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by Michael Maharrey
What limits do the Constitution place on the federal government? What does “necessary and proper” mean? What can the federal government do to promote “common defense” and “general welfare?” Is the Supreme Court really supreme?
Your answers to these questions reveal a lot about how you view the federal government. Through the decades, federal supremacists of every stripe have sought to answer them in a way that supports expansive federal power.
This is nothing new. The ink was barely dry on the Constitution when those favoring a centralized national government began redefining various constitutional clauses to justify expansions of federal power. But, a coalition led by the “Father of the Constitution” vigorously opposed them.
In 1798, James Madison composed a document commonly known as the Virginia Report of 1800. While it was specifically written as a defense of the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, a close reading of the report provides a detailed analysis and keen insights into several of these key constitutional issues. Madison effectively obliterated arguments apologists for federal power were using to justify ignoring the First Amendment, separation of powers, and other constitutional provisions meant to limit federal authority.
It is Madison’s views that we’ll be focusing on in this e-book.
eBook: 37 pages
Publisher: Tenth Amendment Center (August, 2017)