Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol. 4

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On the Tariff

SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT ON THE SOUTH CAROLINA
EXPOSITION.
(See p. 580.)

"The argument against the constitutional authority [to lay taxes, except for the purposes of revenue] is understood to be maintained on the following grounds, which, though applied to the protection of manufactures, are equally applicable to all other cases, where revenue is not the object. The general government is one of specific powers, and it can rightfully exercise only the powers expressly granted, and those which may be ’necessary and proper’ to carry them into effect; all others being reserved expressly to the states, or to the people. It results, necessarily, that those who claim to exercise a power under the Constitution are bound to show that it is expressly granted, or that it is ’necessary and proper,’ as a means to execute some of the granted powers. No such proof has been offered in regard to the protection of manufactures.

"It is true that the 8th section of the 1st article of the Constitution authorizes Congress to lay and collect an impost duty; but it is granted as [p.593] tax power, for the sole purpose of revenue—a power in its nature essentially different from that of imposing protective or prohibitory duties. The two are incompatible; for the prohibitory system must end in destroying the revenue from imports. It has been said that the system is a violation of the spirit, and not of the letter, of the Constitution. The distinction is not material. The Constitution may be as grossly violated by acting against its meaning, as against its letter. The Constitution grants to Congress the power of imposing a duty on imports for revenue, which power is abused by being converted into an instrument for rearing up the industry of one section of the country on the ruins of another. The violation, then, consists in using a power, granted for one object, to advance another, and that by a sacrifice of the original object. It is, in a word, a violation of perversion, the most dangerous of all, because the most insidious, and difficult to resist. Such is the reasoning emanating from high legislative authority."—Story.

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Chicago: Elliot, Jonathan, ed., "On the Tariff," Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol. 4 in The Debates in the Several State Conventions, on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, as Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia, in 1787 (Philadelphia: J. B. Lipincott Company, 1901), Original Sources, accessed April 26, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DJPCIK2PK5W7DHS.

MLA: . "On the Tariff." Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol. 4, edited by Elliot, Jonathan, in The Debates in the Several State Conventions, on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, as Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia, in 1787, Vol. 4, Philadelphia, J. B. Lipincott Company, 1901, Original Sources. 26 Apr. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DJPCIK2PK5W7DHS.

Harvard: (ed.), 'On the Tariff' in Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol. 4. cited in 1901, The Debates in the Several State Conventions, on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, as Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia, in 1787, J. B. Lipincott Company, Philadelphia. Original Sources, retrieved 26 April 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DJPCIK2PK5W7DHS.