Charity Over WelfareSubmitted by thenung on Wed, 03/20/2013 - 13:12
" In 1887, a severe drought resulted in widespread crop failure throughout the state of Texas. As the crisis garnered national attention, Congress was eager to pass a bill to assist struggling farmers in the American West that would "enable the Commissioner of Agriculture to make a special distribution of seeds in drought-stricken counties of Texas, and making an appropriation there-for."
President Grover Cleveland, famous for his 584 vetoes and strict Constitutionalist beliefs, had his reservations about the bill and vetoed it. Upon submitting his veto to Congress, Cleveland remarked:
'. . . And yet I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan as proposed by this bill, to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose.
I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.
The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. . . '"
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