that the power of Congress to legislate for every object which in their opinion might be for the benefit of the people, pressed by Mr. Hamilton in the Convention, was six times, directly or indirectly, rejected by that body; and, in spite of that, his followers have sought to construe these words as meaning what the authors of the Constitution had six times successively rejected; while Judge Story’s construction lands us in the same morass, a government of unlimited power, though he reaches it by a different road.
These facts show that a large majority of the Committee of Eleven that reported these words to be incorporated into the first clause of §8 Art. I were strongly opposed to the views of Mr. Hamilton and those of Judge Story that lead to the same end, tho’ by different routes, a government of unlimited powers!"
This speech was delivered before the annual meeting of the Georgia Bar Association at Tybee Island on June 2, 3, and 4, 1927.
Mr. PRESIDENT and gentlemen of the Georgia Bar Association: I make no apology for presenting to you today as the subject of my address a technical and abstruse question, be cause it involves the foundation stone of our form of Government.
The subject to which I invite your attention may be put in this form, “Judge Story’s position on the so-called General Welfare Clause of the Constitution of the United States.”
The words “the general welfare” are to be found in two places in the Constitution—in the preamble thereto and in Article 1, section 8, clause 1. All reputable writers concur in the statement that the words of the preamble to the Constitution constitute no grants of power, and therefore our investigation is confined to the words as found in Article 1, section 8, clause 1. which reads,
“The Congress shall have power lo lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States but all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”
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