FedralBit Papers no. 84


For all who don’t have time to read 600+ pages of the Federalist Papers (which contain the backbone of the reasoning behind our constitution and were the argumental base of its support) here is a logical bit.  This one was arguing against the need for a Bill of Rights because our government’s reach was already limited to that contained within the Constitution.  Insight as to their intent within the Constitution:
The Federalist Papers presented arguments in f...

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“I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.”

Federalist No. 84Certain General and Miscellaneous Objections to the Constitution
Considered and Answered
Alexander Hamilton, From McLEAN’s Edition, New York, 1788.
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