn’t hard to find the answers. Just as they did with Obamacare, the democrats are using Parliamentary tricks, misinformation, distraction, and lies, with their willing accomplices in the News media, to keep the House of the People’s Representatives from doing what we the people elect them to do, and to keep the American people in the dark as to what is really going on in Washington D.C.

If the Democrats had listened about getting Obama’s spending under control before, and if they had listened to the American people when they shoved Obamacare down our throats, there would be no need for government shutdown now!

GovShutdown

Indeed, the truth will set you free, God bless and have a good day.

The Obamacare roll-out illustrates Obama’s presidency perfectly

Obamacare Healthcare.gov

Source: Yahoo news

The Obamacare roll-out illustrates Obama’s presidency perfectly.

Not Ready
Doesn’t Work
It’s Non-negotiable
Leadership is lacking
Costs more than it’s worth
Everyone is laughing about it
Supporters won’t admit the flaws
Long on promises, short on truth
Everyone wants to be exempt from it
Supporters lied about its effectiveness
If you don’t participate you get penalized
Product doesn’t measure up to the hype
Your security and privacy are highly at risk
It doesn’t function like we were told it would
People who voted for it, don’t want it anymore.
Supporters will say anything to get us to accept it
Premiums are unaffordable to average Americans
No one told supporters about the high deductibles
If you rebel against it, the IRS will come after you
Leaders are wavered (misspelling intended) or exempt
The majority of American’s do not see any need for it
You have to give up everything about you to participate
When you ask questions about it, no one knows anything
Government employees are exempt but the people are stuck with it
It works better for illegal aliens & foreigners than it does American citizens
If you don’t buy into it, the government comes after you for punitive damages

We see during this partial government shutdown the main priority of the government under the administration of Obama is to harm the American people. Just imagine if even more of the economy & nation could be affected by Obama’s punitive measures against the American people during the shutdown.

There should be no doubt now in anyone’s minds with Obama’s closing memorials, ocean, national parks, etc., Denying our warrior’s family’s the death benefits promised by a grateful Nation? He had his National Park Service even hold people vacationing in Yellowstone at gun point, wouldn’t let them leave the hotel they were staying in to even go outside? Opens the Washington Mall for an illegal alien demonstration, yet blocks the Honor Flight WWII Vets from visiting the memorial built in their honor? Just to try to hurt US during this government shutdown? Let’s not forget he closed the White House to school children’s tours after he got the sequestration cuts that he and his admin came up with. The tours are still to this day closed, even after private individuals stepped forward to pay for the tours. There can be no doubt Barack Obama is trying to hurt U.S.!

There are times that come to Nations, when the petty divisions no longer matter. In these times it is imperative for men to choose what side they will be on, where there is no middle ground, where the contrast is so clearly defined that it becomes right versus wrong, and good versus evil.

I think we have come to such a time in this nation, where men must stand and be counted, or be counted on for nothing. If you are nothing, then nothing is where you will stand, and you will be nothing but swept aside when the counting is done.

So in these days of choosing, let us choose wisely the course which we take, for if we are to stand for good, we must stand together or fall alone and without pity among the ruins of society. Which side will you choose? God and Liberty, or man and tyranny?

You will smile here at the consistency of those democratists who, when they are not on their guard, treat the humbler part of the community with the greatest contempt, whilst, at the same time they pretend to make them the depositories of all power. ~ Edmund Burke

House of Representatives: The Power of the Public Purse

American People! Please listen to words of wisdom from the Founding Fathers. For too long we have been giving up our power in Congress and / or letting our Representatives in the House give up our power, not only to the Executive Branch, but also to the Senate and the Courts. Please contact your representatives and let them know this has to stop.

From Thomas Jefferson Defines What A True Republic Is!

“It was to escape the oppression resulting from governments controlled by the select few, so often ruling under the assumption that “might makes right,” that gave birth to republics. Monarchial rulers refuse to recognize their accountability to the people governed by them. In a republic the converse is the rule. The tenure of office may be for a short or a long period, or even for life, yet those in office are at all times answerable, either directly or indirectly, to the people, and in proportion to their responsibility to those for whom they may be the public agents, and the nearer the power to enact laws and control public servants lies with the great body of the people the more nearly does a government take unto itself the form of a republic—not in name alone, but in fact.”

The House of Representatives, are the closest to the American people because they are up for re-election every 2 years, instead of 6 like the Senate and 4 like the President. This  is also the reason the House of Representatives have the  Power of the Purse, because they are more accountable to the people and it is through the House of Reps that the people are supposed to be able to weld that power by defunding something the President is doing that the people disagree with.

Please continue to read Jefferson on Republics and the key to stopping activists judges who usurp the peoples authority on too many issues. Also see our articles on the Constitution Article 1 and Constitution Article 2  The founding fathers put a lot of symbolism into the Founding Documents, it is very important for the American people to understand this. Please help us educate the American people by sharing this information with others.

Constitution: Article I; Sec. vii. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

House of Representatives, The Peoples Power

This restriction in regard to the raising of money, is founded on the principle that the House of Representatives is strictly the representation of the people, and is intended to prevent undue appropriation of money, which might be made by a house less dependent on the people.

The house of representatives of the United States is the rightful purse holder of the nation; and when it shall lose this original and most important feature in its constitution, the public good must become a creature of party and passion. The public purse or power of appropriations: a power which, certainly, it was never intended to vest in any one man, though a president of the United States. It is a fundamental principle, in a free government, that the immediate representatives of the people should keep the purse strings, and should have the constant and supreme control of the public funds. The Constitution of the United States fully recognizes this important principle. The guardianship of the public purse is the most important privilege and sacred duty of the House.

It is clear, that the representatives of the people, having the sole right to assess taxes, must naturally possess the power of disposing of their proceeds. This principle is so fully established, that its operation should never be brought into question. The people, surely, must have a right to disburse their own money; they are capable of being their own guardians.  The power of the sword and the purse cannot be welded by the same hand, a doctrine which, at once, strikes at the very root of the representative system, and casts into the hands of the executive officer a tremendous power. It is impossible that any president should know the will and wishes of the people so well as their members of congress, expressly elected or appointed to carry such wants and wishes into the general government; and, as before observed, those who pay the taxes have an unalienable control over their disbursements, except in a government purely despotic.

Representatives are bound, as members of congress, to act for the general good of the country. Their principal duties are to check and reform abuses of the administration; to redress public and private grievances to watch over the public expenditure; to enforce by their power of inquiry and impeachment a pure administration of justice in all departments; to assist in framing wise laws; and, finally, to preserve and promote, by every constitutional means, the freedom and prosperity of the great body of the people. The power and privileges of this part of the legislature are commensurate to its great importance to the government.

The House of Representatives are the keepers of the public purse: all grants, subsidies, and taxes must originate with them; for it is a constitutional maxim, that taxation and representation go hand in hand; and that the people only have a right to tax themselves. By the power of withholding supplies, they have a strong control over the executive; and, by the constitution, they enjoy all the privileges necessary to their dignity and independence, and the unbiased discharge of their high functions. Though new laws may be proposed by any member of either house, the consent of all the three constituent parts of the legislature is necessary to make them binding on the subject; and, though any part of the legislature may, by withholding its consent, prevent the enactment of a law, it requires the agreement of the three to repeal an existing statute.

James Madison: Federalist 58.
“The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure. But will not the House of Representatives be as much interested as the Senate in maintaining the government in its proper functions, and will they not therefore be unwilling to stake its existence or its reputation on the pliancy of the Senate? Or, if such a trial of firmness between the two branches were hazarded, would not the one be as likely first to yield as the other? These questions will create no difficulty with those who reflect that in all cases the smaller the number, and the more permanent and conspicuous the station, of men in power, the stronger must be the interest which they will individually feel in whatever concerns the government.”

John Locke: Second Treatise of Civil Government
“As usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to, so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to. And this is making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private, separate advantage.—When the governor, however entitled, makes not the law, but his will, the rule; and his commands and actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion. “

Open Letter to #Congress Concerning Amnesty

illegal_immigrantsExcerpt from one of my Jarkesy articles: Are you aware of what your constituents are saying and thinking about this new amnesty bill the senate is trying to foist on We the American people by the Gang of Eight? You know we the people are sick and tired of these lawless gangs in America. And they ARE lawless because they do not uphold the Constitution, the peoples supreme law of the land and frankly we are sick and tired of being lied to by our Reps. When over 70% of the American people are against what Congress and the President are doing and the Congress and President continue down the same path that WE are against. We then have a government that is governing AGAINST the WILL of the American people, i.e. Taxation without Representation.

They should stay in their own country, clean up the corruption in theirs. Fight for the freedoms our ancestors fought for, and we continue to fight for here. When you have a huge influx of people coming to the United States that are used to corruption in there own government, they have an apathy towards the corruption in politics we are trying to clean up in America, it does nothing towards the end of improving America or advancing our freedoms. As those from our southern border have proved they have no interest in assimilating into the American people. They want to bring their faulty ideas and apathy towards government corruption and elect the same type of individuals they were accustomed to in their home countries. It does nothing but hurt those citizens native to this soil, who are least able to withstand the harm, i.e. the poor and middle class. Quit pandering to your special interest groups, your big money donors and do what is right for the American people, instead of doing what you assume to be right, or you try to guilt us into, with regards to those foreign nationals who broke our laws to take advantage of those freedoms, liberties and benefits they, nor their ancestors had any hand in advancing!

If the government didn’t keep letting masses of low skilled illegal aliens cross the border who’ll take any job, then McDonald’s, Farm’s etc would have to pay more for American workers, who the GOP says won’t take the jobs, it would also eliminate the minimum wage argument of Democrats, this would then make the corrupt labor unions obsolete even more so than they are now. Illegal aliens hurt the wages of all American’s, especially the poor and lower middle-class.

We already have a path to citizenship in this country and we already have laws to enforce border security. If you want to pass another bill so that it looks like you are doing something, pass a bill requiring the President and his administration to enforce those laws. We listened to you in 1986 when you mislead, and lied to us about future border enforcement, we are not listening to you now! We DEMAND you listen to U.S. Not the special interest groups, lobbyists, consultants and those already here illegally. If you do not give in to our demands we will do all within our power to replace you with those who will. You have done enough to hurt small business,  the American workers, and American citizens, our rights, our privileges and our lives, we are fed up and we will not take it anymore.  If the Congress passes ANY bill that gives Amnesty to 11,000,000 Illegal Immigrants I will stand with those who vote to replace ALL incumbents during the next election cycles.

See what George Washington felt on immigration here, https://captainjamesdavis.net/2014/01/24/making-the-foreign-born-familiar-with-the-american-spirit-by-george-s-tilroe/ he would not be happy with the current crop of political leaders in the United States.

Do you know these words? “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Do you know the import and implication of those same words?

You in government for too long have been governing WITHOUT the consent of the American people. We are sick of the lies, deception and distortion. Any of you who vote to pass this Amnesty bill against the wishes of the American people your political careers will be over. You will still have to face the people who voted for you all these years. It is time you in Congress, our direct representatives start listening to your constituents and quit listening to your consultants and the special interest lobbying groups. Those people ARE NOT the people who voted for you, NOR are they the people you represent!

You in government would do well to get back to the basics of the Constitution and quit subverting it, distorting it, and manipulating it to suit your own ends. https://captainjamesdavis.net/2013/06/21/rules-of-interpreting-the-constitution-by-justice-joseph-story/

Some words of wisdom for you and your colleagues:

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. It is not enough in a situation of trust in the commonwealth, that a man means well to his country; it is not enough that in his single person he never did an evil act, but always voted according to his conscience, and even harangued against every design which he apprehended to be prejudicial to the interests of his country. This innoxious and ineffectual character, that seems formed upon a plan of apology and disculpation, falls miserably short of the mark of public duty. That duty demands and requires, that what is right should not only be made known, but made prevalent; that what is evil should not only be detected, but defeated.” quote Edmund Burke

See more from Patrick Henry, he may well be proved a Prophet as well as a Statesman https://captainjamesdavis.net/2013/06/06/patrick-henry-may-well-be-proved-a-prophet-as-well-as-a-statesman/

It seems that We the American people are being played for suckers, you Republicans are at the very least Complacent and Capitulant and more than likely Complicit in the abuse and malfeasance we see so rampant in our government. Either you are in on it all and already know the answers to the questions we have, or you have been keeping your heads in the sand so you don’t have to know anything about it! The Democrats and the GOP are governing against the will of the American people and are complicit in subverting, distorting and dismantling our Constitution and the Rights guaranteed by it!

It is time Congress started doing it’s job of oversight, it’s time you held public hearings to get to the bottom of the abuses by this administration and the departments it heads. We are tired of being told everything is classified, for we all know that the “national security” argument has been completely used and abused so that it means little to us anymore. It’s time you un-classify it, be transparent, and answer to those who you are sworn to represent and uphold the oath of office you took when we gave you the privilege of  being our voice in government, too often you have not represented our voice, but have echoed the voices of those who did not elect you and who you are not paid to represent! Congress has the power of subpoena and the power of impeachment, it is time you in Congress grow a spine and use those powers to compel those who have committed these abuses to either testify or go to jail.

We Need A Citizens Committee To Investigate The IRS NOT A Special Prosecutor http://jarkesypolitical.com/2013/05/30/we-need-a-citizens-committee-to-investigate-the-irs-not-a-special-prosecutor/

For Congress to plead incapacity to do anything about the malfeasance & abuse of power by DOJ Holder, IRS Shulman, HHS Sebelius, EPA Jackson etc. It is Congress in the Senate who confirmed them! They are every bit as culpable as those involved at the White House and the administration of the POTUS. The Senate does not HAVE to confirm presidential appointees, We The People are tired of the politics as usual.  What has been transpiring for too long in government reminds me of what used to be called “Government by rings” https://captainjamesdavis.net/2013/04/16/the-cost-of-popular-liberty-by-brooks-adams-july-4th-1876/ or “to the victor the spoils” https://captainjamesdavis.net/2013/04/30/the-betrayal-of-we-the-american-people-our-nation-our-birthright/ which has no place in politics, especially in the United States of America.

For my series on the Rights of the American people, you can go here to help educate yourselves and others. https://captainjamesdavis.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/rights-of-american-citizens-general-rights-division-one/

For more on congressional powers see Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English) https://captainjamesdavis.net/2013/02/21/constitution-of-the-united-states-and-its-governmental-operations-in-plain-english/

U.S. Senate and House of Representative Phone Numbers and Contact Info by State

NOTE: I HAVE NOT UPDATED THE NAMES AND CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE 114th CONGRESS. IF YOU CHANGED CONGRESSMAN. TRY THE PHONE NUMBER OF THE REPRESENTATIVE YOU REPLACED THEM WITH! I WILL UPDATE ALL CONTACT INFORMATION AS SOON AS IT IS ALL AVAILABLE.

United States Senate and House of Representative Phone Numbers by State with a synopsis of Congressional Powers

 

Since the Congress and President seem to be having a hard time hearing the American citizens on various issues, I am providing phone numbers, twitter, facebook and email accounts for you to be able to contact each of your representatives with your concerns. Thereby also making it easier for your representatives to listen to you. Feel free to contact them early and often. Since members of Congress have been misleading people about their Constitutional powers, I am also including a synopsis of their powers.

Congressional Powers Under The Constitution: Distinct powers of the two houses. The House of Representatives @HouseFloor has the sole right of impeachment, that is, the right or power to accuse officers of the government for maladministration,malfeasance, or for crimes, offenses, or neglect of duty in their offices.

The @Senate has the sole right and power to try offenders impeached.

Each House is the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members; each determines the rules of its proceedings, and punishes or expels its own members for disorderly conduct.

Senators and representatives receive a compensation for their services which is ascertained by law. They are privileged from arrest, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace, during their attendance in the session, and in going to and returning from the same.

Officers of government cannot hold a seat in either house. Learn more about the Constitution here.

Senate_Seal US SENATE LOGOSenate Phone Numbers by State:

Alaska
Begich, Mark – (D – AK) (202) 224-3004 Fax: 202-224-2354
Murkowski, Lisa – (R – AK) (202) 224-6665 Fax: 202-224-5301

Alabama
Jeff Sessions –  @SenatorSessions (R – AL) (202) 224-4124 Fax: 202-224-3149 Web Site Montgomery: (334) 244-7017
Richard C. Shelby – @SenShelbyPress – (R – AL) (202) 224-5744 Fax: 202-224-3416 Web Site Tuscaloosa: (205) 759-5047

Arkansas
John Boozman –  @JohnBoozman (R – AR) (202) 224-4843 Fax: 202-228-1371 Web Site Lowell: (479) 725-0400
Mark L. Pryor@SenMarkPryor (D – AR) (202) 224-2353 Fax: 202-228-0908 Web Site Little Rock: (501) 324-6336

Arizona
Jeff Flake@JeffFlake (R – AZ) (202) 224-4521 Fax: 202-228-0515 Web Site Mesa: (480) 833-0092
John McCain – @SenJohnMcCain (R – AZ) (202) 224-2235 Fax: 202-228-2862 Web Site Phoenix: (602) 952-2410

California
Barbara Boxer – @BarbaraBoxer (D – CA) (202) 224-3553 Fax: 202) 224-0454 Web Site San Francisco: (415) 403-0100
Dianne Feinstein@SenFeinstein (D – CA) (202) 224-3841 Fax: 202-228-3954 Web Site San Francisco: (415) 393-0707

Colorado
Michael F. Bennet – @SenBennetCO (D – CO) (202) 224-5852 Fax: 202-224-1933 Web Site Denver: (303) 455-7600
Mark Udall @MarkUdall (D – CO) (202) 224-5941 Fax: 202-224-6471 Web Site Denver: (303) 650-7820

Connecticut
Richard Blumenthal@SenBlumenthal (D – CT) (202) 224-2823 Fax: 202-224-6593 Web Site Hartford: (860) 258-6940
Christopher Murphy@ChrisMurphyCT (D – CT) (202) 224-4041 Fax: 202-224-9750 Web Site Boston: (617) 565-8519

Delaware
Thomas R. Carper  – @SenatorCarper (D – DE) (202) 224-2441 Fax: 202-228-2190 Web Site Dover: (302) 674-3308
Christopher A. Coons –  @ChrisCoons (D – DE) (202) 224-5042 Fax: 202-228-3075 Web Site Wilmington: (302) 573-6345

Florida
Bill Nelson@SenBillNelson (D – FL) (202) 224-5274 Fax: 202-228-2183 Web Site Orlando: (888) 671-4091
Marco Rubio – @marcorubio (R – FL) (202) 224-3041 Fax: 202-228-0285 Web Site Orlando: (407) 254-2573

Georgia
Saxby Chambliss@SaxbyChambliss (R – GA) (202) 224-3521 Fax 202-224-0103 Web Site Atlanta: (770) 763-9090
Johnny Isakson@SenatorIsakson (R – GA) (202) 224-3643 Fax: 202-228-2090 Web Site Atlanta: (770) 661-0999

Hawaii
Mazie K. Hirono@maziehirono (D – HI) (202) 224-6361 Fax: 202-224-2126 Web Site Honolulu: (808) 541-1986
Brian Schatz – @SenBrianSchatz (D – HI) (202) 224-3934 Fax: 202-228-1153  Honolulu: (808) 541-2542

Iowa
Chuck Grassley  – @ChuckGrassley (R – IA) (202) 224-3744 Fax: 202-224-6020 Web Site Des Moines: (515) 288-1145
Tom Harkin@SenatorHarkin (D – IA) (202) 224-3254 Fax: 202-224-9369 Web Site Des Moines: (515) 284-4574

Idaho
Mike Crapo  – @MikeCrapo (R – ID) (202) 224-6142 Fax: 202-228-1375 Web Site Boise: (208) 334-1776
James E. Risch  – @SenatorRisch (R – ID) (202) 224-2752 Fax: 202-228-1067 Web Site Boise: (208) 342-7985

Illinois
Richard (Dick) J. Durbin@SenatorDurbin (D – IL) (202) 224-2152 Fax: 202-228-0400 Web Site Chicago: (312) 353-4952
Mark Kirk @SenatorKirk (R – IL) (202) 224-2854 Fax: 202-228-4611 Web Site Chicago: (312) 886-3506

Indiana
Daniel Coats  – @SenDanCoats (R – IN) (202) 224-5623 Fax: (202) 228-1820 Web Site Indianapolis: (317) 554-0750
Joe Donnelly @SenDonnelly (D – IN) (202) 224-4814 Fax: 202-228-0360 Web Site South Bend: (574) 288-2780

Kansas
Jerry Moran  –  @JerryMoran (R – KS) (202) 224-6521 Fax: 202-228-6966 Web Site Olathe: (913) 393-0711
Pat Roberts  –  @SenPatRoberts (R – KS) (202) 224-4774 Fax: 202-224-3514 Web Site Overland Park: (913) 451-9343

Kentucky
Mitch McConnell  – @McConnellPress  (R – KY) (202) 224-2541 Fax: 202-224-2499 Web Site Louisville: (502) 582-6304
Rand Paul  – @SenRandPaul (R – KY) (202) 224-4343 Fax: 202-228-1373 Web Site Bowlling Green: (270) 782-8303

Louisiana
Mary L. Landrieu@marylandrieu (D – LA) (202) 224-5824 Fax: 202-224-9735 Web Site New Orleans: (504) 589-2427
David Vitter  – @DavidVitter (R – LA) (202) 224-4623 Fax: 202-228-2577 Web Site Lafayette: (337) 262-6898

Massachusetts
William M. Cowan – @SenMoCowan (D – MA) (202) 224-2742 Fax: 202-224-8525
Elizabeth Warren@elizabethforma (D – MA) (202) 224-4543 Fax: 202-228-2646 Web Site Boston: (617) 565-3170

Maryland
Benjamin L. Cardin@SenatorCardin (D – MD) (202) 224-4524 Fax: 202-224-1651 Web Site Baltimore: (410) 962-4436
Barbara A. Mikulski@SenatorBarb (D – MD) (202) 224-4654 Fax: 202-224-8858 Web Site Baltimore: (410) 962-4510

Maine
Susan M. Collins@SenatorCollins (R – ME) (202) 224-2523 Fax: 202-224-2693 Web Site Bangor: (207) 945-0417
Angus S. King, Jr. – @SenAngusKing (I – ME) (202) 224-5344 Fax: 202-224-1946 Web Site Auburn: (207) 786-2451

Michigan
Carl Levin – @SenCarlLevin (D – MI) (202) 224-6221 Fax: 202-224-1388 Web Site Detroit: (313) 226-6020
Debbie Stabenow@stabenow (D – MI) (202) 224-4822 Fax: 202-228-0325 Web SiteEast Lansing: (517) 203-1760

Minnesota
Al Franken@alfranken (D – MN) (202) 224-5641 Fax: 202-224-1152 Web Site St. Paul: (651) 221-1016
Amy Klobuchar – @amyklobuchar (D – MN) (202) 224-3244 Fax: 202-228-2186 Web Site Minneapolis: (612) 727-5220

Missouri
Roy Blunt  –  @RoyBlunt (R – MO) (202) 224-5721 Fax: 202-224-8149 Web Site Springfield: (417) 877-7814
Claire McCaskill@clairecmc (D – MO) (202) 224-6154 Fax: 202-228-6326 Web Site Kansas City: (816) 421-1639

Mississippi
Thad Cochran  –  @SenThadCochran (R – MS) (202) 224-5054 Fax: 202-224-9450 Web Site Jackson: (601) 965-4649
Roger F. Wicker@SenatorWicker (R – MS) (202) 224-6253 Fax: 202-228-0378 Web Site Jackson: (601) 965-4644

Montana
Max Baucus@MaxBaucus (D – MT) (202) 224-2651 Fax: 202-224-9412 Web Site Billings: (406) 657-6790
Jon Tester@jontester (D – MT) (202) 224-2644 Fax: 202-224-8594 Web Site Helena: (406) 449-5401

North Carolina
Richard Burr  –  @SenatorBurr (R – NC) (202) 224-3154 Fax 202-228-2981 Web Site Winston-Salem: (800) 685-8916
Kay R. Hagan @SenatorHagan (D – NC)(202) 224-6342 Fax: 202-228-2563 Web Site Greensboro: (336) 333-5311

North Dakota
Heidi Heitkamp@SenatorHeitkamp (D – ND) (202) 224-2043 Fax: 202-224-7776 Web SiteBismarck: (701) 258-4648
John Hoeven@SenJohnHoeven (R – ND) (202) 224-2551 Fax: 202-224-7999 Web Site Bismarck: (701) 250-4618

Nebraska
Deb Fischer  – @SenatorFischer (R – NE) (202) 224-6551 Fax: 202-228-0012 Web Site Omaha: (402) 391-3411
Mike Johanns  – @Mike_Johanns (R – NE)(202) 224-4224 Fax: 202-224-5213 Web Site Omaha: (402) 758-8981

New Hampshire
Kelly Ayotte@KellyAyotte (R – NH) (202) 224-3324 Fax: 202-224-4952 Web Site Manchester: (603) 622-7979
Jeanne Shaheen@SenatorShaheen (D – NH) (202) 224-2841 Fax: 202-228-4131 Web Site Manchester: (603) 647-7500

New Jersey
Jeff Chiesa – Email: Senator_Chiesa@Chiesa.Senate.gov (R – NJ) (202) 224-3224 Fax: 202-224-7981 Web Site
Robert Menendez@SenatorMenendez (D – NJ) (202) 224-4744 Fax: 202-228-2197 Web Site Newark: (973) 645-3030

New Mexico
Martin Heinrich@MartinHeinrich (D – NM) (202) 224-5521 Fax: 202-224-2852 Web Site Farmington: (502) 325-5030
Tom Udall@SenatorTomUdall (D – NM) (202) 224-6621 Fax: 202-228-3261 Web Site Albuquerque: (505) 346-6791

Nevada
Dean Heller – @SenDeanHeller  (R – NV) (202) 224-6244 Fax: 202-228-6753 Web Site Las Vegas: (702) 388-6605
Harry Reid@SenatorReid (D – NV) (202) 224-3542 Fax: 202-224-7327 Web Site Las Vegas: (702) 388-5020

New York
Kirsten E. Gillibrand@SenGillibrand (D – NY) (202) 224-4451 Fax: 202-228-0282 Web Site New York: (212) 688-6262
Charles E. Schumer@ChuckSchumer (D – NY) (202) 224-6542 Fax: 202-228-3027 Web Site New York: (212) 486-4430

Ohio
Sherrod Brown@SenSherrodBrown (D – OH) (202) 224-2315 Fax: 202-224-6519 Web Site Cleveland: (216) 522-7272
Rob Portman  – @RobPortman (R – OH) (202) 224-3353 Fax: 202-228-1382 Web Site Columbus: (614) 469-6774

Oklahoma
Tom Coburn  – @TomCoburn (R – OK) (202) 224-5754 Fax: 202-224-6008 Web Site Tulsa: (918) 581-7651
James M. Inhofe –  @JimInhofe(R – OK) (202) 224-4721 Fax: 202-228-0380 Web Site Tulsa: (918) 748-5111

Oregon
Jeff Merkley@SenJeffMerkley (D – OR) (202) 224-3753 Fax: 202-228-3997 Web Site Portland: (503) 326-3386
Ron Wyden@RonWyden (D – OR) (202) 224-5244 Fax: 202-228-2717 Web Site Portland: (503) 326-7525

Pennsylvania
Robert P. Casey Jr. – @SenBobCasey (D – PA) (202) 224-6324 Fax: 202-228-0604 Web Site Harrisburg: (717) 231-7540
Patrick J. Toomey  – @SenToomey (R – PA) (202) 224-4254 Fax: 202-228-1229 Web Site Philadelphia: (215) 241-1090

Rhode Island
Jack Reed@SenJackReed (D – RI) (202) 224-4642 Fax: 202-224-4680 Web Site Cranston: (401) 943-3100
Sheldon Whitehouse@SenWhitehouse (D – RI) (202) 224-2921 Fax: 202-228-2853 Web Site Providence: (401) 453-5294

South Carolina
Lindsey Graham@LindseyGrahamSC @GrahamBlog(R – SC) (202) 224-5972 Fax: 202-224-3808 Web Site Greenville: (864) 250-1417
Tim Scott  – @SenatorTimScott (R – SC) (202) 224-6121 Fax: 202-225-3407 Web Site Charleston: (843) 852-2222

South Dakota
Tim Johnson@SenJohnsonSD (D – SD) (202) 224-5842 Fax: 202-228-5765 Web Site Sioux Falls: (605) 332-8896
John Thune  – @SenJohnThune (R – SD) (202) 224-2321 Fax: 202-228-5429 Web Site Sioux Falls: (605) 334-9596

Tennessee
Lamar Alexander@SenAlexander (R – TN) (202) 224-4944 Fax: 202-228-3398 Web Site Nashville: (615) 736-5129
Bob Corker@SenBobCorker (R – TN) (202) 224-3344 Fax: 202-228-1264 Web Site Chattanooga: (423) 756-2757

Texas
John Cornyn  – @JohnCornyn (R – TX) (202) 224-2934 Fax: 202-228-2856 Web Site Austin: (512) 469-6034
Ted Cruz – @SenTedCruz (R – TX) (202) 224-5922 Fax: 202-224-0776 Web Site Austin: (512) 916-5834

Utah
Orrin G. Hatch@OrrinHatch (R – UT) (202) 224-5251 Fax: 202-224-6331 Web Site Salt Lake City: (801) 524-4380
Mike Lee@SenMikeLee (R – UT) (202) 224-5444 Fax: 202-224-6717 Web Site Salt Lake City: (801) 524-5933

Virginia
Tim Kaine@timkaine (D – VA) (202) 224-4024 Fax: 202-228-6363 Web Site Richmond: (804) 771-2221
Mark R. Warner@MarkWarner (D – VA) (202) 224-2023 Fax: 202-224-6295 Web Site Vienna: (703) 442-0670

Vermont
Patrick J. Leahy@SenatorLeahy (D – VT) (202) 224-4242 Fax: 202-224-3479 Web Site Burlington: (800) 642-3193
Bernard Sanders  – @SenSanders (I – VT) (202) 224-5141 Fax: 202-228-0776 Web Site Burlington: (800) 339-9834

Washington
Maria Cantwell@CantwellPress (D – WA) (202) 224-3441 Fax: 202-228-0514 Web Site Seattle: (206) 220-6400
Patty Murray@PattyMurray (D – WA) (202) 224-2621 Fax: 202-224-0238 Web Site Seattle: (206) 553-5545

Wisconsin
Tammy Baldwin@SenatorBaldwin (D – WI) (202) 224-5653 Fax: 202-224-9787 Web Site Madison: (608) 264-5338
Ron Johnson  – @SenRonJohnson (R – WI) (202) 224-5323 Fax: 202-228-6965 Web Site Milwaukee: (414) 276-7282

West Virginia
Joe Manchin, III@Sen_JoeManchin (D – WV) (202) 224-3954 Fax: 202-228-0002 Web Site Charleston: (304) 342-5855
John D. Rockefeller, IV – @SenRockefeller (D – WV)(202) 224-6472 Fax: 202-224-7665 Web Site Charleston: (304) 347-5372

Wyoming
John Barrasso – @SenJohnBarrasso (R – WY) (202) 224-6441 Fax: 202-224-1724 Web Site Casper: (307) 261-6413
Michael B. Enzi@SenatorEnzi (R – WY) (202) 224-3424 Fax: 202-228-0359 Web Site Gillette: (307) 682-6268

US House of Representatives

House of Representative Phone Numbers and Committee Assignments

Sorry for the errors on the layout, pasted from word and it is what it is. The information is all there, just the alignment is messed up.

Alabama

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

                Committee Assignment

1

Bonner, Jo

R

202-225-4931

Appropriations

2

Roby, Martha

R

202-225-2901

Agriculture
Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

3

Rogers (AL), Mike

R

202-225-3261

Agriculture
Armed Services
Homeland Security

4

Aderholt, Robert

R

202-225-4876

Appropriations

5

Brooks, Mo

R

202-225-4801

Armed Services
Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

6

Bachus, Spencer

R

202-225-4921

Financial Services
Judiciary

7

Sewell, Terri A.

D

202-225-2665

Financial Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Alaska

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Young, Don

R

202-225-5765

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

American Samoa

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Faleomavaega, Eni F. H.

D

202-225-8577

Foreign Affairs
Natural Resources

Arizona

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Kirkpatrick, Ann

D

202-225-3361

Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Barber, Ron

D

202-225-2542

Armed Services
Homeland Security
Small Business

3

Grijalva, Raul

D

202-225-2435

Education and the Workforce
Natural Resources

4

Gosar, Paul A.

R

202-225-2315

Natural Resources
Oversight and Government Reform

5

Salmon, Matt

R

202-225-2635

Education and the Workforce
Foreign Affairs

6

Schweikert, David

R

202-225-2190

Science, Space, and Technology
Small Business

7

Pastor, Ed

D

202-225-4065

Appropriations
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

8

Franks, Trent

R

202-225-4576

Armed Services
Judiciary

9

Sinema, Kyrsten

D

202-225-9888

Financial Services

Arkansas

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Crawford, Rick

R

202-225-4076

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

2

Griffin, Tim

R

202-225-2506

Ways and Means

3

Womack, Steve

R

202-225-4301

Appropriations

4

Cotton, Tom

R

202-225-3772

Financial Services
Foreign Affairs

California

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

LaMalfa, Doug

R

202-225-3076

Agriculture
Natural Resources

2

Huffman, Jared

D

202-225-5161

Budget
Natural Resources

3

Garamendi, John

D

202-225-1880

Agriculture
Armed Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

4

McClintock, Tom

R

202-225-2511

Budget
Natural Resources

5

Thompson, Mike

D

202-225-3311

Ways and Means
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

6

Matsui, Doris O.

D

202-225-7163

Energy and Commerce

7

Bera, Ami

D

202-225-5716

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

8

Cook, Paul

R

202-225-5861

Armed Services
Foreign Affairs
Veterans’ Affairs

9

McNerney, Jerry

D

202-225-1947

Energy and Commerce

10

Denham, Jeff

R

202-225-4540

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

11

Miller, George

D

202-225-2095

Education and the Workforce

12

Pelosi, Nancy

D

202-225-4965

Democratic Leader

13

Lee, Barbara

D

202-225-2661

Appropriations
Budget

14

Speier, Jackie

D

202-225-3531

Armed Services
Oversight and Government Reform

15

Swalwell, Eric

D

202-225-5065

Homeland Security
Science, Space, and Technology

16

Costa, Jim

D

202-225-3341

Agriculture
Natural Resources

17

Honda, Mike

D

202-225-2631

Appropriations

18

Eshoo, Anna G.

D

202-225-8104

Energy and Commerce

19

Lofgren, Zoe

D

202-225-3072

House Administration
Judiciary
Science, Space, and Technology

20

Farr, Sam

D

202-225-2861

Appropriations

21

Valadao, David

R

202-225-4695

Appropriations

22

Nunes, Devin

R

202-225-2523

Ways and Means
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

23

McCarthy, Kevin

R

202-225-2915

Majority Whip
Financial Services

24

Capps, Lois

D

202-225-3601

Energy and Commerce

25

McKeon, Buck

R

202-225-1956

Armed Services, Chairman
Education and the Workforce

26

Brownley, Julia

D

202-225-5811

Science, Space, and Technology
Veterans’ Affairs

27

Chu, Judy

D

202-225-5464

Judiciary
Small Business

28

Schiff, Adam

D

202-225-4176

Appropriations
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

29

Cárdenas, Tony

D

202-225-6131

Budget
Natural Resources
Oversight and Government Reform

30

Sherman, Brad

D

202-225-5911

Financial Services
Foreign Affairs

31

Miller, Gary

R

202-225-3201

Financial Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

32

Napolitano, Grace

D

202-225-5256

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

33

Waxman, Henry

D

202-225-3976

Energy and Commerce

34

Becerra, Xavier

D

202-225-6235

Ways and Means

35

Negrete McLeod, Gloria

D

202-225-6161

Agriculture
Veterans’ Affairs

36

Ruiz, Raul

D

202-225-5330

Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

37

Bass, Karen

D

202-225-7084

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary

38

Sanchez, Linda

D

202-225-6676

Ethics
Ways and Means

39

Royce, Ed

R

202-225-4111

Foreign Affairs, Chairman
Financial Services

40

Roybal-Allard, Lucille

D

202-225-1766

Appropriations

41

Takano, Mark

D

202-225-2305

Science, Space, and Technology
Veterans’ Affairs

42

Calvert, Ken

R

202-225-1986

Appropriations
Budget

43

Waters, Maxine

D

202-225-2201

Financial Services

44

Hahn, Janice

D

202-225-8220

Small Business
Transportation and Infrastructure

45

Campbell, John

R

202-225-5611

Budget
Financial Services

46

Sanchez, Loretta

D

202-225-2965

Armed Services
Homeland Security

47

Lowenthal, Alan

D

202-225-7924

Foreign Affairs
Natural Resources

48

Rohrabacher, Dana

R

202-225-2415

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

49

Issa, Darrell

R

202-225-3906

Oversight and Government Reform, Chairman
Judiciary

50

Hunter, Duncan D.

R

202-225-5672

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
Transportation and Infrastructure

51

Vargas, Juan

D

202-225-8045

Agriculture
Foreign Affairs
House Administration

52

Peters, Scott

D

202-225-0508

Armed Services
Science, Space, and Technology

53

Davis, Susan

D

202-225-2040

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

Colorado

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

DeGette, Diana

D

202-225-4431

Energy and Commerce

2

Polis, Jared

D

202-225-2161

Education and the Workforce
Rules

3

Tipton, Scott

R

202-225-4761

Agriculture
Natural Resources
Small Business

4

Gardner, Cory

R

202-225-4676

Energy and Commerce

5

Lamborn, Doug

R

202-225-4422

Armed Services
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

6

Coffman, Mike

R

202-225-7882

Armed Services
Small Business
Veterans’ Affairs

7

Perlmutter, Ed

D

202-225-2645

Financial Services

Connecticut

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Larson, John B.

D

202-225-2265

Ways and Means

2

Courtney, Joe

D

202-225-2076

Agriculture
Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

3

DeLauro, Rosa L.

D

202-225-3661

Appropriations

4

Himes, Jim

D

202-225-5541

Financial Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

5

Esty, Elizabeth

D

202-225-4476

Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

Delaware

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Carney, John

D

202-225-4165

Financial Services

District of Columbia

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Norton, Eleanor Holmes

D

202-225-8050

Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

Florida

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

                          Committee Assignment

1

Miller, Jeff

R

202-225-4136

Veterans’ Affairs, Chairman
Armed Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

2

Southerland, Steve

R

202-225-5235

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

3

Yoho, Ted

R

202-225-5744

Agriculture
Foreign Affairs

4

Crenshaw, Ander

R

202-225-2501

Appropriations

5

Brown, Corrine

D

202-225-0123

Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

6

DeSantis, Ron

R

202-225-2706

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform

7

Mica, John

R

202-225-4035

Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

 

8

 

Posey, Bill

 

R

 

202-225-3671

 

Financial Services
Science, Space, and Technology

9

Grayson, Alan

D

202-225-9889

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

10

Webster, Daniel

R

202-225-2176

Rules
Transportation and Infrastructure

11

Nugent, Richard

R

202-225-1002

Armed Services
House Administration
Rules

12

Bilirakis, Gus M.

R

202-225-5755

Energy and Commerce
Veterans’ Affairs

13

Young, C.W. Bill

R

202-225-5961

Appropriations

14

Castor, Kathy

D

202-225-3376

Budget
Energy and Commerce

15

Ross, Dennis

R

202-225-1252

Financial Services

16

Buchanan, Vern

R

202-225-5015

Ways and Means

17

Rooney, Tom

R

202-225-5792

Appropriations
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

18

Murphy, Patrick

D

202-225-3026

Financial Services
Small Business

19

Radel, Trey

R

202-225-2536

Foreign Affairs
Transportation and Infrastructure

20

Hastings, Alcee L.

D

202-225-1313


Rules

21

Deutch, Ted

D

202-225-3001

Ethics
Foreign Affairs
Judiciary

22

Frankel, Lois

D

202-225-9890

Foreign Affairs
Transportation and Infrastructure

23

Wasserman Schultz, Debbie

D

202-225-7931

Appropriations

24

Wilson, Frederica

D

202-225-4506

Education and the Workforce
Science, Space, and Technology

25

Diaz-Balart, Mario

R

202-225-4211

Appropriations

26

Garcia, Joe

D

202-225-2778

Judiciary
Natural Resources

27

Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana

R

202-225-3931

Foreign Affairs
Rules

Georgia

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Kingston, Jack

R

202-225-5831

Appropriations

2

Bishop Jr., Sanford D.

D

202-225-3631

Appropriations

3

Westmoreland, Lynn A.

R

202-225-5901

Financial Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

4

Johnson, Henry C. “Hank” Jr.

D

202-225-1605

Armed Services
Judiciary

5

Lewis, John

D

202-225-3801

Ways and Means

6

Price, Tom

R

202-225-4501

Budget
Education and the Workforce
Ways and Means

7

Woodall, Robert

R

202-225-4272

Budget
Oversight and Government Reform
Rules

8

Scott, Austin

R

202-225-6531

Agriculture
Armed Services

9

Collins, Doug

R

202-225-9893

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform

10

Broun, Paul C.

R

202-225-4101

Homeland Security
Natural Resources
Science, Space, and Technology

11

Gingrey, Phil

R

202-225-2931

Energy and Commerce
House Administration

12

Barrow, John

D

202-225-2823

Energy and Commerce

13

Scott, David

D

202-225-2939

Agriculture
Financial Services

14

Graves, Tom

R

202-225-5211

Appropriations

Guam

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Bordallo, Madeleine

D

202-225-1188

Armed Services
Natural Resources

Hawaii

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Hanabusa, Colleen

D

202-225-2726

Armed Services
Natural Resources

2

Gabbard, Tulsi

D

202-225-4906

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security

Idaho

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Labrador, Raul R.

R

202-225-6611

Judiciary
Natural Resources

2

Simpson, Mike

R

202-225-5531

Appropriations

Illinois

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Rush, Bobby L.

D

202-225-4372

Energy and Commerce

2

Kelly, Robin

D

202-225-0773

Oversight and Government Reform
Science, Space, and Technology

3

Lipinski, Daniel

D

202-225-5701

Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

4

Gutierrez, Luis

D

202-225-8203

Judiciary
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

5

Quigley, Mike

D

202-225-4061

Appropriations

6

Roskam, Peter J.

R

202-225-4561

Ways and Means

7

Davis, Danny K.

D

202-225-5006

Oversight and Government Reform
Ways and Means

8

Duckworth, Tammy

D

202-225-3711

Armed Services
Oversight and Government Reform

9

Schakowsky, Jan

D

202-225-2111

Energy and Commerce
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

10

Schneider, Brad

D

202-225-4835

Foreign Affairs
Small Business

11

Foster, Bill

D

202-225-3515

Financial Services

12

Enyart, William

D

202-225-5661

Agriculture
Armed Services

13

Davis, Rodney

R

202-225-2371

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

14

Hultgren, Randy

R

202-225-2976

Financial Services
Science, Space, and Technology

15

Shimkus, John

R

202-225-5271

Energy and Commerce

16

Kinzinger, Adam

R

202-225-3635

Energy and Commerce
Foreign Affairs

17

Bustos, Cheri

D

202-225-5905

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

18

Schock, Aaron

R

202-225-6201

House Administration
Ways and Means

Indiana

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Visclosky, Peter

D

202-225-2461

Appropriations

2

Walorski, Jackie

R

202-225-3915

Armed Services
Budget
Veterans’ Affairs

3

Stutzman, Marlin

R

202-225-4436

Financial Services

4

Rokita, Todd

R

202-225-5037

Budget
Education and the Workforce
House Administration

5

Brooks, Susan W.

R

202-225-2276

Education and the Workforce
Ethics
Homeland Security

6

Messer, Luke

R

202-225-3021

Budget
Education and the Workforce
Foreign Affairs

7

Carson, André

D

202-225-4011

Armed Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Bucshon, Larry

R

202-225-4636

Education and the Workforce
Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

9

Young, Todd

R

202-225-5315

Ways and Means

Iowa

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Braley, Bruce L.

D

202-225-2911

Energy and Commerce

2

Loebsack, David

D

202-225-6576

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

3

Latham, Tom

R

202-225-5476

Appropriations

4

King, Steve

R

202-225-4426

Agriculture
Judiciary
Small Business

Kansas

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Huelskamp, Tim

R

202-225-2715

Small Business
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Jenkins, Lynn

R

202-225-6601

Ways and Means

3

Yoder, Kevin

R

202-225-2865

Appropriations

4

Pompeo, Mike

R

202-225-6216

Energy and Commerce
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Kentucky

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Whitfield, Ed

R

202-225-3115

Energy and Commerce

2

Guthrie, S. Brett

R

202-225-3501

Education and the Workforce
Energy and Commerce

3

Yarmuth, John A.

D

202-225-5401

Budget
Education and the Workforce

4

Massie, Thomas

R

202-225-3465

Oversight and Government Reform
Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

5

Rogers, Harold

R

202-225-4601

Appropriations, Chairman

6

Barr, Andy

R

202-225-4706

Financial Services

Louisiana

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Scalise, Steve

R

202-225-3015

Energy and Commerce

2

Richmond, Cedric

D

202-225-6636

Homeland Security
Judiciary

3

Boustany Jr., Charles W.

R

202-225-2031

Ways and Means

4

Fleming, John

R

202-225-2777

Armed Services
Natural Resources

5

Alexander, Rodney

R

202-225-8490

Appropriations

6

Cassidy, William

R

202-225-3901

Energy and Commerce

Maine

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Pingree, Chellie

D

202-225-6116

Appropriations

2

Michaud, Michael

D

202-225-6306

Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

Maryland

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Harris, Andy

R

202-225-5311

Appropriations

2

Ruppersberger, Dutch

D

202-225-3061

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

3

Sarbanes, John P.

D

202-225-4016

Energy and Commerce

4

Edwards, Donna F.

D

202-225-8699

Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

5

Hoyer, Steny H.

D

202-225-4131

Democratic Whip

6

Delaney, John

D

202-225-2721

Financial Services

7

Cummings, Elijah

D

202-225-4741

Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Van Hollen, Chris

D

202-225-5341

Budget

Massachusetts

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Neal, Richard E.

D

202-225-5601

Ways and Means

2

McGovern, James

D

202-225-6101

Agriculture
Rules

3

Tsongas, Niki

D

202-225-3411

Armed Services
Natural Resources

4

Kennedy III, Joseph P.

D

202-225-5931

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

5

Markey, Ed

D

202-225-2836

Energy and Commerce
Natural Resources

6

Tierney, John

D

202-225-8020

Education and the Workforce
Oversight and Government Reform

7

Capuano, Michael E.

D

202-225-5111

Ethics
Financial Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Lynch, Stephen F.

D

202-225-8273

Financial Services
Oversight and Government Reform

9

Keating, William

D

202-225-3111

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security

Michigan

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Benishek, Dan

R

202-225-4735

Agriculture
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Huizenga, Bill

R

202-225-4401

Financial Services

3

Amash, Justin

R

202-225-3831

Oversight and Government Reform

4

Camp, Dave

R

202-225-3561

Ways and Means, Chairman

5

Kildee, Daniel

D

202-225-3611

Financial Services

6

Upton, Fred

R

202-225-3761

Energy and Commerce, Chairman

7

Walberg, Tim

R

202-225-6276

Education and the Workforce
Oversight and Government Reform

8

Rogers (MI), Mike

R

202-225-4872

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Chairman
Energy and Commerce

9

Levin, Sander

D

202-225-4961

Ways and Means

10

Miller, Candice

R

202-225-2106

House Administration, Chairman
Homeland Security
Transportation and Infrastructure

11

Bentivolio, Kerry

R

202-225-8171

Oversight and Government Reform
Small Business

12

Dingell, John

D

202-225-4071

Energy and Commerce

13

Conyers Jr., John

D

202-225-5126

Judiciary

14

Peters, Gary

D

202-225-5802

Financial Services

Minnesota

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Walz, Timothy J.

D

202-225-2472

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Kline, John

R

202-225-2271

Education and the Workforce, Chairman
Armed Services

3

Paulsen, Erik

R

202-225-2871

Ways and Means

4

McCollum, Betty

D

202-225-6631

Appropriations

5

Ellison, Keith

D

202-225-4755

Financial Services

6

Bachmann, Michele

R

202-225-2331

Financial Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

7

Peterson, Collin C.

D

202-225-2165

Agriculture

8

Nolan, Rick

D

202-225-6211

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

Mississippi

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Nunnelee, Alan

R

202-225-4306

Appropriations
Budget

2

Thompson, Bennie G.

D

202-225-5876

Homeland Security

3

Harper, Gregg

R

202-225-5031

Energy and Commerce
House Administration

4

Palazzo, Steven

R

202-225-5772

Armed Services
Homeland Security
Science, Space, and Technology

Missouri

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Clay Jr., William “Lacy”

D

202-225-2406

Financial Services
Oversight and Government Reform

2

Wagner, Ann

R

202-225-1621

Financial Services

3

Luetkemeyer, Blaine

R

202-225-2956

Financial Services
Small Business

4

Hartzler, Vicky

R

202-225-2876

Agriculture
Armed Services
Budget

5

Cleaver, Emanuel

D

202-225-4535

Financial Services

6

Graves, Sam

R

202-225-7041

Small Business, Chairman
Transportation and Infrastructure

7

Long, Billy

R

202-225-6536

Energy and Commerce

8

Smith, Jason

R

202-225-4404

Montana

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Daines, Steve

R

202-225-3211

Homeland Security
Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

Nebraska

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Fortenberry, Jeff

R

202-225-4806

Appropriations

2

Terry, Lee

R

202-225-4155

Energy and Commerce

3

Smith, Adrian

R

202-225-6435

Ways and Means

Nevada

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Titus, Dina

D

202-225-5965

Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Amodei, Mark

R

202-225-6155

Judiciary
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

3

Heck, Joe

R

202-225-3252

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

4

Horsford, Steven

D

202-225-9894

Homeland Security
Natural Resources
Oversight and Government Reform

New Hampshire

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Shea-Porter, Carol

D

202-225-5456

Armed Services
Natural Resources

2

Kuster, Ann

D

202-225-5206

Agriculture
Small Business
Veterans’ Affairs

New Jersey

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Andrews, Robert E.

D

202-225-6501

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

2

LoBiondo, Frank

R

202-225-6572

Armed Services
Transportation and Infrastructure
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

3

Runyan, Jon

R

202-225-4765

Armed Services
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

4

Smith, Chris

R

202-225-3765

, Co-Chair
Foreign Affairs

5

Garrett, Scott

R

202-225-4465

Budget
Financial Services

6

Pallone Jr., Frank

D

202-225-4671

Energy and Commerce
Natural Resources

7

Lance, Leonard

R

202-225-5361

Energy and Commerce

8

Sires, Albio

D

202-225-7919

Foreign Affairs
Transportation and Infrastructure

9

Pascrell Jr., Bill

D

202-225-5751

Budget
Ways and Means

10

Payne Jr., Donald

D

202-225-3436

Homeland Security
Small Business

11

Frelinghuysen, Rodney

R

202-225-5034

Appropriations

12

Holt, Rush

D

202-225-5801

Education and the Workforce
Natural Resources

New Mexico

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Lujan Grisham, Michelle

D

202-225-6316

Agriculture
Budget
Oversight and Government Reform

2

Pearce, Steve

R

202-225-2365

Financial Services

3

Lujan, Ben R.

D

202-225-6190

Energy and Commerce

New York

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Bishop, Timothy

D

202-225-3826

Education and the Workforce
Transportation and Infrastructure

2

King, Pete

R

202-225-7896

Financial Services
Homeland Security
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

3

Israel, Steve

D

202-225-3335

4

McCarthy, Carolyn

D

202-225-5516

Education and the Workforce
Financial Services

5

Meeks, Gregory W.

D

202-225-3461

Financial Services
Foreign Affairs

6

Meng, Grace

D

202-225-2601

Foreign Affairs
Small Business

7

Velázquez, Nydia M.

D

202-225-2361

Financial Services
Small Business

8

Jeffries, Hakeem

D

202-225-5936

Budget
Judiciary

9

Clarke, Yvette D.

D

202-225-6231

Ethics
Homeland Security
Small Business

10

Nadler, Jerrold

D

202-225-5635

Judiciary
Transportation and Infrastructure

11

Grimm, Michael

R

202-225-3371

Financial Services

12

Maloney, Carolyn

D

202-225-7944

Financial Services
Oversight and Government Reform

13

Rangel, Charles B.

D

202-225-4365

Ways and Means

14

Crowley, Joseph

D

202-225-3965

Ways and Means

15

Serrano, José E.

D

202-225-4361

Appropriations

16

Engel, Eliot

D

202-225-2464

Energy and Commerce
Foreign Affairs

17

Lowey, Nita

D

202-225-6506

Appropriations

18

Maloney, Sean Patrick

D

202-225-5441

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

19

Gibson, Chris

R

202-225-5614

Agriculture
Armed Services

20

Tonko, Paul D.

D

202-225-5076

Energy and Commerce

21

Owens, Bill

D

202-225-4611

Appropriations

22

Hanna, Richard

R

202-225-3665

Small Business
Transportation and Infrastructure

23

Reed, Tom

R

202-225-3161

Ways and Means

24

Maffei, Daniel

D

202-225-3701

Armed Services
Science, Space, and Technology

25

Slaughter, Louise

D

202-225-3615

Rules

26

Higgins, Brian

D

202-225-3306

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security

27

Collins, Chris

R

202-225-5265

Agriculture
Small Business

North Carolina

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Butterfield, G.K.

D

202-225-3101

Energy and Commerce

2

Ellmers, Renee

R

202-225-4531

Energy and Commerce

3

Jones, Walter B.

R

202-225-3415

Armed Services

4

Price, David

D

202-225-1784

Appropriations

5

Foxx, Virginia

R

202-225-2071

Education and the Workforce
Rules

6

Coble, Howard

R

202-225-3065

Judiciary
Transportation and Infrastructure

7

McIntyre, Mike

D

202-225-2731

Agriculture
Armed Services

8

Hudson, Richard

R

202-225-3715

Agriculture
Education and the Workforce
Homeland Security

9

Pittenger, Robert

R

202-225-1976

Financial Services

10

McHenry, Patrick T.

R

202-225-2576

Financial Services
Oversight and Government Reform

11

Meadows, Mark

R

202-225-6401

Foreign Affairs
Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

12

Watt, Mel

D

202-225-1510

Financial Services
Judiciary

13

Holding, George

R

202-225-3032

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary

North Dakota

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Cramer, Kevin

R

202-225-2611

Natural Resources
Science, Space, and Technology

Northern Mariana Islands

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Sablan, Gregorio

D

202-225-2646

Education and the Workforce
Natural Resources

Ohio

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Chabot, Steve

R

202-225-2216

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary
Small Business

2

Wenstrup, Brad

R

202-225-3164

Armed Services
Veterans’ Affairs

3

Beatty, Joyce

D

202-225-4324

Financial Services

4

Jordan, Jim

R

202-225-2676

Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform

5

Latta, Robert E.

R

202-225-6405

Energy and Commerce

6

Johnson, Bill

R

202-225-5705

Energy and Commerce

7

Gibbs, Bob

R

202-225-6265

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Boehner, John A.

R

202-225-6205

The Speaker

9

Kaptur, Marcy

D

202-225-4146

Appropriations

10

Turner, Michael

R

202-225-6465

Armed Services
Oversight and Government Reform

11

Fudge, Marcia L.

D

202-225-7032

Agriculture
Education and the Workforce

12

Tiberi, Pat

R

202-225-5355

Ways and Means

13

Ryan, Tim

D

202-225-5261

Appropriations
Budget

14

Joyce, David

R

202-225-5731

Appropriations

15

Stivers, Steve

R

202-225-2015

Financial Services

16

Renacci, Jim

R

202-225-3876

Ways and Means

Oklahoma

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Bridenstine, Jim

R

202-225-2211

Armed Services
Science, Space, and Technology

2

Mullin, Markwayne

R

202-225-2701

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

3

Lucas, Frank

R

202-225-5565

Agriculture, Chairman
Financial Services
Science, Space, and Technology

4

Cole, Tom

R

202-225-6165

Appropriations
Budget
Rules

5

Lankford, James

R

202-225-2132

Budget
Oversight and Government Reform

Oregon

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Bonamici, Suzanne

D

202-225-0855

Education and the Workforce
Science, Space, and Technology

2

Walden, Greg

R

202-225-6730

Energy and Commerce

3

Blumenauer, Earl

D

202-225-4811

Budget
Ways and Means

4

DeFazio, Peter

D

202-225-6416

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

5

Schrader, Kurt

D

202-225-5711

Agriculture
Budget
Small Business

Pennsylvania

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Brady, Robert

D

202-225-4731

Armed Services
House Administration

2

Fattah, Chaka

D

202-225-4001

Appropriations

3

Kelly, Mike

R

202-225-5406

Ways and Means

4

Perry, Scott

R

202-225-5836

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security
Transportation and Infrastructure

5

Thompson, Glenn W.

R

202-225-5121

Agriculture
Education and the Workforce
Natural Resources

6

Gerlach, Jim

R

202-225-4315

Ways and Means

7

Meehan, Pat

R

202-225-2011

Ethics
Homeland Security
Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Fitzpatrick, Michael G.

R

202-225-4276

Financial Services

9

Shuster, Bill

R

202-225-2431

Transportation and Infrastructure, Chairman
Armed Services

10

Marino, Tom

R

202-225-3731

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security
Judiciary

11

Barletta, Lou

R

202-225-6511

Education and the Workforce
Homeland Security
Transportation and Infrastructure

12

Rothfus, Keith

R

202-225-2065

Financial Services

13

Schwartz, Allyson Y.

D

202-225-6111

Budget
Ways and Means

14

Doyle, Mike

D

202-225-2135

Energy and Commerce

15

Dent, Charles W.

R

202-225-6411

Appropriations
Ethics

16

Pitts, Joseph R.

R

202-225-2411

Energy and Commerce

17

Cartwright, Matthew

D

202-225-5546

Natural Resources
Oversight and Government Reform

18

Murphy, Tim

R

202-225-2301

Energy and Commerce

Puerto Rico

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Pierluisi, Pedro

D

202-225-2615

Ethics
Judiciary
Natural Resources

Rhode Island

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Cicilline, David

D

202-225-4911

Budget
Foreign Affairs

2

Langevin, Jim

D

202-225-2735

Armed Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

South Carolina

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Sanford, Mark

R

202-225-3176

2

Wilson, Joe

R

202-225-2452

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
Foreign Affairs

3

Duncan, Jeff

R

202-225-5301

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security
Natural Resources

4

Gowdy, Trey

R

202-225-6030

Education and the Workforce
Ethics
Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform

5

Mulvaney, Mick

R

202-225-5501

Financial Services
Small Business

6

Clyburn, James E.

D

202-225-3315

Assistant Democratic Leader

7

Rice, Tom

R

202-225-9895

Budget
Small Business
Transportation and Infrastructure

South Dakota

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Noem, Kristi

R

202-225-2801

Agriculture
Armed Services

Tennessee

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Roe, Phil

R

202-225-6356

Education and the Workforce
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Duncan Jr., John J.

R

202-225-5435

Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

3

Fleischmann, Chuck

R

202-225-3271

Appropriations

4

DesJarlais, Scott

R

202-225-6831

Agriculture
Education and the Workforce
Oversight and Government Reform

5

Cooper, Jim

D

202-225-4311

Armed Services
Oversight and Government Reform

6

Black, Diane

R

202-225-4231

Budget
Ways and Means

7

Blackburn, Marsha

R

202-225-2811

Budget
Energy and Commerce

8

Fincher, Stephen

R

202-225-4714

Agriculture
Financial Services

9

Cohen, Steve

D

202-225-3265

Judiciary
Transportation and Infrastructure

Texas

District

Name/Webpage

Party

   Phone

    Committee Assignment

1

Gohmert, Louie

R

202-225-3035

Judiciary
Natural Resources

2

Poe, Ted

R

202-225-6565

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary

3

Johnson, Sam

R

202-225-4201

Ways and Means

4

Hall, Ralph M.

R

202-225-6673

Energy and Commerce
Science, Space, and Technology

5

Hensarling, Jeb

R

202-225-3484

Financial Services, Chairman

6

Barton, Joe

R

202-225-2002

Energy and Commerce

7

Culberson, John

R

202-225-2571

Appropriations

8

Brady, Kevin

R

202-225-4901

Ways and Means

9

Green, Al

D

202-225-7508

Financial Services

10

McCaul, Michael T.

R

202-225-2401

Homeland Security, Chairman
Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

11

Conaway, K. Michael

R

202-225-3605

Ethics, Chairman
Agriculture
Armed Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

12

Granger, Kay

R

202-225-5071

Appropriations

13

Thornberry, Mac

R

202-225-3706

Armed Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

14

Weber, Randy

R

202-225-2831

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

15

Hinojosa, Rubén

D

202-225-2531

Education and the Workforce
Financial Services

16

O’Rourke, Beto

D

202-225-4831

Homeland Security
Veterans’ Affairs

17

Flores, Bill

R

202-225-6105

Budget
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

18

Jackson Lee, Sheila

D

202-225-3816

Homeland Security
Judiciary

19

Neugebauer, Randy

R

202-225-4005

Agriculture
Financial Services
Science, Space, and Technology

20

Castro, Joaquin

D

202-225-3236

Armed Services
Foreign Affairs

21

Smith, Lamar

R

202-225-4236

Science, Space, and Technology, Chairman
Homeland Security
Judiciary

22

Olson, Pete

R

202-225-5951

Energy and Commerce

23

Gallego, Pete

D

202-225-4511

Agriculture
Armed Services

24

Marchant, Kenny

R

202-225-6605

Education and the Workforce
Ways and Means

25

Williams, Roger

R

202-225-9896

Budget
Transportation an