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It is agreed by most of the advocates of this new system, that thegovernment which is proper for the United States should be a confederated one;that the respective states ought to retain a portion of their sovereignty, andthat they should preserve not only the forms of their legislatures, but also thepower to conduct certain internal concerns. How far the powers to be retainedby the states are to extend, is the question; we need not spend much time onthis subject, as it respects this constitution, for a government without powerto raise money is one only in name. It is clear that the legislatures of therespective states must be altogether dependent on the will of the generallegislature, for the means of supporting their government. The legislatureofthe United States will have a right to exhaust every source of revenue in everystate, and to annul all laws of the states which may stand in the way ofeffecting it; unless therefore we can suppose the state governments can existwithout money to support the officers who execute them, we must conclude theywill exist no longer than the general legislatures choose they should. Indeedthe idea of any government existing, in any respect, as an independent one,without any means of support in their own hands, is an absurdity. If therefore,this constitution has in view, what many of its framers and advocates say ithas, to secure and guarantee to the separate states the exercise of certainpowers of government, it certainly ought to have left in their hands somesources of revenue. It should have marked the line in which the generalgovernment should have raised money, and set bounds over which they should notpass, leaving to the separate states other means to raise supplies for thesupport of their governments, and to discharge their respective debts. To thisit is objected, that the general government ought to have power competent to thepurposes of the union; they are to provide for the common defense, to pay thedebts of the United States, support foreign ministers, and the civilestablishment of the union, and to do these they ought to have authority toraise money adequate to the purpose. On this I observe, that the stategovernments have also contracted debts; they require money to support theircivil officers; . . . if they give to the general government a power to raisemoney in every way in which it can possibly be raised, with . . . a control overthe state legislatures as to prohibit them, whenever the general legislature maythink proper, from raising any money, (the states will fail]. It is againobjected that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to draw the line ofdistinction between the powers of the general and state governments on thissubject. The first, it is said, must have the power to raise the moneynecessary for the purposes of the union; if they are limited to certain objectsthe revenue may fall short of a sufficiency for the public exigencies; they musttherefore have discretionary power. The line may be easily and accurately drawnbetween the powers of the two governments on this head. The distinction betweenexternal and internal taxes, is not a novel one in this country. It is a plainone, and easily understood. The first includes impost duties on all importedgoods; this species of taxes it is proper should be laid by the generalgovernment; many reasons might be urged to show that no danger is to beapprehended from their exercise of it. They may be collected in few places, andfrom few hands with certainty and expedition. But few officers are necessary tobe employed in collecting them, and there is no danger of oppression in layingthem, because if they are laid higher than trade will bear, the merchants willcease importing, or smuggle their goods. We have therefore sufficient security,arising from the nature of the thing, against burdensome, and intolerableimpositions from this kind of tax. The case is far otherwise with regard todirect taxes; these include poll taxes, land taxes, excises, duties on writteninstruments, on everything we eat, drink, or wear; they take hold of everyspecies of property, and come home to every man's house and pocket. These areoften so oppressive, as to grind the face of the poor, and render the lives ofthe common people a burden to them. The great and only security the people canhave against oppression from this kind of taxes, must rest in theirrepresentatives. If they are sufficiently numerous to be well informed of thecircumstances, . . . and have a proper regard for the people, they will besecure. The general legislature, as I have shown in a former paper, will not bethus qualified,' and therefore, on this account, ought not to exercise the powerof direct taxation. If the power of laying imposts will not be sufficient, someother specific mode of raising a revenue should have been assigned the generalgovernment; many may be suggested in which their power may be accurately definedand limited, and it would be much better to give them authority to lay andcollect a duty on exports, not to exceed a certain rate per cent, than to havesurrendered every kind of resource that the country has, to the completeabolition of the state governments, and which will introduce such an infinitenumber of laws and ordinances, fines and penalties, courts, and judges,collectors, and excisemen, that when a man can number them, he may enumerate thestars of Heaven.
Great essay choices!!! Very staight forward and conceptually easy to deal without the help of professional help (college advisors). Atleast they are not ambigious and overlapping like the previous ones. Option 6 was a very vague choice and most students chose to write essays that were meant for 1-5. Afterall, they are 17- 18 year olds so dont expect them to dig out existential essays.
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Should future circumstances, contrary to our expectations, require that furtherpowers be transferred to the union, we can do it far more easily, than get backthose we may now imprudently give. The system proposed is untried. Candidadvocates and opposers admit, that it is in a degree, a mere experiment, andthat its organization is weak and imperfect. Surely then, the safe ground iscautiously to vest power in it, and when we are sure we have given enough forordinary exigencies, to be extremely careful how we delegate powers, which, incommon cases, must necessarily be useless or abused, and of very uncertaineffect in uncommon ones. By giving the union power to regulate commerce, and tolevy and collect taxes by imposts, we give it an extensive authority, andpermanent productive funds, I believe quite as adequate to present demands ofthe union, as excises and direct taxes can be made to the present demands of theseparate states. The state governments are now about four times as expensive asthat of the union; and their several state debts added together, are nearly aslarge as that of the union. Our impost duties since the peace have been almostas productive as the other sources of taxation, and when under one generalsystem of regulations, the probability is that those duties will be veryconsiderably increased. Indeed the representation proposed will hardly justifygiving to congress unlimited powers to raise taxes by imposts, in addition tothe other powers the union must necessarily have. It is said, that if congresspossess only authority to raise taxes by imposts, trade probably will beoverburdened with taxes, and the taxes of the union be found inadequate to anyuncommon exigencies. To this we may observe, that trade generally finds its ownlevel, and will naturally and necessarily heave off any undue burdens laid uponit. Further, if congress alone possess the impost, and also unlimited power toraise monies by excises and direct taxes, there must be much more danger thattwo taxing powers, the union and states, will carry excises and direct taxes toan unreasonable extent, especially as these have not the natural boundariestaxes on trade have. However, it is not my object to propose to exclude congressfrom raising monies by internal taxes, except in strict conformity to thefederal plan; that is, by the agency of the state governments in all cases,except where a state shall neglect, for an unreasonable time, to pay its quotaof a requisition; and never where so many of the state legislatures as representa majority of the people, shall formally determine an excise law or requisitionis improper, in their next session after the same be laid before them. We oughtalways to recollect that the evil to be guarded against is found by our ownexperience, and the experience of others, to be mere neglect in the statesto pay their quotas; and power in the union to levy and collect the neglectingstates' quotas with interest, is fully adequate to the evil. By this federalplan, with this exception mentioned, we secure the means of collecting the taxesby the usual process of law, and avoid the evil of attempting to compel orcoerce a state; and we avoid also a circumstance, which never yet could be, andI am fully confident never can be, admitted in a free federal republic - I mean apermanent and continued system of tax laws of the union, executed in the bowelsof the states by many thousand officers, dependent as to the assessing andcollecting federal taxes solely upon the union. On every principle, then, weought to provide that the union render an exact account of all monies raised byimposts and other taxes whenever monies shall be wanted for the purposes of theunion beyond the proceeds of the impost duties; requisitions shall be made onthe states for the monies so wanted; and that the power of laying and collectingshall never be exercised, except in cases where a state shall neglect, a giventime, to pay its quota. This mode seems to be strongly pointed out by thereason of the case, and spirit of the government; and I believe, there is noinstance to be found in a federal republic, where the congressional powers everextended generally to collecting monies by direct taxes or excises. Creating allthese restrictions, still the powers of the union in matters of taxation will betoo unlimited; further checks, in my mind, are indispensably necessary. Nor doI conceive, that as full a representation as is practicable in the federalgovernment, will afford sufficient security. The strength of the government,and the confidence of the people, must be collected principally in the localassemblies. . . . A government possessed of more power than its constituentparts will justify, will not only probably abuse it, but be unequal to bear itsown burden; it may as soon be destroyed by the pressure of power, as languishand perish for want of it.
It is said, that as the federal head must make peace and war, and providefor the common defense, it ought to possess all powers necessary to that end. That powers unlimited, as to the purse and sword, to raise men and monies andform the militia, are necessary to that end; and therefore, the federal headought to possess them. This reasoning is far more specious than solid. It isnecessary that these powers so exist in the body politic, as to be called intoexercise whenever necessary for the public safety. But it is by no means truethat the man, or congress of men, whose duty it more immediately is to providefor the common defense, ought to possess them without limitation. But clear itis, that if such men, or congress, be not in a situation to hold them withoutdanger to liberty, he or they ought not to possess them. It has long beenthought to be a well founded position, that the purse and sword ought not to beplaced in the same hands in a free government. Our wise ancestors havecarefully separated them - placed the sword in the hands of their king, even underconsiderable limitations, and the purse in the hands of the commons alone. Yetthe king makes peace and war, and it is his duty to provide for the commondefense of the nation. This authority at least goeth thus far - that a nation,well versed in the science of government, does not conceive it to be necessaryor expedient for the man entrusted with the common defense and generaltranquility, to possess unlimitedly the power in question, or even in anyconsiderable degree. Could he, whose duty it is t defend the public, possess inhimself independently, all the means of doing it consistent with the publicgood, it might be convenient. But the people o England know that theirliberties and happiness would be in infinitely great danger from the king'sunlimited possession of these powers, than from al external enemies and internalcommotions to which they might be exposed Therefore, though they have made ithis duty to guard the empire, yet the have wisely placed in other hands, thehands of their representatives, the power to deal out and control the means. InHolland their high mightiness must provide for the common defense, but for themeans they depend in considerable degree upon requisitions made on the state orlocal assemblies Reason and facts evince, that however convenient it might befor an executive magistrate, or federal head, more immediately charged with thenational defense and safety, solely, directly, and independently to possess allthe means, yet such magistrate or head never ought to possess them if therebythe public liberties shall be endangered. The powers in question never havebeen, by nations wise and free, deposited, nor can they ever be, with safety, any where out of the principal members of the national system. Where these formone entire government, as in Great Britain, they are separated and lodged in theprincipal members of it. But in a federal republic, there is quite a differentorganization; the people form this kind of government, generally, because theirterritories are too extensive to admit of their assembling in one legislature,or of executing the laws on free principles under one entire government. TheyConvene in their local assemblies, for local purposes, and for managing theirinternal concerns, and unite their states under a federal head for generalpurposes. It is the essential characteristic of a confederated republic, thatthis head be dependent on, and kept within limited bounds by the localgovernments; and it is because, in these alone, in fact, the people can besubstantially assembled or represented. It is, therefore, we very universallysee, in this kind of government, the congressional powers placed in a few hands,and accordingly limited, and specifically enumerated; and the local assembliesstrong and well guarded, and composed of numerous members. Wise men will alwaysplace the controlling power where the people are substantially collected bytheir representatives. By the proposed system the federal head will possess,without limitation, almost every species of power that can, in its exercise,tend to change the government, or to endanger liberty; while in it, I think ithas been fully shown, the people will have but the shadow of representation, andbut the shadow of security for their rights and liberties. In a confederatedrepublic, the division of representation, etc. , in its nature, requires acorrespondent division and deposit of powers, relative to taxes and militaryconcerns. And I think the plan offered stands quite alone, in confounding theprinciples of governments in themselves totally distinct. I wish not toexculpate the states for their improper neglects in not paying their quotas ofrequisitions. But, in applying the remedy, we must be governed by reason andfacts. It will not be denied that the people have a right to change thegovernment when the majority choose it, if not restrained by some existingcompact; that they have a right to displace their rulers, and consequently todetermine when their measures are reasonable or not; and that they have a right,at any time, to put a stop to those measures they may deem prejudicial to them,by such forms and negatives as they may see fit to provide. From all these, andmany other well founded considerations, I need not mention, a question arises,what powers shall there be delegated to the federal head, to insure safety, aswell as energy, in the government? I think there is a safe and proper mediumpointed out by experience, by reason, and facts. When we have organized thegovernment, we ought to give power to the union, so far only as experience andpresent circumstances shall direct, with a reasonable regard to time to come.
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I am told that four of the richest men in Ann-Arundel County [Maryland],have offered themselves candidates to serve in the convention, who are all infavor of the new Federal Government. Let me beg of you to reflect a moment onthe danger you run. If you choose these men, or others like them, they certainlywill do everything in their power to adopt the new government. Should theysucceed, your liberty is gone forever; and you will then be nothing better thana strong ass crouching down between two burdens. The new form of governmentgives Congress liberty at any time, by their laws, to alter the state laws, andthe time, places and manner of holding elections for representatives. By thisclause they may command, by their laws, the people of Maryland to go to Georgia,and the people of Georgia to go to Boston, to choose their representatives. Congress, or our future lords and masters, are to have power to lay and collecttaxes, duties, imposts, and excises. Excise is a new thing in America, and fewcountry farmers and planters know the meaning of it. But it is not so in OldEngland, where I have seen the effects of it, and felt the smart. It is there aduty, or tax, laid upon almost every necessary of life and convenience, and agreat number of other articles. The excise on salt in the year 1762, to thebest of my recollection, in England, was 4s. sterling per bushel, for all thatwas made use of in families; and the price of salt per bushel about 6s. sterling, and the excise 4s. 6d. on every gallon of rum made use of. If aprivate family make their own soap, candles, beer, cider, etc. , they pay anexcise duty on them. And if they neglect calling in an excise officer at thetime of making these things, they are liable to grievous fines and forfeitures,besides a long train of evils and inconveniences attending this detestableexcise - to enumerate particularly would fill a volume. The excise officers havepower to enter your houses at all times, by night or day, and if you refuse thementrance, they can, under pretense of searching for exciseable goods, that theduty has not been paid on, break open your doors, chests, trunks, desks, boxes,and rummage your houses from bottom to top. Nay, they often search the clothes,petticoats and pockets of ladies or gentlemen (particularly when they are comingfrom on board an East-India ship), and if they find any the least article thatyou cannot prove the duty to be paid on, seize it and carry it away with them;who are the very scum and refuse of mankind, who value not their oaths, and willbreak them for a shilling. This is their true character in England, and I speakfrom experience, for I have had the opportunity of putting their virtue to thetest, and saw two of them break their oath for one guinea, and a third for oneshilling's worth of punch. What do you think of a law to let loose such a setof vile officers among you! Do you expect the Congress excise-officers will beany better - if God, in his anger, should think it proper to punish us for ourignorance, and sins of ingratitude to him, after carrying us through the latewar, and giving us liberty, and now so tamely to give it up by adopting thisaristocratical government?
I may be asked to point out the sources, from which the general governmentcould derive a sufficient revenue, to answer the demands of the union. . . . Thereis one source of revenue, which it is agreed, the general government ought tohave the sole control of. This is an impost upon all goods imported fromforeign countries. This would, of itself, be very productive, and would becollected with ease and certainty. It will be a fund too, constantlyincreasing, for our commerce will grow with the productions of the country. Andthese, together with our consumption of foreign goods, wilt increase with ourpopulation. It is said, that the impost will not produce a sufficient sum tosatisfy the demands of the general government; perhaps it would not. . . . My ownopinion is, that the objects from which the general government should haveauthority to raise a revenue, should be of such a nature, that the tax should beraised by simple laws, with few officers, with certainty and expedition, andwith the least interference with the internal police of the states. Of thisnature is the impost on imported goods. And it appears to me that a duty onexports, would also be of this nature. Therefore, for ought I can discover,this would be the best source of revenue to grant the general government. Iknow neither the Congress nor the state legislatures will have authority underthe new constitution to raise a revenue in this way. But I cannot perceive thereason of the restriction. It appears to me evident, that a tax on articlesexported, would be as nearly equal as any that we can expect to lay, and itcertainly would be collected with more ease and less expense than any directtax. I do not however, contend for this mode; it may be liable to well foundedobjections that have not occurred to me. But this I do contend for, that somemode is practicable, and that limits must be marked between the generalgovernment, and the states on this head, or if they be not, either the Congressin the exercise of this power, will deprive the state legislatures of the meansof their existence, or the states by resisting the constitutional authority ofthe general government, will render it nugatory. . . .
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