Class Notes

Class Notes is back as I am starting my summer semester.  This summer I will be teaching U.S. History from the creation of the Constitution to the Civil War.

Probably the biggest argument in the 19th Century and in some ways today is over the “Necessary and Proper” clause or sometimes called the elastic clause in the Constitution.  In Article I, Section 8 the Constitution states that Congress has the power, “ 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.”

Strict interpretationists believe the government can only do what the Constitution strictly gives it permission to do.  However, others believe this clause gives the government power to stretch their control into areas where it is necessary and proper.  One of the first big fights over this clause came with the First Bank of the United States.  Republicans claimed the Constitution did not allow for such an entity, while the Federalists believed it was necessary.  Now here we are 250 years later still arguing about how much power the government is granted.

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