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Federalist No. 41



General View of the Powers Conferred by The Constitution

Saturday, January 19, 1788 [James Madison] (excerpt)

To the People of the State of New York:

THE Constitution proposed by the convention may be considered under two general points of view. The FIRST relates to the sum or quantity of power which it vests in the government, including the restraints imposed on the States. The SECOND, to the particular structure of the government, and the distribution of this power among its several branches. Under the first view of the subject, two important questions arise: 1. Whether any part of the powers transferred to the general government be unnecessary or improper? 2. Whether the entire mass of them be dangerous to the portion of jurisdiction left in the several States? Is the aggregate power of the general government greater than ought to have been vested in it....




Federalist No. 42



The Powers Conferred by the Constitution Further Considered (continued)

Wednesday, January 23, 1788 [James Madison] (excerpt)

To the People of the State of New York:

THE fourth class comprises the following miscellaneous powers: 1. A power "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing, for a limited time, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." The utility of this power will scarcely be questioned. The copyright of authors has been solemnly adjudged, in Great Britain, to be a right of common law. The right to useful inventions seems with equal reason to belong to the inventors. The public good fully coincides in both cases with the claims of individuals. The States cannot separately make effectual provisions for either of the cases....






Federalist No. 42



The Powers Conferred by the Constitution Further Considered

Tuesday, January 22, 1788 [James Madison] (excerpt)

To the People of the State of New York:

THE second class of powers, lodged in the general government, consists of those which regulate the intercourse with foreign nations, to wit: to make treaties; to send and receive ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls; to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations; to regulate foreign commerce, including a power to prohibit, after the year 1808, the importation of slaves, and to lay an intermediate duty of ten dollars per head, as a discouragement to such importations. This class of powers forms an obvious and essential branch of the federal administration. If we are to be one nation in any respect, it clearly ought to be in respect to other nations. The powers to make treaties and to send and receive ambassadors, speak their own propriety....




Federalist No. 44



Restrictions on the Authority of the Several States

Friday, January 25, 1788 [James Madison] (excerpt)

To the People of the State of New York:

A fifth class of provisions in favor of the federal authority consists of the following restrictions on the authority of the several States: 1. "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 a legal 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." The prohibition against treaties, alliances, and confederations makes a part of the existing articles of Union; and for reasons which need no explanation, is copied into the new Constitution....



   Federalist essays on the role of state and federal governments
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