Freedom Matters–The Constitution–Part 3–Article 1 The Legislative Branch Part 2

Continuing with Article 1 of the Constitution, I will finish Article 1 in this post.


Article 1 – The Legislative Branch
Section 8 – Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power:

To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties,Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

Congress has the Constitutional responsibility to coin money and regulate the value of it, not some private organization that does not get audited.  There is no provision in the Constitution that allows Congress to abdicate its authority here.  Congress is not prohibited from commissioning an organization to do the actual printing of money, but Congress alone has the authority to dictate the value of the money.  With no Constitutional mandate for the Federal Reserve, it must be abolished, and a return to a more sound monetary policy is in order.  While I am a “gold standard” guy when it comes to what we base our money on, at the very least, the basis for our money must be on something that has recognizable and accepted universal value.  (Deut 25:15 and Prov 16:11)

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

This one will forever be debated.  The bottom line is that the Constitution charges Congress with creating the framework for copyright law.  Intellectual Property is recognized by the Constitution, and it is to be protected by acts of Congress.  The Constitution states that the length of copyright is limited, but not how limited.  That is left up to Congress to figure out.  You may not like the concept of Intellectual Property, but it is codified and protected in the Constitution. 

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To declare war.  Read that again.  To declare war.  Only Congress has the Constitutional authority to declare war.  Not the President.  Only Congress.  The sitting President may ask Congress to declare war.  I do not think it inappropriate for the sitting President to do that.  But at the end of the day, only Congress can declare war.  The reasoning is simple.  The authority to send men to their death should not rest on the shoulders of only one man.  That fits more in line with the role of king than it does the role of elected president.  How many legitimately declared wars has the US engaged in since World War 2?  None.  Don’t believe me?  Go back and look.  If you can find one military action that the US has engaged in where the Congress, not the President, has declared war.  I mean actually declaring war not simply allocating funds for a military action the President ordered.

Since the time of Augustine, western civilization has operated under the “Just War Theory”.  Just war theory gives guidelines for determining if a particular war is Just, and how to justly conduct a just war.  Requiring a majority of elected representatives to agree to a particular war is a check and balance against the United States becoming an aggressor nation.  It is a preventative against imposing our interest where it is wrong to do so.  If you can get a majority of 500+ elected representatives to agree to a particular war, it is likely that the majority of the citizens are also in support of that war.  It is not a guarantee, but it is a much safer, far more rational position to approach war from than a single elected individual having this power.

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Here, I think no one will agree with me, and that is ok.  The Civil War was not an insurrection.  The south simply voted, state by state, to leave the Union.  Much like each state voted to leave the Crown nearly 100 years prior.  In my opinion, the southern states should not have left, but should have continued to fight in Congress over the issue of the rights of individual states, but in my estimation, each state had the right to leave the union.  The north had no Constitutional authority to force the south to stay.  Lincoln should have let the south go.  But the serious error of the 3/5ths compromise led to the serious error of the Civil War.  The north had no justification for going to war, if they were to have followed Augustine’s Just War Theory.  The south did have justification, as they were defending themselves from an aggressor nation.  The Civil War should never have happened, and we live with the consequences of the sin of the 3/5ths compromise even today.  Further, had we as a nation in the early formation if the nation considered chattel slavery the sin that it actually is, we would never have even had the discussion of the 3/5ths compromise.  This is what happens when we look at other human beings as “less than” us.  If God created man in His image, who are we to say that another image bearer is “less than” us?  

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

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.

Section 9 – Limits on Congress


The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

(No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.) (Section in parentheses clarified by the 16th Amendment.)

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

Section 10 – Powers Prohibited of States

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

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