"The Framers of the Constitution were great clockmakers in the science of

statecraft, and they did, with admirable ingenuity, put together an intricate machine, which

promised to run indefinitely, and tell the time of the centuries." This statement, made by

James M. Beck , praises our founding fathers and their ideals. Today, however, Mr. Beck

and the authors of the Constitution would be outraged with the status of our government,

especially Congress. They would see how truly expanded our government has become

over the last 200 years.

Shortly after the Declaration of Independence had been adopted in 1776, the

Second Continental Congress created a plan of government for the new nation to live

under. This plan was known as the Articles of Confederation. This document would give

arisal to a new type of legislative body, but many problems would soon follow. This

Congress was too inefficient and clumsy to govern effectively. It had no independent

income and no authority to compel the states to accept its rulings. It couldn’t levy or

collect taxes. It could pass laws but could not enforce them. In short, this Congress was

nothing more than an unrespected child trying to get attention. On the contrary, the only

possible good thing that came out of Congress during this time was the Northeast


This accomplishment, seemingly insignificant, gave the nation a method by which

states could enter the union. This one success was not enough to save the Articles.

Another convention was called to correct the weaknesses but the decision was made to

prepare an entirely new document which is known as the Constitution.

The year was 1787, when a standstill was reached at the Constitutional Convention

on the idea of representation. Delegates from states with small populations favored equal

representation for every state. The larger populated states wanted representation

according to population. Arguments went off like fireworks and it became a mess because

no agreement was made. Finally, a solution, the Connecticut Compromise was set forth

and accepted. It called for a bicameral legislature. There was to be a senate, in which

every state would have two representatives. A House of Representatives, which was to be

based on population, was also created. The states were finally all in agreement with this

system of representation.

The Constitution provides a framework to show how the government is to be

limited. Within that framework the government possesses few powers and those powers

are specifically enumerated. The founders saw limited federal interference in the daily

lives of citizens. There was to be minimal government involvement in the domestic

economy. It is not that way today. These powers, in Article I, Sec. 8, include the right to

"establish Post Offices and post roads; raise and support Armies; provide and maintain a

Navy; declare War;" and other activities related mostly to defense. In addition the

authority of law making was given solely to Congress. How, then, are the many

government agencies like the EPA and ICC justified? Also, in Article I, Sec. 8 of the

Constitution, it states: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes; duties,

imports and excises to pay the debts, provide for common defense, and promote the

general welfare of the United States." The interpretation of this phrase by the judicial

system was simply that Congress may spend money for any purpose as long as it is for

"the general welfare of the United States." Why is this? These events were the exact

opposite of what was originally intended.

The Founders saw the general welfare clause to be a limiting provision on

government. They meant that the government spending and taxing powers could only be

used for purposes that were in the general welfare of the nation and its citizens, not any

particular group of citizens. To clarify its meaning, in 1798, Thomas Jefferson wrote,

"Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those

specifically enumerated."

Nearly all of the civilian programs that Congress puts into the budget are

unconstitutional. There is no granting of authority for the federal government to pay

money to farms, run the health care industry, impose wage and price controls, or give

welfare to the poor and unemployed. The Founders did not create a Department of

Commerce, a Department of Education, or