Madison’s Warning

Posted By Patrick Henry on Mar 23, 2010 |


Giving Congress a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole Constitution to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly, no such universal power was meant to be given them. The Constitution was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.” Therefore, you do not deserve to hold the title of public servant but rather public tyrant. “If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people … must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.

Federalist No. 33