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regulate commerce, so as to prevent the injurious monopolies, and exclusions of foreign nations, and the conflicting, and often ruinous regulations of the different States. If duties were laid by one State, they were rendered ineffectual by the opposite policy of another. If one gave a preference to its own ships or commerce, it was counteracted by another. If one endeavored to foster its own manufactures by any measures of protection, that inade it an object of jealousy to others; and brought upon it the severe retaliation of foreign Governments. If one was peculiarly favored in its agricultural products, that constituted an inducement with others to load it with some restrictions, which should redress the inequality. And it was easy to foresee, that this state of things could not long exist, without bringing on a border warfare, and a deep-rooted hatred among neighboring States, fatal to the Union, and, of course, fatal also to the liberty of every member of it.
$ 117. The power, 'to regulate foreign commerce,' naebled the Government at once to place the whole country upon an equality with foreign nations; to compel them to abandon their narrow and selfish policy towards us; and to protect our own commercial interests against their injurious competitions. The power to regulate commerce among the several States, in like manner, annihilated the causes of domestic feuds and rivalries. It compelled every State to regard the interest of each, as the interest of all; and thus diffused over all the blessings of a free, active, and rapid exchange of commodities, upon the footing of perfect equality. The power to regulate commerce with the Indian Tribes' was equally necessary to the peace and safety of the frontier States. Experience had shown the utter impracticability of escaping from sudden wars, and invasions, on the part of these Tribes; and the dangers were immeasurably increased, by the want of uniformity of regulations and control, in the intercourse with them. Indeed, in nothing has the profound
wisdom of the framers of the Constitution been more displayed, than in the exclusive grant of this power to the Union. By means of it the country has risen from poverty to opulence ; from a state of narrow and scanty resources to an ample national revenue ; from a feeble, and disheartening intercourse and competition with foreign nations in agriculture, commerce, manufactures, and population, to a proud, and conscious independence in arts, in numbers, in skill, and in civil polity.
Naturalization, Bankruptcy, and Coinage of Money.
The next power of Congress is, 'to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the States.' The power of naturalization is, with great propriety, confided to Congress, since, if left to the States, they might naturalize foreigners upon very different, and even opposite systems; and, as the citizens of all the States have common privileges in all, it would be in the power of any one State to defeat the wholesome policy of all the others in regard to this most important subject. Congress alone can have power to pass uniform laws, obligatory on all the States; and thus to adopt a system, which shall secure all of them against any dangerous results, from the indiscriminate admission of foreigners to the right of citizenship upon their first landing on our shores. And, accordingly, this power is exclusive in Congress.
$ 119. The power to pass bankrupt laws is equally important, and proper to be entrusted to Congress, though it is greatly to be regretted, that it has not, except in a very brief
period, been acted upon. Bankrupt and insolvent laws, when properly framed, have two great objects in view; first, to secure to honest but unfortunate debtors a discharge from debts, which they are unable to pay, and thus to enable them to begin anew in the career of industry, without the discouraging fear, that it will be wholly useless ; secondly, to secure to creditors a full surrender, an dequal participation, of and in the effects of their debtors, when they have become bankrupt, or failed in business. On the one hand, such laws relieve the debtor from perpetual bondage to his creditors, in the shape, either of an unlimited imprisonment for his debts, or of an absolute right to appropriate all his future earnings. The latter course obviously destroys all encouragement to future enterprize and industry, on the part of his debtor ; the former is, if possible, more harsh, severe, and indefeasible ; for it makes poverty, in itself sufficiently oppressive, the cause or occasion of penalties, and punishments.
$ 120. It is obvious, that no single State is competent to pass a uniform system of bankruptcy, which shall operate throughout all of them. It can have no power to discharge debts, contracted in other States; or to bind creditors in other States. And it is hardly within the range of probability, that the same system should be universally adopted, and persevered in permanently, by all the States. In fact, before, as well as since the adoption of the Constitution, the States have had very different systems on the subject, exhibiting a policy as opposite as could well be imagined. The future will, in all human probability, be, as the past. And the utter inability of any State to discharge contracts made before the passage of its own laws, or to discharge any debts, contracted in other States, or due to the citizens thereof, must perpetually embarrass commercial dealings, discourage industry, and diminish private credit and confidence. The remedy is in the hands of Congress. It has been given for wise ends, and has hitherto been strangely left without any efficient operation.
$ 121. The next power of Congress is, 'to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coins, and fix 'the standard of weights and measures.' The object of the power over the coinage and currency is, to produce uniformity in the value of money throughout the Union, and thus to save us from the embarrassments of a perpetually fluctuating and variable currency. If each State might coin money, as it pleased, there would be no security for any uniform coinage, or standard of value; and a great deal of base and false coin would be constantly thrown into the market. The evils from this cause are abundantly felt among the small principalities of continental Europe. The power to fix the standard of weights and measures is a matter of great public convenience, though it has hitherto remained dormant. The introduction of the decimal mode of calculation, in dollars and cents, instead of the old and awkward system of pounds, shillings and pence, has been found of great public convenience, although it was at first somewhat unpopular. A similar system in weights and measures has been thought by many statesmen to have advantages equally great and universal. At all events, the power is safe in the hands of Congress, and may hereafter be acted
whenever either our foreign, or our domestic intercourse, shall imperiously require a new system.
$ 122. The next power of Congress is, 'to provide for 'the punishment of counterfeiting the securities, and current
coin of the United States.' This is a natural, and, in a just view, an indispensable appendage to the power to borrow money, and coin money. Without it, there would be no adequate means for the General Government to punish frauds or forgeries, detrimental to its own interests, and subversive of private confidence.
Post Office and Post Roads. - Patents for Inventions.
§ 123. The next power of Congress, is 'to establish post 'offices, and post roads.' This power is peculiarly appropriate to the National Government, and would be at once unwieldy, dilatory, and irregular in the hands of the States, from the utter impracticability of adopting any uniform system of regulations for the whole continent, and from the inequality of the burthens, and benefits of any local system, among the several States, in proportion to their own expenditures. Under the auspices of the General Government, the post-office has already become one of the most beneficent, and useful of our national establishments. It circulates intelligence of a commercial, political, literary, and private nature, with incredible speed and regularity. It thus administers in a very high degree to the comfort, the interests, and the necessities of persons in every rank and station of life. It is not less effective, as an instrument of the Government; enabling it, in times of peace and war, to send its orders, execute its measures, transmit its funds, and regulate its operations, with a promptitude and certainty, which are of incalculable importance, in point of economy, as well as of energy. The rapidity of its move. ments has been, in a general view, doubled within the last twenty years; and there are now more than eight thousand five hundred post-offices in the United States; and mails travel in various directions more than one hundred and twenty thousand miles. It seems wholly unnecessary to vindicate the grant of a power, which has been thus demonstrated to be of the highest value to all the people of the Union.
$ 124. The next power of Congress is, 'to promote the progress of science, and the useful arts, by securing, for • limited times, to authors, and inventors, the exclusive right