A little knowledge is a dangerous thing; and no one illustrates this Principle better than Forbes’ writer Rick Unger in his article, “Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates Health Insurance – In 1798”, Washington Post writer Greg Sargent and Georgetown University history professor Adam Rothman.
In 1798, Congress passed An Act for the relief of sick and disabled Seamen which required the master of every American ship arriving from foreign ports to any port of the United States, and American ships engaged in the coastal trade using those ports, to pay a small fee to the federal government for every seaman employed on his ship. The funds so raised were used to care for sick and disabled seamen in the marine hospitals established in the ports of the United States.
So! Unger cited this 1798 Act and chortled with glee that our Framers supported “socialized medicine”; and so the “political right-wing” should stop “pretending” that our Founding Fathers would oppose ObamaCare.
Greg Sargent chimed in to the same effect, and quoted history professor Adam Rothman for the idiotic propositions that
“…the post-revolutionary generation clearly thought that the national government had a role in subsidizing health care … that in itself is pretty remarkable and a strong refutation of the basic principles that some Tea Party types offer … This defies a lot of stereotypes about limited government in the early republic.”
But Unger’s, Sargent’s and Rothman’s statements are so transparently ignorant they can be disposed of in a few paragraphs:
Congress’ Three Categories of Legislative Powers
One: Congress has only limited legislative powers over the Country at large. These legislative powers are restricted to war, international commerce & relations; and domestically, the creation of an uniform commercial system: weights & measures, patents & copyrights, a monetary system based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, and mail delivery. Various Amendments granted to Congress certain powers over civil rights. These enumerated powers are the only areas wherein the national government has lawful (constitutional) authority over The States and The People in The States. In all other matters [except those listed at Art. I, Sec. 10] the States and The People retained supremacy, independence, and sovereignty.
Two: Article I, Sec. 8, clause 17, U.S. Constitution, says:
“The Congress shall have Power To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislatures of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;” [boldface mine]
“Exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever” over “dock-Yards”. Do you see? It is this clause which grants to Congress authority to establish marine hospitals on dock-Yards belonging to the United States. Congress has a general legislative authority over the federal enclaves, such as dock-Yards. That legislative authority is limited only by the Bill of Rights.
In Federalist Paper No. 43 at 2., James Madison explains in three short paragraphs [read them!] why the federal government must have “complete authority” over the federal enclaves listed at Art. I, Sec. 8, cl.17.
Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 32 (2nd para), comments also on the grant of “EXCLUSIVE LEGISLATION” over the federal enclaves [capitals are Hamilton’s] in “The last clause but one in the eighth section of the first article…”
Do you see? That grant of “exclusive legislation” is restricted to the federal enclaves.
Three: Article IV, Sec. 3, cl. 2, grants to Congress the “Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States…” Madison shows in Federalist No. 43 at 5. that “the Territory” referred primarily to the Western Territory before it was formed into States.
That’s it, Folks!
So! While Rick Unger crowed in his article,
“While I’m sure a number of readers are scratching their heads in the effort to find the distinction between the circumstances of 1798 and today, I think you’ll find it difficult.”
It’s not difficult at all! All one has to do is read Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 17, which permits Congress to make such a law for American ships using the dock-Yards belonging to the United States. That’s what “exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever” means. Do you see?
Congress has no such legislative authority for the Country at large. There, it is limited and enumerated.
This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.
Comment Rules: Please confine comments to salient ones that add to the topic; Profanity is not allowed and will be deleted; Spam, copied statements and other material not comprised of the reader’s own opinion will be deleted.
Subscribe by Email
Sign up to receive the daily American Clarion article digest, with links to articles.
Recent American Clarion Articles
- Could ‘Republicans’ Please Stop Promoting Homosexual Activists?
We conservatives often ask yourselves why we are losing the culture left and right. We wonder why it is the political Left seems to win almost all of the battles, and public opinion just keeps slipping further and further away from the traditional values that made America the greatest place on
- Why U.S. Politicians Still Don’t Understand the Islamic Religion
Fox’s O’Reilly is quick to say that he and his staff trust nothing coming from the internet. Since most of the scandals and fake news today comes from television, we can only wonder if he sees himself as the only legitimate source of the truth. While his attitude smacks of cultism we also see
- The Light at the End of the Tunnel
I've been thinking a lot about death and the fragility of human life lately. Maybe it's ‘Sanctity of Life Sunday’ that stirs up these sober feelings of existential angst; or news of the sudden loss of both neighbor and friend alike that makes the uncertainty of our days so
- Trump’s Goldman Sachs Administration
It was just announced last week that Donald Trump is bringing two more Goldman Sachs alumni into his administration, bringing the total of Goldman Sachs people working for President-elect Trump to
- Farewell to Abomination
Have you been groaning for the past eight years? As I sit down to write this message, President Obama has less than a week left to occupy our White House. For some of you, by the time you hear this program, he will, Lord willing, already have left. I dearly HOPE that this will be the last time I
- Hollywood: the Bastion of Leftist Liberalism
Hollywood in the past has enjoyed power and influence with the American people, but it seems the tide is turning. The American people are realizing more and more just how out of touch with reality the elites of Hollywood really are. Why anyone would bother to listen to the majority of actors, since
- Fake News is Old News in the Drive-By Media
You want some fake news? I’ve got some fake news for you right here. The GOP has no plan to replace Obamacare. That is the headline the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media try to scare the low information voters with. Nothing could be further from the
- Bob Ellis: Yeah. I've known about him hanging Judge Moore out to dry for a while, but I'm hearing about several more……
- Thisoldspouse: Leftists are on board with Pryor over all the other candidates for a shocking reason - he concurred in 2011……
- Thisoldspouse: The cultural dumbing down continues apace. Not even socially conservative Christians are immune to it.…
- Bob Ellis: I have been thoroughly disgusted by "conservative" and "Christians" during this past presidential election (and in our state U.S. Senate……
- Bob Ellis: I agree. While Pryor is better overall than some other choices, he went after Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore for……
- Bob Ellis: Yes, the United States bears the bulk of the burden of keeping evil at bay in the world. We……
- Thisoldspouse: This capitulation is nothing new. For a long time now, you find self-describe "conservatives" who want marriage reserved to……
- Thisoldspouse: I think that virtually every Trump appointee with be poisoned with such ideology, and conservatives will just glibly gloss over……
- Edward MacGuire: The U.S. is by far the largest military and economic force on the planet, as well as the richest country……
- Edward MacGuire: You don't know that governments in the U.S.subsidize health care!? Now that is surreal.…