Thomas Jefferson on the Misuse of the Commerce and General Welfare Clauses

Barely 8 months before he died, Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Virginia politician William Giles about the threat posed by the usurpation of states rights by a growing federal power. He identified federal powers claimed under the commerce and general welfare clauses as especially dangerous.

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James Madison: Veto Message on the Internal Improvements Bill

March 3, 1817: As his last official act as President, Madison vetoes a bill that would provide federal funding for building roads and canals throughout the United States. The President finds no expressed congressional power to fund roads and canals in the Constitution, and he believes that the federal government should not encroach upon matters delegated to state governments.

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