24 October 2012

Constitution Ratified 1789 – The Right to Tax

The Whiskey Rebellion by William Hodgeland, 2006, Excerpts

In 1789, the Constitution of the United States had been ratified. The first U.S. Congress was settling into its temporary home in New York City and confirmed Alexander Hamilton’s appointment to the executive branch. Alexander Hamilton, working up his finance plan, had exciting new powers to work with.

The U.S. Constitution, Article One, section eight, clause one, gave the federal government a right to collect every kind of tax from the whole people of the United States. Congress created and deployed a cadre of federal officers to collect the impost, and the officers’ power, which included search and seizure, were unhampered by state lines or state laws. The nation was being unified by tax officers.

Sections fifteen and sixteen empowered the federal government to call out the state militias to enforce federal laws, to organize and control those militias when so engaged, and to prescribe militias’ training at all times.

Section ten, clause one, prohibited states from printing paper money, issuing bonds, and making anything but gold and silver a legal tender for paying public or private debts.

District judges were no longer elected in the counties they served but were appointed by the executive in the capital.

The power that the people had been given in 1776 was taken away.

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