Below is a transcript of the Constitution in its original form provided by the United States' National Archives. Please note: "Items that are hyperlinked have since been amended or superseded."
Preamble: 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.
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
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.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
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;
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;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
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;
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.
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 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.
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.
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
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;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a State and Citizens of another State,--between Citizens of different States,--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
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; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, the Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page.
Attest William Jackson Secretary
done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,
"Across America, there is a growing restlessness and discontent toward Washington, D.C. Frustration is in the air. A recent poll found that four-out-of-five Americans don't trust Washington. Another poll found that eighty-six percent of Americans think the federal government is 'broken.'
"Jack Balkin has an interesting post on today's two Defense of Marriage Act cases from the federal District of Massachusetts, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, and Massachusetts v. HHS. The latter case found DOMA unconstitutional, as applied to Massachusetts, because DOMA violates the Tenth Amendment by infringing the state's traditional...
"[...]many self-described conservatives, including Republican presidential candidate John McCain, support the prosecution of people like [medical marijuana patient] Charlie Lynch, abandoning their avowed federalist principles because of blind hostility toward a plant they associate with draft-dodging, flag-burning hippies. It's not surprising, but it's shameful."...
"I think the Constitution is a hopeless sham, and that it's not possible to have a successful amendment process. It's not possible to fix it by amendment. It's a set of paper limits enforced and interpreted by the very state that it seeks to limit (see, on this, Hoppe and de Jasay). And if we are going to amend it there are many others I'd want–maybe a return to...
"In states around the country, there's a growing movement to address and resist two of the most abused parts of the Constitution – the Commerce Clause and the 2nd Amendment. Already being considered in a number of state legislatures, and passed as law in Montana and Tennessee this year, the Firearms Freedom Act (FFA) is a state law that seeks to do just...
"The American Prospect, The New Republic, and other left-of-center outlets are pushing the 'Tenther' smear, aimed at lumping those who, horrors!, still take seriously the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in with the Obama birth certificate deniers and 9/11 truthers."
"In response to an unprecedented expansion of federal power, citizens have held hundreds of 'tea party' rallies around the country, and various states are considering 'sovereignty resolutions' invoking the Constitution's Ninth and Tenth Amendments. For example, Michigan's proposal urges 'the federal government to halt its practice of imposing mandates upon the...
Rugy tackles the financial centralization of government over recent decades in this piece: "Last May the Obama administration forced South Carolina not just to take its share of federal stimulus funds, but to spend the money on new programs rather than paying down the state's debt. I was horrified. Obama, I felt, had killed fiscal federalism. Then I realized that...
"National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre recently gave a fiery speech before the NRA Annual Convention, railing against those who would shred the Constitution in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The Constitution, he said 'is pristine and inviolate...The Bill of Rights doesn't care about opinion...
"Last week a federal judge confounded both sides of the political spectrum by ruling that the 10th Amendment requires the federal government to recognize state-approved gay marriages. Progressives worried that U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro's reasoning cast doubt on the constitutionality of many existing federal programs, while conservatives worried that it...
The Civil War often is seen as a turning point in the history of American federalism. In one sense the truth of this perception is beyond dispute. Had the South secured secession by force of arms, the Union would have been broken, the federal system disrupted.
The thesis that republicanism was only suited for small states was given its decisive eighteenth-century formulation by Montesquieu, who emphasized not only republics' need for homogeneity and virtue but also the difficulty of constraining military and executive power in large republics.
Every dollar in temporary federal grants leads to 40 cents of tax increases. Economists have long suggested the existence of a 'flypaper effect,' wherein federal money given to states prompts additional spending.
The theory behind aid to the states is that federal policymakers can design and operate programs in the national interest to efficiently solve local problems. In practice, most federal politicians are not inclined to pursue broad, national goals; they are consumed by the competitive scramble to secure subsidies for their states.
As a political principle, federalism has to do with the constitutional diffusion of power so that the constituting elements in a federal arrangement share in the processes of common policy-making and administration by right, while the activities of the common government are conducted in such a way as to maintain their respective integrities.
I suggest that a coherent classical liberal must be generally supportive of federal political structures, because any division of authority must, necessarily, tend to limit the potential range of political coercion.
Until recently, courts have not addressed the potential conflict between jury selection rules and the possibility that a jury would be called upon to impose the federal death penalty even in states without the death penalty.
If the purpose of federalism is to compensate for worrisome tendencies toward centralization, then it is desirable that the provinces large enough to have political power be stable and entrenched and be able to engender loyalty from their citizens, such as the loyalty felt to ethnoculturally speciﬁc provinces.
Unfortunately, policymakers and courts have mainly discarded federalism in recent decades. Congress has undertaken many activities that were traditionally reserved to the states and the private sector. Grants-in-aid are a primary mechanism that the federal government has used to extend its power into state and local affairs.
This Article reports the results of a comprehensive study of core free speech cases decided by the federal courts over a 14-year period. The study finds that speech-restrictive laws adopted by the federal government are far more likely to be upheld than similar laws adopted by state and local governments.
"To consider liberty in relation to the Constitution is to enter upon a subject of some ambiguity. Which Constitution are we to consider? The document has undergone dramatic shifts in its coverage and in its meaning over the course of our history.
Few have done more over the years to articulate the conservative response to liberal judicial activism than Judge Robert Bork. Writing recently in The American Spectator, he argues that courts, working reciprocally with elite opinion, have given constitutional finality to values most Americans oppose
Driven by concerns of disparate treatment and undue leniency in punishment, Congress created an independent agency, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, to formulate a new sentencing regime that would drastically limit the discretion of federal judges.
"The Court's opinion in United States v. Lopez sent shock waves through official Washington, not least because Washington had simply assumed, since the era of the New Deal, that its regulatory powers were plenary."
A fundamental reexamination of the federal regulatory structure is in order. It is imperative that Congress reexamine the role of the federal government, as well as the role of criminal sanctions, in environmental law. Reform should begin with the immediate restoration of the legal rights and privileges that are enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
"Plenty of analysts can tell you how government policies differ from country to country, but surprisingly few consider such differences domestically. I find this surprising, because tax and regulatory burdens can differ substantially among the states, which in some cases have total output (and customer bases) larger than most foreign countries."
"The Tenth Amendment expresses the principle that undergirds the entire plan of the original Constitution: the national government possesses only those powers delegated to it. The Framers of the Tenth Amendment had two purposes in mind when they drafted it. The first was a necessary rule of construction. The second was to reaffirm the nature of the federal system...
As Justice Sandra O'Connor has recently observed, those who ratified the Constitution had several reasons for wishing to ensure that the states would continue to hold ultimate power on all matters other than those delegated to the federal government.
"Courts and the legal academy both generally agree that early efforts to limit the federal government to only 'expressly' delegated powers were decisively rebuffed by Chief Justice John Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland."
The centerpiece of President Bush's crimefighting program is an initiative called Project Safe Neighborhoods. That initiative calls for the hiring of some 700 lawyers who will be dedicated to prosecuting firearm offenses, such as the unlawful possession of a gun by a drug user or a convicted felon.
Recent regulations promulgated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency assert a sweeping authority to preempt a broad array of state laws, including consumer protection laws, applicable not only to national banks but also to their state-chartered operating subsidiaries.
"There has recently been a resurgence in support of the 10th Amendment by the 'Tenthers' in the recent wave of government expansions, especially with the recent passage of the healthcare overhaul. Roger Pilon gives a brief history of what the Constitution was originally intended to accomplish, and how that paradigm changed in the 1930s. Since the New Deal the...
"This panel will assess American federalism as a competitive institution that offers a marketplace of state regulatory regimes. With the recession impacting some states more heavily than others, it is time to ask whether interstate competition is good for the nation. Should state-by-state approaches to issues such as healthcare, financial regulation, environmental...
This video discusses the recently-passed Montana Firearms Freedom Act and its relevance to Federalism, States' Rights and the state's current battle to reassert sovereignty. Governor Schweitzer is featured in the interview explaining the rationale behind the legislation.
Woods gives the historical background and rationale behind the Kentucky & Virginia resolutions (in response to the Alien and Sedition Act), explaining one of the first battles for power between the state and federal governments.
"As statehouses open for the 2011 session, happy days are not here again. Rather, for most states harsh fiscal reality must be faced. Many question if the fundamental structure of American politics is broken and if this structure will continue to force states and citizens toward a downward spiral of massive, ever-increasing debt.
"The Mercatus Center is hosting a breakfast roundtable discussion with Dr. Russell Sobel of West Virginia University and the Mercatus Center on his recent paper, 'Do Intergovernmental Grants Create Ratchet Effects in State and Local Taxes?' This paper addresses the question of whether federal funding in a given year results in states beginning new spending programs...
In this essay, the author, most commonly believed to have been New York judge Robert Yates, provides his reasons for arguing that "a free republic cannot long subsist over a country of the great extent of these states. If then this new constitution is calculated to consolidate the thirteen states into one, as it evidently is, it ought not to be adopted."
"If any possible situation makes it a duty, it is our present important one, for in the course of sixty or ninety days you are to approve of or reject the present proceedings of your [Constitutional] Convention, which, if established, will certainly effect, in a greater or less degree, during the remainder of your lives, those privileges which you esteem dear...
Written under a nom de plume, this extensive political treatise investigates the authority of governments over their subjects and citizens. Specifically, this treatise outlines the concepts of a righteous overthrow of a governmental leader, laying down much of the theoretical groundwork for the the American Revolution. Written from the perspective of the...
"Two essays by Rousseau on the issue of war written during the mid 1750s. The first is a critique of the abbé Saint-Pierre's ideas on the prospects of a European Federation to reduce the likelihood of war. The second is his attempt to formulate a theory of just war."
In this message to Congress, Lincoln makes the case to free the slaves, proposing three constitutional amendments, which would provide for federal compensation to states that voluntary chose to abolish slavery, federal compensation to slave-holders, and federal funds to colonize American Blacks outside the United States. None of these proposed amendments were...
Calling a special session in order to acquire permission to pay for the war against the South, Lincoln lays out the reasoning behind his actions at the start of the war. He also states his case for the preservation of the Union and forcefully argues against the claim that the states have a right to secession.
"It is proposed that humble application be made for an act of Parliament of Great Britain, by virtue of which one general government may be formed in America, including all the said colonies, within and under which government each colony may retain its present constitution, except in the particulars wherein a change may be directed by the said act, as hereafter...
This economic classic is noted for providing us with terms for and expositions of such key economic ideas as the division of labor, "invisible hand," self-interest as a beneficial force, and freedom of trade.
In this famous philosophical treatise, Immanuel Kant defines "Enlightenment" as the ability to think for yourself. Politically speaking, Kant argues that governments should allow their citizens much more freedom, such as the ability to freely speak their minds in the public forum without fear of reprisal and the ability to freely choose or ignore the practices and...
This treatise, written in the early 19th century by Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, outlines his views on the Tenth Amendment. He viewed the Tenth Amendment as the capstone of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, claiming that "This amendment is a mere affirmation of what, upon any just reasoning, is a necessary rule of interpreting the constitution."
"We may summarize our view of constitutional government by saying that its ultimate and essential objects are:
1st. To bring the active and planning will of each part of the government into accord with the prevailing popular thought and need, in order that government may be the impartial instrument of a symmetrical national...
"The right to complete freedom in the utterance of political opinions has been so long a fundamental principle in the United States that probably few Americans will recall the fact that exactly a hundred years ago the controversy which eventuated in the complete triumph of that principle raged all over the Union. The Virginia and Kentucky...
Dred Scott was a slave who, because his owner had moved him to a free state for a period of time, sued for his freedom. The Court held that slaves were not citizens of the United States and therefore not entitled to constitutional protections. And since slaves were considered property, the Court held that their owners could not be deprived of them without due...
This document, written by an anonymous author, outlines his view regarding the separation of powers between the state and national governments. He believes that it is best for the framers of the Constitution to fully enumerate the powers of both the state and federal governments, instead of enumerating one and then being silent on the reserved rights of the other...
Writing under the pseudonym "Publius" James Madison discusses the relationship between the federal and state governments, concluding that "the powers proposed to be lodged in the federal government are as little formidable to those reserved to the individual States, as they are indispensably necessary to accomplish the purposes...
In this speech, FDR discusses Jefferson's philosophy in connection with idea that the "purpose of Government [is] based on a universality of interest." As examples of the execution of such a purpose, Roosevelt argues for the proper regulation of public utilities in order to keep prices down and ensure equal access, as well as the establishment of a tariff system...
This case overruled a previous Supreme Court case (National League of Cities v. Usery, 1976), saying that the Tenth Amendment does not impede Congress' authority to regulate employment conditions and practices in state governments. Justice Blackmun writes that the Fair Labor Standards Act, when applied to state government employees, is not in...
This Supreme Court case deals with how the Commerce Clause gives the federal government the right to criminalize the growing and personal usage of marijuana, even when these actions are in accordance to state law.
California's Compassionate Use Act allows people to use limited amounts of marijuana for strictly medicinal...
This case brought before the Court the question of whether it is "within the authority of Congress in regulating commerce among the States to prohibit the transportation in interstate commerce of manufactured goods, the product of a factory in which, within thirty days prior to their removal therefrom, children under the age of fourteen have been employed or...
In this treatise, 18th century philosopher David Hume writes about his notion of a perfect system of government. His idea of government was very much federalist in nature, based in the rule of law with limited governmental powers.
"The Hart-Cellar Act abolished the national origins quota system that had structured American immigration policy since the 1920s, replacing it with a preference system that focused on immigrants' skills and family relationships with citizens or residents of the U.S. Numerical restrictions on visas were set at 170,000 per year, not including immediate relatives of U...
In this document, the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, outlines his views on the concept of enumerated powers. He believed that the powers given to the federal government "are enumerated and defined in the most precise form."
This document from the Constitution Ratification Covention shows James Wilson's view regarding the line of demarcation between federal and state authority. In Wilson's view, a blurred line of authority is not necessarily a bad thing, as he believes state and federal governments will be able to act and behave not as "enemies of each other" but rather in harmony, "...
"Memorandum from the President to: Secretary of Defense, Acting Attorney General, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Director, Office of Economic Opportunity, Director, Office of Emergency Planning. SUBJECT:...
This case addressed the Fair Labor Standards Act. The dissent, written by Justice William Douglas, explains why the Fair Labor Standards Act cannot be constitutionally applied to the employees of State governments, as such a law is in clear violation of the Tenth Amendment.
This Supreme Court case is considered a landmark case on the issue of federalism. The decision held that the authority of the federal government is expressly enumerated in the Constitution, and that the implied powers of the federal government override the reserved rights of the states. According to Chief Justice Marshall, the Necessary and Proper clause implies...
Lord Action presciently analyzes the dangers inherent in the "modern" concept of nationality. By making "the State and the nation commensurate with each other in theory, it reduces practically to a subject condition all other nationalities that may be within the boundary. ...According, therefore, to the degree of humanity and civilisation in that dominant...
During the wars of the French Revolution Kant was inspired by the Treaty of Basel to contemplate how both self-interest and international cooperation might bring an end to war. This edition is interesting because it was published during World War One."
This case decision, written by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, ruled that certain aspects of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act are unconstitutional. Scalia argued that the supporters of the Brady Act misinterpreted the Tenth Amendment and the Necessary and Proper clause of the Constitution, as the Brady Act "violates the principle of State Sovereignty" in...
In this work, English philosopher John Stuart Mill argues his views regarding the morality and practicality of government systems, concluding that a representative government is the best form of government.
With this executive order, Reagan sought to "restore the division of governmental responsibilities between the national government and the States that was intended by the Framers of the Constitution and to ensure that the principles of federalism established by the Framers guide the Executive departments and agencies in the formulation and implementation of...
This decision by the Court upheld a federal law that deprived states with a drinking age of less than 21 years of 5 percent of their federal highway funds: "Even if Congress, in view of the Twenty-first Amendment, might lack the power to impose directly a national minimum drinking age (a question not decided here), § 158's indirect encouragement of state action to obtain uniformity in the...
This primary document provides you with St. George Tucker's legal commentaries regarding the separation of powers between the federal and state governments. Tucker believed that while the federal government was indeed granted some powers via the Constitution, he believed that the states themselves are sovereign in their rights and indeed could dissolve the union if...
This page, provided by the Cornell University Law School, contains a relatively in-depth legal discussion regarding the Tenth Amendment. This page is an excellent source for the legal history and background of the Tenth Amendment, as well as a primer for the current debate today.
After the Pennsylvania Convention ratified the new constitution on December 12, 1787, by a vote of 46 to 23, twenty-one members of the minority signed a dissenting address that appeared in the Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser....
This document provides unique insight into American constitutional views in the 19th century, having fully eliminated the "General Welfare" Clause and any language referring to "General Welfare." Many anti-federalists and especially those in the south believed that the "ticking-time-bomb" of the Clause would eventually lead to further infringements by the federal...
"In a word, the people and the states no longer trust Washington...because Washington has assumed a vast array of regulatory and redistributive powers that were never its to assume--not, that is, if we take the Constitution seriously."
"HAVING shown that no one of the powers transferred to the federal government is unnecessary or improper, the next question to be considered is, whether the whole mass of them will be dangerous to the portion of authority left in the several States."
"The Federalist Papers were a series of articles written under the pen name of Publius by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Madison, widely recognized as the Father of the Constitution, would later go on to become President of the United States. Jay would become the first Chief Justice of the US...
The Kentucky Resolutions, passed by the Kentucky Legislature in 1799, asserted that the U.S. Constitution was a "compact" between the states which sought to preserve state sovereignty from federal encroachment.
The Constitution of the United States established the federal governmental system currently in place with three branches of government. The premise of executive privilege developed from the separation of powers clause.
The dissent of this case, written by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, argues against the Majority ruling that the States cannot legislate additional prerequisites for their representatives in Congress beyond what is set down in the Constitution.
Justice Thomas argues that because the Constitution is silent on the...
"In Butler, the Court struck down the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which taxed processors in order to pay farmers to reduce production. Although invalidating the statute, the Court adopted the Hamiltonian view (almost in passing) that the General Welfare Clause is a separate grant of congressional authority, linked to and qualified by the spending power...
Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the majority opinion in this case, ruling that the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 was unconstitutional. This law gave victims of gender-motivated crimes the right to sue for damages in federal court. In this instance, the court ruled that the Commerce Clause and Fourteenth Amendment did not give Congress the authority to enact...
This case involved the contest of a charge of "unlawful transportation and possession of intoxicating liquors in violation of section 3 of title 2 of the National Prohibition Act." A lower court had granted the defendants' claim that the "Eighteenth Amendment by authority of which the [National Prohibition Act] was enacted has not been ratified so as to become part...
"Atlas Shrugged is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world--and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man's body, but about the murder--and rebirth--of man's spirit."
"No contemporary scholar has observed as many federations at first hand or written so prolifically about federalism as Daniel Elazar... Exploring Federalism is the fruit of Elazar's mature experience and reflection and is a dauntingly comprehensive and erudite book." - American Political Science Review
"As diverse as the papers presented in this volume may seem at first glance, all of them touch on two characteristic themes of James Buchanan's work: the respect for individual sovereignty and the threat of monopoly power on the rights of the individual.
In his foreword, Hartmut Kliemt says, 'As opposed to more extreme and more...
"Federalism refers to a system in which a centralized national government shares power with member states. Beyond this most basic definition, however, scholars debate the applications and implications of the term. Joining the concept of identity from political science with legal principle, Malcolm M. Feeley and Edward Rubin propose a theory of federalism and test...
"Citizens across the country are fed up with the politicians in Washington telling us how to live our lives—and then sticking us with the bill. But what can we do? Actually, we can just say 'no.' As New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, 'nullification' allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws. For many tea partiers...
"Taylor is one of the world's pre-eminent experts on Hegel and brings to his reflections on nationalism and federalism the fruits of a more universal philosophical discourse rooted in the Enlightenment and before. Its hallmarks are terms such as recognition, self-determination, atomism, and modernity. Notwithstanding his long involvement in philosophical reflections, Taylor has avoided the...
The Complete Anti-Federalist, first published in 1981, contains an unprecedented collection of all the significant pamphlets, newspaper articles and letters, essays, and speeches that were written in opposition to the Constitution during the ratification debate. Storing's work includes introductions to each entry, along with his own consideration of the Anti-Federalist thought.
"When it comes to our prosperity, our freedom tradition, and our constitutional government, President Barack Obama has been the great destroyer—knocking down the free-market economy and principles of limited government that have made America the envy of the world.
As New York Times bestselling author David Limbaugh documents in chilling detail in his new book, The Great...
"Through an analysis of American federalism that returns to classic sources, The Meaning of American Federalism explains the conditions necessary for constituting a self-governing (rather than a state-governed) society and describes how such a system works. Included are Tocqueville's Analysis of the American Experiment; Hobbes' Leviathan and the Logic of American...
"Most Americans consider Abraham Lincoln to be the greatest president in history. His legend as the Great Emancipator has grown to mythic proportions as hundreds of books, a national holiday, and a monument in Washington, D.C., extol his heroism and martyrdom. But what if most everything you knew about Lincoln were false? What if, instead of an American hero who...
"This reader brings together the most significant writings on federalism from the seventeenth century to the present. Federalist theories have received short shrift in most texts and university courses on the history of political thought. We tend to read this history, from Hobbes to Rawls, as if the greatest political thinkers were concerned exclusively with the...
"Lyndon Johnson heralded a 'new federalism,' as did Ronald Reagan. It was left to the public to puzzle out what such a proclamation, coming from both ends of the political spectrum, could possibly mean. Of one thing we can be certain: theories of federalism, in whatever form they take, are still shaping our nation. The origin of these theories-what they meant to...
This page from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs holds many of Elazar's (prominent Political Science professor) writings on the U.S. Confederation, Federalism and how it relates to the Constitution.
From reports on federalism to texts surrounding the development of the ideal (plus plenty of other constitutionally relevant papers), this website has drawn together a host of important documents for your perusal.
"The Heritage Guide to the Constitution is intended to provide a brief and accurate explanation of each clause of the Constitution as envisioned by the Framers and as applied in contemporary law. Its particular aim is to provide lawmakers with a means to defend their role and to fulfill their responsibilities in our constitutional order. Yet while the Guide will provide a reliable reference...
"The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the...
To: The President and the Congress of the United States of America
Whereas: Congress, the Department of the Treasury, and the Executive Branch have increased the United States’ national debt to over $14 trillion by 2011.
Whereas: The national debt doubled in less than ten years and is expected to double again in the next ten years.
Whereas: Each American’s share of the national debt is $45,684,...
At Intellectual Takeout, we think it's about time freedom went viral.
Before our generation is the opportunity to embrace freedom, to unleash each individual's potential, and to have a prosperous future. And yet it seems that almost everyone running our cities, states, and federal government is intent on destroying freedom and burying us in debt to pay for it.
If you, like us, believe that...
While it may seem like a distant problem, the reality is that until each one of us makes the debt an issue, the folks in D.C. aren’t going to deal with it. The only way they will deal with the debt is if the American people make it an issue.
And that’s why it’s critical that you spread the word about how serious dealing with the debt is for your future, your friends’ futures, your family’...
Okay, so your friends and family keep telling you to jump
on the social media bandwagon, but you have no idea what the fuzz is about.
Here’s the deal: The Internet gives liberty-loving folk like
us an opportunity we have never had before: to make the case for individual
liberty, limited government and free market economics instantly and globally.
But with the vast amounts of information...
Looking for an internship? If so, Intellectual Takeout has an opportunity for you.
We have plenty of work to do as well as ideas to spread, and we need your help to get it done.
If you're interested in an internship with Intellectual Takeout, you likely share our passion and you're excited about the possibility of working for a great cause. That said, you might have a few questions about what "...
Curiously, not a few individuals are realizing that their education (K-12 and even college) neglected to provide them with as much understanding of the world as they would like. At Intellectual Takeout, we believe that however you feel about your education, there is still much to be learned. To that end, we'd like to refer you to one book and a collection of "study guides" that serve as...
Let's face it, most of us love to watch TV and movies. A wonderful way to spread ideas is to embrace our love of the cinema by hosting a movie night with friends and family.
There are numerous documentaries that do a fantastic job of sharing the ideas of liberty. You can pull a small group of friends together at your house or even consider asking a local restaurant or tavern to let you...
Are you concerned your child isn't getting the education necessary to compete in the global economy or even, perhaps, to carry on the lessons and learning of Western Civilization? If so, you have a number of choices. You could, of course, consider changing schools to a charter school, private school, or even homeschooling. If that's overwhelming for you right now, you can always supplement your...
Sure, the idea of homeschooling is likely overwhelming. Indeed, homeschooling is a big commitment and a lot of work. That said, there's a reason why more and more parents are turning to homeschooling as the best option for their child(ren)'s education(s).
Perhaps you are starting to realize that the public school system has changed a lot since you last attended it. Maybe you can't afford private...
How often do you hear conservatives being called a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals?
Here's the reality: Conservatism, classical liberalism, and libertarianism have a rich, intellectual heritage reaching back many millennia. Our ideas are not just some historical relics from bygone eras; they are the very foundation of Western Civilization in general, amd the United States in particular....
Sadly (or happily for some), life goes on after college. So does the fight for freedom.
Building friendships, networking, and growing the movement is critical after college. If our ideas are to be preserved and promoted, you need to stay involved. Plus, in a time when the individual seems to be ever more isolated and adrift, these groups can help plug you into social networks you can use....
Okay, so we don't expect you to drive a wooden stake into your flat screen. Plus, we're total hypocrites since we watch some TV. But here's the point: People waste a ton of time watching TV. If you're cool with government taking over your future, than keep watching Dancing with the Stars. If you consider yourself to be a free man or woman and want to live in a free society, then watch what you...
A great way to make a difference on your campus by spreading the ideas of individual rights, limited government, and free markets is to tutor. Plus, you can occasionally make a little bit of money.
Depending on the subject matter, you will be discussing a variety of ideas, key thinkers, and theories. As anyone who has tutored knows, there are almost always opportunities to expand upon a topic....
The Association of American Educators (AAE) advances the teaching profession through personal growth, professional development, teacher advocacy and protection, as well as promoting excellence in education so that our members receive the respect, recognition and reward they deserve.
We've built Intellectual Takeout to provide you with quick, easy access to information. In time, we hope to become your one-stop-shop for the ideas of freedom.
If your professor allows you to bring your laptop to class (if not, you can use an iPhone), we recommend keeping a tab open to Intellectual Takeout.
As we continue to generate new content on the site, you will be able to fact check the...
When it comes to campus life injustices, student fees rank high on any list. On most campuses across the country a mandatory student fee is assessed to each student at the beginning of the year. A portion of this fee, which may be several hundred dollars, will go toward funding various political, religious, and interest groups.
A college requiring you to support groups espousing ideas which...
you're not happy with the direction of the country and you want to take
back your future, at some point you will have to do something. It's not
enough to just know that we're going in the wrong direction. You
actually have to step out and get involved.
Most college campuses have conservative and libertarian student
groups. Find one of them to join.
Below is a list of some of the larger non-...
Now that you're at college and the initial excitement has worn off, maybe you're thinking that the course selection is a bit biased and you'd like some options.
So how do you (the consumer) get the college (the business) to change up its offerings? It certainly won't be easy. Nevertheless it's something that should be done--particularly since you're footing the bill.
A good, education in a free...
Whatever activism you choose to do on campus, you need to get your story out. A popular tactic used by the Left is to isolate and intimidate freedom-loving students. You're not alone and there are a lot of people in your city, state, and country that can probably support your efforts. They just need to know what is happening.
Whenever you can, record in-class bias, discrimination against...
The reality is that most students (and people for that matter) won't speak out. It's called human nature and it was recognized in the Declaration of Independence: "...all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer,
while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the
forms to which they are accustomed."
While you might feel alone when debating a teacher,...
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, speech codes are a particularly odious example of politically correct repression on many a college campus. In some ways, college campuses are the least free places for thinking and speech in America.
Your best friend for fighting your school's repressive speech codes is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Here's a short clip...
Running for office isn't easy, even in college. Not everyone is cut
out for it, either. For those of you who are, this completely non-partisan section is for you.
If you are inclined to pursue student government,
we're not going to spend time on telling you how to get elected. A good
place to go for ideas and training is CampusReform.org. Rather, we want to help you in office, as a believer in...