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Jefferson's Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank : 1791

The bill for establishing a National Bank undertakes among other things:

1. To form the subscribers into a corporation.

2. To enable them in their corporate capacities to receive grants of land; and so far is against the laws of Mortmain.(1)

3. To make alien subscribers capable of holding lands, and so far is against the laws of Alienage.

4. To transmit these lands, on the death of a proprietor, to a certain line of successors; and so far changes the course of Descents.

5. To put the lands out of the reach of forfeiture or escheat, and so far is against the laws of Forfeiture and Escheat.

6. To transmit personal chattels to successors in a certain line and so far is against the laws of Distribution.

7. To give them the sole and exclusive right of banking under the national authority; and so far is against the laws of Monopoly.

8. To communicate to them a power to make laws paramount to the laws of the States; for so they must be construed, to protect the institution from the control of the State legislatures, and so, probably, they will be construed.

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That " all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people." [XIIth amendment.] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.

continued, ironically:

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It is a very good argument by

It is a very good argument by Jefferson.

However, at the time, people like Washington that a bank was necessary to make regular commerce between the states...as well as pay off debts accrued.

Also, of the list above, many of the issues Jefferson had are not issue that libertarians feel are relevant. Other than 5 and 7, Jefferson's arguments are opposite from the libertarian stance, which has no issues with corporations, a lack of state control, unrestricted property rights, and loose boundaries.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a


honestly, whether or not Jefferson espoused the Libertarian platform matters little to me. I thought it a relevant post as we have lived with the consequences of the prevailing argument.

"The two weakest arguments for any issue on the House floor are moral and constitutional"
Ron Paul

I liked this line the best

"It would reduce the whole instrument 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 they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. "

Jefferson was the

true genius of the bunch.

"The two weakest arguments for any issue on the House floor are moral and constitutional"
Ron Paul

Jefferson was a

intellectual giant. I love the way he ferrets out the various ways in which the limitations on government provided in the constitution could be circumvented. Take for instance his distinction between the terms, necessary and convenient. Just think of all of the intrusions the public has been conditioned to accept for the sake of convenience.

If has been urged that a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes, Suppose this were true: yet the Constitution allows only the means which are "necessary," not those which are merely "convenient" for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to everyone, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers. It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power, as before observed. Therefore it was that the Constitution restrained them to the necessary means, that is to say, to those means without which the grant of power would be nugatory.

you hit the nail

on the head.

"The two weakest arguments for any issue on the House floor are moral and constitutional"
Ron Paul