27 December 1787
Key elements for the modern Citizenry to consider that is addressed in this letter regarding the Constitution as submitted to the states in 1787. Some of these elements are future looking, to the present, where as others are in continuum for as long as there are States.
Questions to be answered:
• Will the general government absorb the states?
• What of states rights?
• Does the general government have sufficient provisions to guard against misuse or abuse of power?
• Will the taxing authority of the general government take away what is needed within the states to execute their internal affairs?
1. The powers given to the legislator have no other limitation than the discretion of the Congress.
2. The “necessary and proper” clause will allow the legislature to do as they please.
3. The states taxing power is subservient to the general government such that in the future, the states cannot fund their activities and “the state governments will be dependent on the will of the general government for their existence.”
4. Through law and taxation the general government will establish agents and enforcers to execute the collection of taxes and penalties such that “… but it will not be many years before they will have a revenue, and force, at their command, which will place them above any apprehensions on that score.” Thereby usurping the rights of the people by use of force.
5. The constitution gives taxing power on every aspect of life such as:
a. “Cider (distilled alcohols and wines)
i. “… necessary to license the mills, which are to make this liquor,
b. “Porter, ale, and all kinds of malt-liquors
i. “… to regulate the manufactory of these,
ii. “… Every brewery must then be licensed
iii. “… officers appointed, to take account of its product, and to secure
the payment of the duty, or excise, before it is sold.”
c. It will wait upon the ladies at their toilett, and will not leave them in any of their domestic concerns…
d. … will enter the house of every gentleman, watch over his cellar, wait upon his cook in the kitchen, follow the servants into the parlour, preside over the table, and note down all he eats or drinks …
e. … it will take cognizance of the professional man in his office or his store …
f. it will follow the mechanic to his shop, and in his work,
g. it will be a constant companion of the industrious farmer in all his labour,
h. it will penetrate into the most obscure cottage; and
i. finally, it will light upon the head of every person in the United States.
6. Argues that the “general welfare” clause is nebulous and that, “It will then be matter of opinion, what tends to the general welfare; and the Congress will be the only judges in the matter. To provide for the general welfare, is an abstract proposition…”
7. The expectation for the elected would be “For every man, rulers as well as others, are bound by the immutable laws of God and reason, always to will what is right.”
8. The fear of Brutus is: “… The government would always say, their measures were designed and calculated to promote the public good; and there being no judge between them and the people, the rulers themselves must, and would always, judge for themselves.”
9. Finally, that the states have the same ability to take care of their needs to govern by independently have the financial resources to do so.
Full Text of Brutus VI