The ‘necessary and proper’ clause

To the editor:

In response to Mr. Roger Baumann’s letter dated June 15.

Mr. Baumann’s claim to know what the Framers of the Constitution were intending or thinking is pretty far out there.

From what I’ve read about the subject, there were many heated debates about Article I, Section 8. The Founding Fathers were not in complete agreement about exactly how much power Congress should have, and there were extremes on both sides of the debate.

According to a report specifically about the history of this from constitution.congress.gov, the Committee of Detail developed the first draft of the Constitution. They did not keep any records of its deliberation, so there is no record of the motivation behind the way Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 reads, also known as the “necessary and proper” Clause.

Or perhaps Mr. Baumann should refer to President George Washington’s approval of the first national bank of the United States?

No where in the Constitution does it state that Congress or the President can establish a national bank. But because the United States was saddled by an enormous debt after the Revolutionary War, Congress and President Washington deemed it “necessary and proper” for the nation to create it. Thomas Jefferson argued against the creation of the bank. But Alexander Hamilton’s argument for the creation of the bank, which included the “necessary and proper” Clause, proved to be more convincing, and President Washington signed it into law.

And according to what I learned in history class, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington were among the Founding Fathers. So I guess even the Founding Fathers were misinterpreting the Constitution and were acting unprincipled according to Mr. Baumann. His claim to know what the Framers were intending and his argument about what is and isn’t principled regarding the Constitution holds no water at all.

As to the question about my optimism about the future of our country, Mr. Baumann will just have to guess.

Here’s a hint: It’s not Marxism.

Anthony Studemann



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